The Treasury

Global Navigation

Personal tools


A Guide to the Public Finance Act (2005)


Key Points

  • No expenses or capital expenditure may be incurred unless in accordance with an appropriation or other statutory authority.
  • Appropriations are limitations of amount, scope and period. These limits are legally binding. All expenses and capital expenditure may only be incurred in accordance with these specifications, except in the limited circumstances where the Act permits some variation to appropriations.
  • Appropriations are also specified by type of expense or capital expenditure. The types of appropriations are output expenses, benefits or other unrequited expenses, borrowing expenses, other expenses, capital expenditure and expenses and capital expenditure of an intelligence and security department.
  • The Auditor-General audits appropriations used and administered by departments and Offices of Parliament to ensure that expenses and capital expenditure have been incurred in accordance with appropriations.


This Chapter:

  • explains what an appropriation is and the purpose of appropriations
  • explains the rationale behind accrual-based, output-focussed appropriations
  • describes the legislative process for appropriations and the link between appropriations and the budget process
  • outlines the responsibilities of Ministers, departments and the Treasury in relation to appropriations
  • describes the various types of appropriations, the requirements in relation to specifying and using these appropriations and the consequences of breaching the limits of an appropriation
  • explains how the usual appropriation requirements are varied in respect of Offices of Parliament and intelligence and security departments, and
  • explains how the controller function operates.
Page top