The Queensland Government must be accountable for the money it spends. The Financial Accountability Act 2009 requires the Treasurer to prepare and table in Parliament a Charter of Fiscal Responsibility which provides details of the government’s fiscal objectives and strategy and the fiscal principles that support those objectives. A summary of the financial accountability responsibilities can be found in the Overview of Queensland’s Financial Accountability Framework.
Throughout the financial year, we publish a number of reports to ensure accountability and transparency for planned and actual government spending. These reports include the State Budget and its mid-year financial and economic review, the Consolidated Fund Financial Report and the Report on State Finances.
- Strategic and budget planning
The Cabinet Budget Review Committee(CBRC) considers an overall strategy for the budget. CBRC identifies key areas for resource allocation that respect the government’s priorities, fiscal principles and key budget decisions.
- Forward estimates update
With information from agencies, Queensland Treasury updates the forward estimates, that is, the budget for the current year and next four years. The forward estimates include expenditure estimates and revenue forecasts which are updated on a ‘no-policy change’ basis, before any budget decisions are made. They consider any decisions made by government, revised revenue forecasts, and funding based on agreed parameters, such as student numbers or population growth. This information forms the baseline for CBRC consideration of budget submissions.
- Budget submissions
Departments set their service delivery priorities for the coming budget, considering factors such as the government’s priorities, their own strategic plans, intergovernmental relations, and community and Ministerial feedback. Departments prepare budget submissions outlining existing activities and new policy proposals for the coming budget. Treasury and Department of the Premier and Cabinet brief CBRC on agency budget submissions.
- CBRC meetings
CBRC considers departmental budget submissions to decide which proposals are to be implemented. CBRC may choose to meet with each Minister to discuss their budget submission.
- Budget development and forward estimates update
The budget for the current year and next four years is updated to incorporate budget decisions of CBRC. Budget numbers are then finalised.
- Budget documentation
Budget documents generally comprise:
- a budget speech, outlining the government’s strategic directions, priorities and plans
- information on total government revenues and expenses and financial statements for the government as a whole
- an overview of the state’s recent economic performance and forecasts of key economic aggregates
- information on budgeted capital outlays
- a summary of policy decisions, made by government since the previous budget, that have funding impacts
- details of the services and activities undertaken within each departmental portfolio
- information on the cost of concessions provided by the Queensland Government
- The budget documents also include the annual appropriation bills which, when passed as acts by Parliament, authorise the payment of amounts from the consolidated fund to provide for the operations of government departments.
- Budget day
On budget day, the Treasurer tables budget documents and introduces annual appropriation bills to the Queensland Parliament.
- Budget approval
Budget documents are reviewed through a series of parliamentary estimates committees, which comprise government and opposition members. This process informs general parliamentary debate on the budget and ensures the accountability and transparency of the overall budget process. Usually around August, the budget is approved and appropriation bills are passed.
- Forward estimates update
With information from agencies, Treasury updates the forward estimates, that is, the budget for the current year and next four years. The forward estimates include expenditure estimates and revenue forecasts which will take into account any decisions made by government since budget, revised revenue forecasts, and funding based on already-agreed parameters.
- Mid-year financial and economic review
Although budget monitoring occurs throughout the budget cycle, a significant milestone is the Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review(MYFER). It is an opportunity for CBRC to update the state’s financial position and consider any emergent issues. MYFER is released around December each year.
- Budget monitoring
Treasury conducts monthly performance monitoring for all departments, including comparing their forecasted data with actual financial performance. Treasury also conducts quarterly monitoring for all agencies (i.e. departments, government-owned corporations, commercialised business units etc.), including agencies’ actual service performance against their targets. Actual budget spending is recorded annually in the Consolidated Fund Financial Report, and the Report on State Finances.