The Parliamentary Budget Officer tries to track the Budget of the Federal Government.
Poor fellow has a problem . Its very difficult given the sloppy manner in which the Government operates its budget. So, If the PBO is having problems tracking the budget what hope has the MP’s or the ordinary citizen ? Very little .
Here is the Summary of th PBO’s latest tracking report . You can read the whole report by going to the Parliamentary Budget Office website.
‘ Following the Dollar—Tracking Budget 2016 Spending and Tax Measures
In its annual budget, the Government outlines its fiscal plan, including additional spending for ongoing programs, new spending initiatives and changes to taxation.
To help parliamentarians hold the Government to account for the implementation of its plan, the PBO decided to track spending and tax measures from announcement in the budget to parliamentary approval through appropriation and budget implementation bills.
Overall, the PBO found that 123 Budget 2016 measures, 92 per cent of the budget’s measures, received some form of funding through the supplementary estimates in 2016-17.
More specifically, 58 budget spending measures (44 per cent) line up with items included in the 2016-17 supplementary estimates, and all but one change to statutory spending and taxation was implemented.
However, many spending measures had more funding or less funding in fiscal year 2016-17 than indicated in the budget (31 per cent), or were not provided funding through the supplementary estimates (8 per cent).
That is, they were not implemented as stated in Budget 2016, which suggests that the Government may need to improve its funding processes or its estimation methodology for spending measures included in the budget.
Moreover, there is no clear line of sight from budget announcements to their implementation.
The different presentation, wording and accounting methodology makes it challenging to align budget spending measures with items included in the estimates. And it is not possible to track spending on most budget measures beyond the first year or what was actually spent on specific measures.
It is thus very difficult for parliamentarians to follow the dollar and hold the government to account for implementing its fiscal plan, as outlined in the budget.
The Government may be able to alleviate some of these challenges by preparing and presenting its budget and estimates concurrently and using a more consistent method of presentation.’
Remember this is the party that promised all this Accountablity and Transparency ?