Inquiry into the 2019-20 Budget Estimates
The process by which the Committee scrutinises the budget estimates includes the following stages:
Before the budget papers are tabled the Committee sends a general questionnaire to all departments. It seeks information about how the anticipated Budget affects each department, including how budget allocations are connected to service delivery, infrastructure projects and assets, and other key economic, financial management and emerging issues.
Around May, the Committee holds two weeks of public hearings with all Ministers and the Parliamentary Presiding Officers. At the hearings the Committee asks questions about a variety of matters, including the decisions that led to the framing of the Budget, departmental performance targets, and issues of financial significance to the State. Witnesses may take some questions on notice or agree to provide the Committee with further information if it is not available at the time of the public hearings. The Committee will set a due date for the return of responses to questions on notice.
Further information gathering
After the public hearings, the Committee may send a witness or a department follow up questions regarding matters not addressed at the public hearings or that require clarification. The Committee may also send a further questionnaire to departments to seek additional information relevant to its inquiry.
Around October, the Committee reports its analysis of the budget estimates to Parliament and makes recommendations to the Government.
The Budget's journety through Parliament and the role of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee is illustrated here.