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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2014-15

Budget 2014-15
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2014-15

Part 2: Expense Measures (continued)

Finance

Australian Electoral Commission — funding to conduct the Western Australian Senate Election

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Australian Electoral Commission 23.2

The Government provided $23.2 million in 2013‑14 to allow the Australian Electoral Commission to conduct the Western Australian (WA) Senate election in April 2014 for six Senators. This election was required following the order to void the 2013 WA Senate election result issued by the Court of Disputed Returns on 20 February 2014.

Communications and Public Affairs Functions — targeted savings

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Various Agencies ‑5.3 ‑10.5 ‑10.5 ‑10.6

The Government will achieve savings of $43.3 million over four years by moving to more efficient practices for public affairs and internal communications within Australian Government agencies. Consistent with the Government's election commitment that there will be no further cuts to Defence spending, savings from the Department of Defence of $6.4 million will be reinvested in Defence capability.

This will contribute to streamlining the public sector and reducing staffing.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Improving small business access to Commonwealth contracts

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Related capital ($m)
Department of Finance 0.3 0.1 0.1

The Government will provide $2.8 million (including $0.5 million capital funding) over four years to assist small businesses to access the Commonwealth procurement market. The Department of Finance will work with small businesses and their representatives to develop procurement policy, guidance material, training and education programmes that make it easier for small business to do business with government.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Further information can be found in the Coalition's Policy for Small Business.

Infrastructure Growth Package — Asset Recycling Fund

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance * * * * *
Related revenue ($m)
Department of Finance * * * * *
Related capital ($m)
Department of Finance * * * * *

The Government will establish the Asset Recycling Fund (ARF) on 1 July 2014 as a dedicated vehicle to provide funding and financial incentives to States, Territories and other bodies to invest in new productivity enhancing infrastructure, including through the Asset Recycling Initiative.

The ARF will start from 1 July 2014 with an initial size of approximately $5.9 billion, with contributions from:

  • uncommitted funds currently in the Building Australia Fund (BAF) (around $2.4 billion); and
  • uncommitted funds currently in the Education Investment Fund (EIF) (around $3.5 billion).

Subsequent contributions to the ARF will come from the proceeds of the sale of Medibank Private and any future privatisations.

The capital and net earnings of the ARF will be available from 1 July 2014 with payments to States and Territories to be made through the COAG Reform Fund under National Partnership Agreements.

The investments of the ARF will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians in accordance with an Investment Mandate to be issued by the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance.

The BAF and the EIF will cease operation on 31 December 2014. The Government will meet commitments for payments relating to projects previously approved for funding from these Funds.

Establishment of the ARF will be subject to the passage of legislation through the Parliament.

See also the related expense measures titled Smaller GovernmentMedibank Private Limited — sale, Infrastructure Growth Package — Asset Recycling Initiative — establishment, Infrastructure Growth Package — addition to the Infrastructure Investment Programme for new investments and Infrastructure Growth Package — Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan — Road Funding.

Medical Research Future Fund — establishment

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance
Related revenue ($m)
Department of Finance

The Government will establish the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) on 1 January 2015 to provide additional funding for medical research, including through payments to the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The MRFF will receive $1 billion from uncommitted funds in the Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF). Amounts equal to the estimated value of health savings measures published in the 2014‑15 Budget will be reinvested in the Fund until it reaches a target capital level of $20 billion from 2014‑15 to 2019‑20.

Net interest earnings on MRFF capital will be available for drawdown the following financial year. The capital of the Fund will be preserved in perpetuity.

Investments in the MRFF will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians in accordance with an Investment Mandate issued by the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance.

The establishment of the MRFF will be subject to the passage of health savings legislation.

The HHF will cease operation on 31 December 2014. Committed HHF funds, at 31 December 2014, will be transferred to consolidated revenue, from which the remaining commitments of the HHF will be met.

See also the related measure titled Medical Research Future Fund — investments in the Health portfolio.

Parliamentary service travel entitlements — reduced funding

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance ‑0.1 ‑1.1 ‑1.2 ‑1.2 ‑1.3

The Government will achieve savings of $5.0 million over five years by reducing Life Gold Pass, severance and post retirement travel entitlements for parliamentarians and certain office holders when they leave Parliament. As part of these reforms, spouses will no longer be eligible for travel and limits will be placed on eligibility and the class and number of trips per annum.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Recruitment of Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 employees

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance ‑0.6 ‑0.6 ‑0.6 ‑0.6

The Government will achieve savings of $2.5 million over four years by removing the entitlements for Senators and Members to use private employment agencies and print advertisements when recruiting for personal and electorate employees under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984. Parliamentarians will continue to be able to advertise for staff through print media if they choose to access their printing and communications entitlement.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Smaller Government — Contestability Framework

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance

The Government will develop and implement a Contestability Framework to assess whether a government function should be open to competition and the appropriate means for this to occur. A contestable approach can come from outside Government or from other entities within the Government.

The Department of Finance will establish a three year programme of work to review government functions against the Contestability Framework, in consultation with relevant agencies. These reviews will offer opportunities for identified functions to be delivered through alternative and contestable approaches.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Finance and affected agencies.

Smaller Government — Medibank Private Limited — sale

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance 15.4 75.5
Related revenue ($m)
Department of Finance nfp nfp nfp nfp

The Government will provide $90.9 million over two years to support the sale of Medibank Private Limited (Medibank) through an initial public offering in the 2014‑15 financial year, subject to market conditions. The funding will support the costs of external expert advisers, internal staff and overheads.

The proceeds from the sale of Medibank and the forgone dividends are classified as commercial‑in‑confidence and are not for publication. These proceeds will be invested in nationally significant productivity enhancing economic infrastructure.

See also the related expense measure titled Infrastructure Growth Package —Asset Recycling Fund.

Further information can be found in the press release of 26 March 2014 issued by the Minister for Finance.

Smaller Government — scoping studies for four operations of government

Expense ($m)
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Finance 11.7

The Government will provide $11.7 million in 2014‑15 for scoping studies into future ownership options for Australian Hearing, Defence Housing Australia Ltd, the Royal Australian Mint and the registry function of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The studies will assess the likely sale environment for each business operation and seek to ascertain the optimal method and timing of sale.