Senior executives have a variety of obligations under various laws that govern financial aspects of the public sector. As a senior executive, it is essential that you ensure your Department or agency - and head of Department or agency - fulfil any relevant legislative obligations.

Government Sector Finance Act 2018

The Government Sector Finance Act 2018 (GSF Act) replaces, consolidates, and updates four separate pieces of legislation that governed public financial management for more than 30 years, as summarised below:

  • Public Authorities (Financial Arrangements) Act 1987
  • Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Act 1984 - Repealed and replaces entirely by the GSF Act.
  • Annual Reports (Departments) Act 1985 - Parts covering appropriations, expenditure, reporting, financial service and others repealed and captured by the GSF Act.
  • Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 - Parts dealing with the Auditor-General, Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee remain in the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 which will be renamed the Government Sector Audit Act 1983.

The GSF Act, and accompanying Government Sector Finance Regulation 2018, provide a framework for:

  • the administration for financial management of the NSW government sector
  • general government sector and agency reporting
  • the keeping and sharing of relevant agency information
  • government expenditure
  • government appropriations
  • financial services for the NSW government sector
  • approvals for financial arrangements.

Government Sector Audit Act 1983

The Government Sector Finance Legislation (Repeal and Amendment) Act 2018 renamed the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 to the Government Sector Audit Act 1983 (GSA Act) commencing on a date to be proclaimed.

The GSA Act provides for the appointment of the Auditor-General, establishes the Audit Office and contains provisions relating to the conduct of the audits for various kinds of public authorities. It also establishes the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and contains certain provisions relating to the operation of the PAC. 

Appropriations and approved budgets

Each year the Treasurer prepares and tables an Appropriation Bill alongside the Budget.

The objective of this Bill is to authorise Ministers to spend various sums of money, from the Consolidated Fund, required to deliver government services during the financial year. The Minister is allocated these spending authorisation limits for use by Departments, agencies within the Cluster and special offices. The amount each agency receives is determined as part of the Budget process, and represents a maximum amount each agency can draw down from the Consolidated Fund.

Deemed appropriations, under section 4.7 of the GSF Act, are an authorisation to spend certain types of own source revenue from the Consolidated Fund. Those types of money are defined in the GSF Act and the associated regulation.

If necessary, agencies can turn to several sources for supplementary funding, including:

  • special purpose appropriations
  • transfers of appropriations (to reflect transfers of functions between agencies)
  • appropriation savings transferred from another agency.