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Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Page: 1212


Senator Abetz asked the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, upon notice, on 3 December 2008:

(1)   Given that spending on individual programs is not reported in either the budget papers or annual reports, did any programs in the Minister’s portfolio: (a) have underspends for the 2007-08 financial year; if so, for each underspend: (i) in what program did it fall, (ii) how much was the underspend, and (iii) what was the reason for the underspend; and (b) have overspends for the 2007-08 financial year; if so, for each overspend: (i) in what program did it fall, (ii) how much was the overspend, and (iii) what was the reason for the overspend.

(2)   Will any agencies and/or departments in the Minister’s portfolio return money in the 2008-09 Budget as a result of underspends for the 2007-08 financial year; if so, how much.


Senator Carr (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)  

(a)   In the 2007-08 financial year, my portfolio had 21 programs which had an underspend compared to their estimated actuals as disclosed in the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) 2008-09. Of these, 16 had underspends of less than $1 million and 5 programs had underspends of over $1 million. The programs with underspends of less than $1 million are:

 

Program Name

$’000

Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business Program

(688)

Textile, Clothing and Footwear (Post 2005)

(641)

National Competitive Grant Program (ARC)

(609)

Science Connections Programme

(317)

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy

(314)

Cooperative Research Centres

(121)

International Science Linkages

(61)

Research Training Scheme - Higher Education

(50)

Other administered programs*

(2,145)

 

   * Within the Whole of Government Finance system, the Central Budget Management System, a number of programs are consolidated under the title, ‘Other administered programs’.

   The reasons for the above underspends are mainly due to customers not meeting contractual obligations within the agreed timeframe resulting in the delay of payments or customers terminating or varying contracts. There were also a number of minor variances between the estimate and the actual which are not considered material.

   The programs with underspends of more than $1 million are:

 

Program Name

$’000

Commercial Ready Programme

(24,274)

Industry Cooperative Innovation Program

(1,319)

Other administered programs*

(9,678)

 

   * Within the Whole of Government Finance system, the Central Budget Management System, a number of programs are consolidated under the title, ‘Other administered programs’.

   The reasons for the above underspends are as follows:

   Commercial Ready - the program experienced a higher level of slippage in customer expenditure than originally anticipated, this combined with the closure of the program to new applications after 28 April 2008, generated an underspend compared to the estimated actual.

   Industry Cooperative Innovation Program - the underspend is due to a large decommitment as a result of a project terminating.

   Other administered programs - the underspends for these programs are due to less demand for demand driven grant programs, delays in establishing some of the projects and uncommitted funds not being utilised as a result of the Government’s decision to cancel the program.

   (b)     The following 3 programs had overspends in the 2007-08 financial year compared to their estimated actuals:

 

Program Name

$’000

LPG Vehicle Scheme

2,836

COMET

3,716

Pharmaceuticals Partnerships Programme

8,204

 

The reasons are as follows:

   LPG Vehicle Scheme - this is a demand driven entitlement program which experienced higher than anticipated demand throughout the year.

   COMET - this program had a payment from a prior period that had been treated as a prepayment. This payment was subsequently expensed and has created an overspend in accrual terms.

   Pharmaceutical Partnerships Programme - this program recorded an overspend due to a change in methodology in the calculation of the estimated actual in the PBS 2008-09. There is no overspend when compared to actual available appropriation for this program.

 

(2)   The Department and IP Australia will be returning money to budget in 2008-09 that relates to underspends in the 2007-08 financial year. The amounts are $69,287,028 and $22,102 respectively.