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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 2511


Senator Ronaldson asked the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 25 November 2008:

In regard to the Minister’s administered portfolio area, for the 2008 calendar year, can lists be provided for: (a) the top 5 program overspends and their costs; and (b) the top 5 program underspends and their costs.


Senator Chris Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

Given that funding for administered programs is provided on a financial year basis, and that unused administered appropriations lapse each financial year, calendar year information on program overspends and underspends is both difficult to extract and could be misleading to users.

As an alternative, the top five overspends and underspends for the 2008 financial year are provided below.

2008 Financial Year - Ended 30 June 2008

(a)   Top five program overspends were:

                Program

Budget

($’000)

Cost

($’000)

Overspend

($’000)

Comments

Offshore Asylum Seeker Management

21,482

23,362

1,880

The overspend relates to unanticipated additional costs, as a result of the closure of Offshore Processing Centres.

Grants for migrant community services

32,019

32,021

2

Expenditure is slightly higher than forecast.

NB - No further overspends to report for the 2008 financial year.

(b)   Top five program underspends were:

Program

Budget

($’000)

Cost

($’000)

Underspend

($’000)

Comments

Adult Migrant English Program

167,495

157,826

(9,669)

The AMEP is a demand driven program which was underutilised by eligible clients in 2007-08. 

Enforcement of Immigration Law

28,255

20,755

(7,500)

This item relates to write off of detention debts where recovery is considered unlikely. Lower detainee numbers in 2007-08 resulted in lower total detention debts. Consequently, the amount of debt actually written off was also lower.

Refugee & Humanitarian

34,110

33,699

(411)

While the allocated funding for the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme was based on an estimate of 2,000 persons, the actual number of persons assisted for 2007-08 was 1,867.

Other

12,811

12,129

(682)

As a result of:

Migration Agent Registration Fees, collected by the department and transferred directly to the Migration Agent Registration Authority (MARA), being slightly lower than estimated

Lower number of Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor wards than anticipated.

Final payments to community grants were carried over as some activities were not completed until the next financial year.

Fewer Act-Of-Grace claims lodged than anticipated.

NB - No further underspends to report for the 2008 financial year.