Malcolm Turnbull and Barack Obama

It’s a tight budget, with very few major funding announcements, but sometimes departments get money they don’t even know what to do with. In the budget papers, the government announced it would spend $15.6 million over the next four years to implement reforms to government procurement as part of implementing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. This includes about $12 million in this financial year for various agencies in capital expenses.

But it seems like some agencies don’t actually know what they’re getting the money for. In a Senate estimates hearing this morning, Labor leader in the Senate Penny Wong asked Department of Parliamentary Services why it had been given $300,000 for the TPP. No one seems to know, according to one official:

“It’s a whole-of-government measure that Finance said we had to include in our portfolio budget statement. I don’t have any further background.”

Penny Wong’s response: “That’s not how it works, usually. I mean, what are you going to spend it on, flags?”

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“We were told it was a whole-of-government measure, and we had to put it in.”

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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