3. Special Accounts and Budget Estimates

3.1 Introduction

Public money is money in the Commonwealth’s possession or control including money that is held in trust.  Public money forms part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

Public money is classified as follows:

Special accounts exist within the CRF as a means of identifying funds held for a specific purpose or held in a trustee capacity.  For example, the Consular Services special account holds money in trust for consular clients.  Special accounts may be created by an Act or by the Finance Minister under FMA Act section 20.  A list of DFAT special accounts is attached.

3.2 Special Public Money

Instructions

  1. Employees responsible for the care, custody and/or control of Special Public Money that is the subject of a special instruction issued by the Finance Minister must follow those instructions and ensure that proper records are kept in relation to that money.
  2. Ensure that special accounts are maintained in accordance with established accrual accounting principles and instructions issued by the Finance Minister.
  3. Employees who receive Special Public Money must credit it to the Special Account that has been established for the purpose.
  4. The Consular Services Special Account is only to be used for processing funds held on behalf of Australian citizens who require assistance overseas.
  5. In the absence of a specifically established special account, Special Public Money should be credited to the Services Other Entities and Trust Moneys (SOETM) special account.
  6. The SOETM special account can be used to hold money in trust pending confirmation of where it should be applied.  For example, court awarded financial compensation could be held in the SOETM special account pending the outcome of an appeal.
  7. In special circumstances private funds (eg in soft currency) can be transferred to an employee that cannot be transferred through normal banking channels at the end of a posting.  For example, money from the sale of a motor vehicle could be credited to the SOETM special account and paid to the employee in Australian dollars.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

3.3 Special Accounts

Officials responsible for DFAT special accounts

The following table lists the positions responsible for DFAT special accounts or sub-accounts.

Special account Responsible position
Overseas Property special account ED OPO
Expositions special account ED SWE
Consular Services special account FAS CPD
Administered Payments and Receipts for Other Entities special account Director FPT
Services for Other Entities and Trust Money:  
  • Australia Group sub account
Director CPS ACB
  • Australian UNESCO sub account
Divisional Coordinator ILD
  • Canadian collections sub account
Finance Managers Phnom Penh, Dili, and Rangoon
  • Australia Week USA sub account
Finance Manager, Los Angeles
  • CAAR Lebanon Project sub account
Director MAB/CAAR
  • Bali Process Passport Workshop sub account
Divisional Coordinator ILD
  • Canadian prisoner loans sub account
Finance Manager, Bali
  • Transfer of private funds sub account
Director FPT
  • Comcare sub account
OH&S Coodinator
  • Comcare compensation sub account
Finance Manager Baghdad
  • Scholarships sub account
Finance Manager Athens
  • Soft currency conversion sub account
Finance Manager Harare

Instructions

  1. Special accounts must be managed in accordance with Finance’s Guidelines for Management of Special Accounts (refer to Finance Policies and Legislation).
  2. Officials responsible for a special account or sub account must ensure money credited to the account is consistent with Finance Minister’s determination.
  3. Approvers must not approve a payment from a special account unless:
    • Sufficient uncommitted funds are available in Australian dollars.
    • The payment is consistent with Finance Minister’s determination.

Correction of errors

  1. An Approver may approve a debit from a special account where:
    • The account has been incorrectly credited by virtue of a clerical mistake; or
    • The account has been credited through the discretion of an official and the exercise of that discretion was actuated by a fundamental mistake of fact or law.
  2. The Approver should seek legal advice before approving a debit on this basis.

DFAT Special Account Determinations

Special account title Kind of amounts that may be credited Purposes for which amounts may be debited
Overseas Property Special Account

Amounts received in the course of the performance of functions that relate to the purposes of the Overseas Property Special Account.

Amounts received from any person for the purposes of the Overseas Property Special Account.

  1. Acquire, lease, construct, manage, operate, repair, maintain, divest, finance, identify or advise on, and undertake any other activities in relation to, the real property of the Commonwealth outside Australia.
  2. Return dividends or net proceeds from the sale of an asset to the Budget as agreed between the Finance Minister and the responsible minister.
  3. Carry out activities that are incidental* to a purpose mentioned in paragraph (a).
  4. Reduce the balance of the Special Account (and, therefore, the available appropriation for the Account) without making a real or notional payment; and
  5. Repay amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

* Incidental activities include:

  1. The administration of the Special Account; and
  2. Dealing with direct and indirect costs.
Administered Payments and Receipts for Other Entities Special Account

Payments (including notional payments) by other entities to DFAT made on the basis that DFAT has or will make payments on behalf of that entity in other countries.

Amounts collected overseas by DFAT, on behalf of other entities.

  1. To make payments overseas on behalf of entities.
  2. To make payments to entities for amounts received overseas on their behalf.
  3. To make payments overseas on projects jointly funded with entities.
  4. Activities that are incidental* to a purpose mentioned in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c).
  5. To reduce the balance of the Special Account (and, therefore, the available appropriation for that Special Account) without making a real or notional payment.
  6. To repay amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

* Incidental activities include the administration of the Special Account, including dealing with direct and indirect costs.

Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys – DFAT Special Account

Amounts to be held on trust or otherwise for the benefit of a person other than the Commonwealth.

Amounts received in the course of the performance of functions that relate to purposes of the Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys – Foreign Affairs and Trade Special Account.

Amounts received from any person for the purposes of the Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys – Foreign Affairs and Trade Special Account.

  1. Disburse amounts held on trust or otherwise for the benefit of a person other than the Commonwealth.
  2. Disburse amounts in connection with services performed on behalf of other governments and bodies that are not FMA Act agencies.
  3. Repay amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.
  4. Reduce the balance of the Special Account (and, therefore, the available appropriation for the Account) without making a real or notional payment.
Consular Services Special Account

Amounts received in the course of the performance of functions that relate to the purposes of the Consular Services Special Account.

Amounts received from any person for the purposes of the Consular Services Special Account.

  1. Providing assistance to Australian citizens and permanent residents overseas:
    1. in circumstances of urgency; or
    2. when commercial money transfer services are unavailable or inappropriate.
  2. To repay to an original payer amounts credited to the Special Account and residual after any necessary payments have been made under paragraph (a).
  3. Activities that are incidental* to a purpose mentioned in paragraphs (a) or (b).
  4. To reduce the balance of the Special Account (and, therefore, the available appropriation for the Special Account) without making a real or notional payment.
  5. To repay amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

* Incidental activities include:

  1. the administration of the Special Account; and
  2. dealing with direct and indirect costs
Expositions Special Account

Amounts received in the course of the performance of functions that relate to the purposes of the Expositions Special Account.

Amounts received from any person for the purposes of the Expositions Special Account.

  1. To acquire, lease, hire, construct, manage, operate, repair, maintain, identify or advise on, and undertake any other activities in relation to Australia’s participation at international expositions.
  2. Activities that are incidental to a purpose mentioned in paragraph (a);
  3. To reduce the balance of the Special Account (and, therefore, the available appropriation for the Special Account) without making a real or notional payment.
  4. To repay amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

3.4 Estimates

Instruction

  1. The department is to prepare budget estimates, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements and Portfolio Budget Statements in accordance with Finance’s instructions.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

3.5 Retaining money received by DFAT

Please refer to FMM 15.15

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