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Note 5.2: Special accounts and client and third party funds

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5.2 Special accounts and client and third party funds1, 2

  Services for Other Entities and Trust Money – Attorney-General’s Department Special Account3 National Cultural Heritage Special Account4 Art Rental Special Account5
  2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015
  $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000
Balance brought forward from previous period increases 14,081 5,958 1 21 780 1,606
Receipts   1 1,508 3,709
Other receipts 22,474 23,155
Total increases 22,474 23,155 465 1 1,508 3,709
Decreases 36,555 29,113 466 22 2,288 5,315
Departmental            
Payments made – suppliers (1,366) (4,535)
Restructuring transfer (922)
Total departmental (2,288) (4,535)
             
Administered            
Payments made – suppliers (15,824) (15,032) (21)
Restructuring transfer (466)
Total administered (15,824) (15,032) (21)
Total decreases (15,824) (15,032) (466) (21) (2,288) (4,535)
Total balance carried to the next period 20,731 14,081 1 780


  National Collections Special Account6 Cultural Special Account7 Indigenous Repatriation Special Account8
  2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015
  $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000 $'000
Balance brought forward from previous period increases 48 406 116 2,272 2,722
Receipts 196 290 635 618
Total increases 196 290 635 618
Available for payments 48 602 406 2,907 3,340
Decreases            
Departmental            
Payments made – suppliers   (48) (2) (256) (1,068)
Restructuring transfer (600) (2,651)
Total departmental (48) (602)  (2,907) (1,068)
             
Administered            
Payments made – suppliers
Restructuring transfer
Total administered
Total decreases (48) (602) (2,907) (1,068)
Total balance carried to the next period 406 2,272

  Australian Government Solicitor Operations Special Account9
  2016 2015
  $'000 $'000
Balance brought forward from previous period increases
Receipts 96,218
Total increases 96,218
Available for payments 96,218
Decreases    
Departmental    
Payments madesuppliers (70,432)
Total departmental (70,432)
     
Administered
Payments made – suppliers
Restructuring transfer
Total administered
Total decreases (70,432)
Total balance carried to the next period 25,786

Notes

1 On 15 December 2014, the Government announced that it would consolidate the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) within the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) with effect from 1 July 2015.

2 In accordance with the Administrative Arrangements Order of 21 September 2015, the Classification, Copyright and Arts and Cultural Development programs and functions were transferred to the Department of Communications and the Arts with effect from 1 November 2015.

3 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 78.

Establishing instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Determination 2011/04.

Purpose: Amounts may be debited from the special account to:

  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 Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies;
  3. repay amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received; and
  4. reduce the balance of the special account (and, therefore, the available appropriation for the special account) without making a real or notional payment. This account is non-interest-bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

4 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 80.

Establishing instrument: Protection of Moveable Cultural Heritage Act 1986; section 25.

Purpose: Amounts standing to the credit of the National Cultural Heritage Account may be expended for the purpose of facilitating the acquisition of the Australian protected objects for display or safe-keeping. This account is non-interest-bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

5 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 78.

Establishing Instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Determination 2006/18.

Purpose: Amounts may be debited from the special account for:

  1. acquire, deaccession, lease, promote, develop, exhibit, lend, conserve and undertake any other activities in relation to managing an art rental collection for the Commonwealth;
  2. activities that are incidental to the purposes mentioned in paragraph (a); and
  3. the repayment of amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

This account is non-interest-bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

6 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 78.

Establishing Instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Determination 2011/18.

Purpose: Amounts may be debited from the special account for:

  1. conducting activities that are approved by the Minister for the Arts and are joint arrangements with one or more state and territory governments;
  2. incidental activities, including the administration of the special account and dealing with direct and indirect costs; and
  3. the repayment of amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.
This account is non-interest-bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

7 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 78.

Establishing instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Determination 2005/44.

Purpose: Amounts may be debited from the special account for:
  1. conducting projects, programs and strategies approved by the responsible agency, associated with future directions, needs and priorities of the collection sector;
  2. activities that are incidental to the purposes mentioned in paragraph (a); and
  3. the repayment of amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

This account is non-interest bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

8 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 78.

Establishing instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Determination 2011/16.

Purpose: Amounts may be debited from the special account for:

  1. developing and conducting projects, programs and strategies associated with the repatriation of Indigenous ancestral remains and sacred objects;
  2. activities that are incidental to the purposes mentioned in paragraph (a); and
  3. the repayment of amounts where an Act or other law requires or permits the repayment of an amount received.

This account is non-interest-bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

9 Appropriation: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; section 78. Establishing instrument: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act Determination 2015/02. Purpose: Amounts may be debited from the special account to:

  1. pay for costs, expenses and other obligations incurred in relation to the provision of services by the AGS and AGS lawyers to clients;
  2. pay remuneration and employee entitlements of the AGS, and AGS lawyers and other AGD employees who ordinarily perform work under the supervision or direction of the AGS;
  3. pay for expenses that are incidental to administering the special account; and
  4. reduce the balance of the special account (and, therefore, the available appropriation) without making a real or notional payment. This account is non-interest-bearing and the balance is held in the Official Public Account.

Compliance with Statutory Conditions for Payments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund

The Department of Human Services (DHS) provides assessment and payment services on behalf of AGD in disasteraffected locations to claimants assessed as being eligible and who meet the statutory conditions authorising payments to be made under the Social Security Act 1999. The conditions and circumstances under which payments are made may contribute to a circumstance where there is an incorrect payment arising from a mistake of fact.

Both AGD and DHS have an ongoing program designed to detect and, where appropriate, recover any unauthorised payment. The outcome of work undertaken during the 2015–16 financial year by both AGD and DHS identified the following:

  • In 2015–16, 56 (2015: 47) potential non-compliant prior-years payments totalling $61,740 (2015: $56,017) were identified; and
  • No payments made in 2015–16 (2015: nil) are currently under investigation. While AGD and DHS continue to follow up potential overpayments and seek recovery where applicable, the enactment of the amendments to the Social Security Act 1991 and Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 – effected by Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act (No.2) 2013 on 28 May 2013 – provides that overpayments made in good faith will not give rise to a breach of section 83 of the Social Security Act 1999

Client and third party funds

AGS receives money in trust for clients usually pending settlement of clients’ transactions. These monies are not available for legal practice operating purposes and are not recognised in the financial statements. Typically, client funds are held for short periods where a settlement is delayed or title to funds is disputed. By arrangement with a client, interest may   be payable to the client or the client’s nominee or on the instructions of a court. AGS does not pay interest to its clients, except where an arrangement has been made to do so.

  2016 2015
  $'000 $'000
Australian Government Solicitor client and third-party funds accounts    
Balance brought forward from previous period 35,126 -
Add receipts 278,497 -
Total available for payments 313,623 -
Less payments (293,415) -
Total balance carried to the next period 20,208 -

 

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