Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains some of the frequently asked questions about the Public Management Reform Agenda.

  1. What is the PMRA?
  2. What is the PGPA Act?
  3. I was in a CAC Act body, what’s changed for me?
  4. I was in an FMA Act agency, what’s changed for me?
  5. Where can I find more information about the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework?
  6. What is happening with the Commonwealth Performance Framework?
  7. What is happening with differential regulation as part of the reform?

For further information about the PGPA Act see the Resource Management FAQs. For further questions on the PMRA, please contact us at pmra@finance.gov.au.

1. What is the PMRA?

The Public Management Reform Agenda (PMRA), with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) as its cornerstone, seeks to modernise the financial framework of the Australian Government so that it will support high quality resource management and performance now and into the future. The PMRA commenced in December 2010 with the Commonwealth Financial Accountability Review (CFAR).

Over the last three years, the Department of Finance (Finance) has developed and implemented arrangements to operationalise the PGPA Act framework. With the introduction of the annual report requirements in the Rules earlier this year, the final legislative elements of the PGPA Act framework are in place. As a result, the Commonwealth now has enhanced coherence to its governance, performance and accountability arrangements.

The reform process has three broad stages:

Stage 1 of the PMRA was completed with the commencement of the PGPA Act on 1 July 2014.

Stage 2 and Stage 3 are progressing concurrently.  The keystone of stage 2 of the PMRA is the enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework, including annual reports. Stage two also involves the development of a differential regulation approach.  Stage 3 of the PMRA builds on elements of the PGPA Act and enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework, and explores specific elements of the resource management framework.

Sign up for the PMRA Newsletter to keep up with latest information and ongoing news about the PMRA.

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2. What is the PGPA Act?

The PGPA Act establishes the framework for managing resources by the Commonwealth and relevant entities.

The PGPA Act replaced the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) on 1 July 2014, consolidating the governance, performance and accountability requirements of the Commonwealth into a single piece of legislation.

The PGPA Act has 4 objects:

1. To establish a coherent system of governance and accountability across Commonwealth entities by:

  • establishing a uniform set of duties for accountable authorities
  • establishing a uniform set of duties for all officials
  • establishing a comprehensive and uniform reporting framework for all Commonwealth entities
  • clarifying the Finance Minister’s role in relation to the financial framework

2. To establish a performance framework for all Commonwealth entities

3. To require Commonwealth entities to:

  • meet high standards of governance
  • meet high standards of performance
  • meet high standards of accountability
  • provide meaningful information to the Parliament
  • ensure that public resources are used and managed properly
  • cooperate with others to achieve common objectives

4. To require Commonwealth companies to meet high standards of governance, performance and accountability.

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3. I was in a CAC Act body, what’s changed for me?

The CAC Act was repealed on 1 July 2014. Under the PGPA Act:

  • Commonwealth authorities have become corporate Commonwealth entities; and
  • Commonwealth companies remain Commonwealth companies.

Many requirements in the PGPA Act are similar to requirements in the former CAC Act:

  • disclosure of interests — officials required to disclose material personal interests
  • insurance — similar requirements for liability insurance for officials to former s27N CAC Act
  • investments
  • indemnities
  • financial reporting.

Some key changes for corporate Commonwealth entities:

For further information see Transitional arrangements for moving from FMA Act and CAC Act to PGPA Act.

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4. I was in an FMA Act agency, what’s changed for me?

The FMA Act was not completely repealed on 1 July 2014. Under the PGPA Act most former FMA Act agencies have become non-corporate Commonwealth entities.

Some key changes:

Some key resource management requirements from the FMA Act remain unchanged, such as for procurement, grants, and property/assets management.

The following FMA Act provisions were retained and continue in the Financial Framework (Supplementary Powers) Act 1997 (FFSP Act), which is the renamed FMA Act from 1 July 2014:

  • the supplementary power to spend on the arrangements, grants and programmes listed in the Schedules to the Regulations (former s32B of the FMA Act and Schedules 1AA and 1AB of the FMA Regulations)
  • the supplementary power to form companies (former s39B of the FMA Act).

The following transitional arrangements in the FMA Act and FMA Regulations were also retained until 30 June 2015:

  • drawing rights arrangements under former ss26 to 27 of the FMA Act
  • GST arrangements under former s30A of the FMA Act
  • certain allocated officials

For further information see Transitional arrangements for moving from FMA Act and CAC Act to PGPA Act

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5. Where can I find more information about the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework?

The finance.gov.au/resource-management site provides a one-stop shop for officials. Key tools on the site include:

  • Introduction – introductory resources such as training, eLearning modules, and information on the Public Management Reform Agenda and transition to the PGPA Act
  • Consolidated guidance – a complete index of all resource management guidance
  • Glossary – common resource and financial management terms
  • PGPA legislation & rules – information about the PGPA Act, and the rules and instruments made under it
  • Governance – the PGPA Flipchart of Commonwealth entities and companies, governance policy, Australian Government Organisations Register, government business enterprises and machinery of government changes
  • Accountability & internal controls - guidance helps accountable authorities and officials meet their general duties, including requirements for accountability and internal controls
  • Managing performance – the performance framework, guidance on corporate plans, annual reports, annual performance statements, technical guidance for the development of performance information
  • Appropriations – information related to annual and special appropriations, guidance on adjusting appropriations
  • Spending relevant money – guidance related on approving commitments of relevant money, types of arrangements and managing relevant property
  • Managing cash – guidance related to collecting revenue or money, banking cash, investing, borrowing and the use of credit cards, recovering amounts owing to the Commonwealth and loss and recovery of relevant money
  • Agency reporting policy – guidance related to accounting and annual and monthly financial reporting
  • Working with others – guidance on cooperating and collaborating with others

6. What is happening with the Commonwealth Performance Framework?

One of the objectives of the PGPA Act is to establish a whole-of-government performance framework. The framework provides a whole-of-government approach for monitoring, reviewing and reporting the activities and results of Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies and their policies and programmes.

Frequently asked questions relating to the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework are addressed on the Finance website.

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7. What is happening with Differential Regulation as part of the reform?

Please refer to the differential regulation page for the latest information on what is happening in this space.

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Last updated: 19 December 2016