Borrowings, including credit cards

The Finance Minister can enter into a limited range of borrowing agreements under section 56 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Act on behalf of the Commonwealth. This includes entering into an agreement for the issue to, and use by, the Commonwealth of credit cards or credit vouchers, provided that the agreement requires the money borrowed to be repaid within 90 days. The Finance Minister has delegated this power to all accountable authorities of non-corporate Commonwealth entities.

The delegation is available at PGPA Delegations.

Further information is available in the Accountable Authority Instructions.

Under section 57 of the PGPA Act, corporate Commonwealth entities cannot enter into borrowing agreements (including obtaining credit cards or credit vouchers) unless expressly authorised by an Act, such as their enabling legislation, or the borrowing is authorised by the Finance Minister in writing, or under the Rules. Section 21A of the PGPA Rule (Borrowing by corporate Commonwealth entities) authorises borrowing for credit cards or credit vouchers, provided that the agreement requires the money borrowed to be repaid within 90 days.

Generally, an accountable authority or a delegate or authorised official, will enter into a single overarching borrowing agreement for each form of credit card or credit voucher. Officials then act on the relevant borrowing agreement by using a card or voucher issued under that agreement – each credit card and credit voucher is not a separate borrowing agreement. 

For more information contact: pmra@finance.gov.au

Last updated: 15 June 2015