Each year an Appropriation Bill is prepared and tabled alongside the Budget, currently known as Budget Paper 5. 

The objective of this Bill is to authorise spending of Consolidated Fund as required during the financial year for services of the Government. 

The authority to spend is allocated to departments of the public service and various special offices and the amounts that each of these agencies are allocated are determined as part of the Budget process. 

During the year agencies may require variations to their annual appropriation, for example if new decisions are made by Government that require them to spend more than their existing appropriation for the Budget year. 

Variations to Annual Appropriation

The following mechanisms can be used to supplement existing appropriations. For a more detailed explanation of the mechanisms available, refer to the Government Sector Finance Act 2018 and the Appropriation Act 2022 for the current year.

GSF Act 2018 - S4.9

Transfers of the functions between GSF agencies

Section 4.9 can apply when responsibility for a service, function or program is transferred from one GSF agency to another. The section clarifies that the appropriation assigned to the original GSF agency may also be transferred to another agency through a determination made by the Treasurer.

GSF Act 2018 - S4.11

Variations of annual appropriations for Commonwealth Grants

Section 4.11 is available if the Commonwealth does not provide for the whole of the amount of a Specific Purpose Payment (SPP), increases a SPP or makes a SPP that was not included in the Budget Papers of the year. The Treasurer can adjust the agency’s appropriation to reflect the Commonwealth’s adjustments.

GSF Act 2018 - S4.13

Exigencies of Government - Additional Consolidated Fund Appropriation is required

Section 4.13 is generally available only for urgent and unforeseen expenditures, e.g. natural disasters and unforeseen costs etc. The Treasurer, with the approval of the Governor, may determine that additional amounts can be paid out of Consolidated Fund for such urgent and unforeseen expenditures. Any additional amount determined under this section must also be no more than is necessary in the public interest.

Appropriation Act 2022 – S34(1)

Exigencies of Government - Transfer of appropriation from another agency due to exigencies of government

The Treasurer can transfer appropriations from one agency to another if there is an exigency of Government. The purpose for which the transferred appropriation is used must be consistent with the purposes set out in the same Part of the Appropriations Act as the original appropriation.

Appropriation Act 2022 – S34(2)

Transfer of appropriation from the savings of another agency

Transfers of appropriations from one agency to another is permitted if the original recipient of the appropriation has savings in their consolidated fund appropriation. The Treasurer can determine that those savings can be utilised to supplement another agency’s appropriation if that agency’s appropriation is insufficient to carry out their purpose. The purpose for which the transferred appropriation is used must be consistent with the purposes set out in the same Part of the Appropriations Act as the original appropriation.

Appropriation Act 2022 – S35

State Contingencies

Section 35 is available if an agency needs additional sum because of a State contingency (expenditure incurred in relation to unforeseen events), only if an equal amount is not paid by the Treasurer under section 19.

Appropriation Act 2022 – S36

Contingencies relating to integrity agencies

Section 36 is available for a purpose specified in Part 4 for an integrity agency other than the Audit Office of NSW that is more than the sum specified if believed to be insufficient to carry out its purpose and is necessary. Section 36 is also available where the Treasurer may authorise the payment of a sum from the sum appropriated to the Treasurer by section 20 to the Audit Office of NSW for the services of the Office.

Appropriation Act 2022 – S37

Governments response to crises

Section 37 is available if the Treasurer is of the opinion that the additional sum is reasonably necessary because of expenditure related to the Government’s response to a public health emergency or other crisis, and an equivalent sum is not paid out from the sum appropriated to the Treasurer by section 21.

List of Principal Departments and Special Offices

The following agencies receive a direct appropriation. All other agencies receive authority to spend Consolidated Fund via one of the Principal Departments or Special Offices listed below and or under other legislation.

Principal Departments

Special Offices and the Legislature
Department of Customer Service Judicial Commission of New South Wales
Department of Education Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade Office of the Children's Guardian
Ministry of Health Independent Commission Against Corruption
Department of Planning and Environment Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal
Department of Premier and Cabinet Law Enforcement Conduct Commission
Department of Regional NSW New South Wales Electoral Commission
Department of Communities and Justice Office of the Ombudsman
Department of Transport Public Service Commission
Treasury The Legislature

The following Integrity Agencies may receive Appropriation variations as specified under S36: contingencies relating to integrity agencies.

Principal Departments

Audit Office of NSW
Independent Commission Against Corruption
Law Enforcement Conduct Commission
New South Wales Electoral Commission
Office of the Ombudsmen


Last updated: 20/09/2022