Office Budget and Electorate Support Budget Overview

From 1 July 2015, Senators and Members’ entitlements under seven capped budgets have been consolidated into two budgets:

Until 30 June 2015 From 1 July 2015
Office Requisites and Stationery Office Budget
Printing and Communications
Australian Flags for Presentation to Constituents
Until 30 June 2015 From 1 July 2015
Electorate Staff Travel Electorate Support Budget
Relief Staff

The changes reduce the complexity of former arrangements, provide greater flexibility, and decrease the administrative burden on Senators and Members when accessing their entitlements.

Office Budget Expenditure

Senators and Members have discretion in the use of their office budget, up to the limit of the total allocated budget.

The office budget may be used for any or all of the purposes of its component entitlements (office requisites and stationery, printing and communications, publications, software and flags).

Office requisites and stationery expenditure continues to be subject to an annual financial cap, which, from 1 July 2015, is $50,000 within the office budget. This is not a separate budget.

The limit of 50 large flags per parliamentarian for presentation to individuals also remains1. All other caps which previously applied to expenditure were removed from 1 July 2015.

Office Requisites and Stationery

From 1 July 2015, Senators and Members are able to access their choice of supplier for their office requisites and stationery. However, Senators and Members can continue to take advantage of competitive pricing through the Government’s contracted office requisites and stationery supplier, OfficeMax.

Senators and Members may only purchase office requisites and stationery items included on the existing list approved by the Special Minister of State. It is expected that office requisites and stationery purchased through an alternative supplier will be of a comparable type and price to those provided by the contracted supplier, OfficeMax.

Senators and Members will deal directly with stationery and office requisites suppliers (other than OfficeMax). Claims for payment of suppliers other than OfficeMax, or for reimbursement of stationery or office requisite costs, require an itemised account to be submitted for payment to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services with Form 155: Invoice Certification - Office Requisites and Stationery.

Electorate Support Budget Expenditure

The electorate support budget may be used for electorate staff travel and the employment of relief staff, consistent with entitlement provisions. Neither component in the electorate support budget will be capped, other than by the overall budget limit.

By combining the former budgets for electorate staff travel and relief staff employment, the electorate support budget provides substantial additional flexibility for Senators and Members to adjust staff travel and relief arrangements according to their particular requirements.

Senators and Members are responsible for managing the employment of relief staff and staff travel against the electorate support budget and monitoring expenditure throughout the financial year.

Further Assistance

Further information on the office and electorate support budgets can be found in these questions and answers.

If you have further questions about the new budgets, please contact the M&PS Help Desk or your Advice and Support Director.

1  There is no limit, other than the extent of the Office Budget, on the number of flags that can be purchased for presentation to eligible recipients (e.g. schools, community organisations, humanitarian aid workers, and for the funerals of war veterans).