Abstract

Since the early 1990s the Australian Commonwealth public sector has undergone significant financial reforms, due primarily to the current federal Liberal government’s drive to improve the financial accountability of the Commonwealth Government. These reforms include the adoption of accrual accounting and budgeting and the development and implementation of an outcomes and outputs framework. These reforms culminated in the first full federal budget to be developed on an accrual basis in 1999 – 2000. This paper will examine the implementation of these reforms and the associated processes to determine whether or not the Commonwealth government is more financially transparent and better able to discharge its financial accountability. It is argued the complexity of the processes associated with, and the reporting requirements of these reforms may have actually decreased the level of accountability to the key party to whom accountability is due — the Australian public.

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