The Senate estimates process occurs three times per year and involves Senate committees examining the estimates of proposed annual expenditure of government departments and authorities. These estimates are contained in the main appropriation bills introduced into Parliament as part of the annual Budget in May and in additional appropriation bills introduced in October and February.
The estimates process provides committee members with the opportunity to question senior APS employees directly, and seek explanations relating to the items of proposed expenditure.
Many documents may be consulted by the committee members during the estimates process, including:
- Portfolio Budget Statements
- annual reports
- agency corporate plans
- Australian National Audit Office audit reports
- appropriation bills.