Public Sector Finance and Budgeting in State Government

This course maps to capability:


It is essential that government officers have a sound knowledge of how financial resources within the public sector are prioritised, allocated and managed through the budget process, cycle and preparation. Key questions to be addressed in this course include: What are whole-of-government finances, and how do individual government agencies fit in? What exactly is ‘the budget’, and what information does it include? What is the process and timeframe for developing the budget? How do outcomes, outputs and key performance indicators inform budget decisions?  How does government decide on revenue and expenditure priorities during the budget process, and throughout the year? What is the role of Ministers, agencies and individual staff? When and how does Parliament and the Auditor General get involved?

This course is intended for officers with no accounting or finance qualifications, who may be involved in research or policy roles, as project officers, in middle management positions, or in specialist occupations such as planners. In particular, people new to the public sector or to a budget-related role will find this course useful.

Course Content

This half-day workshop will show you how financial resources are managed in accordance with the principles and requirements of legislation and policy governing the public sector. 
You will be encouraged to reflect upon issues or problems you have confronted in dealing with the preparation or review of material for the budget in your agency. This course involves working through some exercises and examples. You will not need a calculator. 

Although the budgeting concepts and general processes discussed are common across different types of agencies and levels of government, the primary focus of the course is on Western Australian general government agencies. The State budget timetable and budget documents are used as examples. The content can be tailored if there is sufficient demand from other agencies.

Course Outcomes

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of Parliament, Cabinet, Ministers, Treasury, government agencies and the Auditor General in relation to the budget process, and how these roles are discharged.
  • Understand how to use the budget papers to establish your Department's financial plan and strategic directions
  • Understand how Department Directors-General, CEOs and senior executives work to fulfil the financial plan, and how to assist them in their financial duties
  • Understand the key processes and time-frames in the budget cycle
  • Locate both whole-of-government and agency specific information in budget documents.

Benefits to your organisation

  • Understanding of whole-of-government finances, and the contribution of your agency
  • Knowledge of processes required to develop, submit, prioritise and approve different aspects of the agency’s, and ultimately the State’s budget.

Benefits to you

  • An appreciation of the complexity of whole-of-government finances, and how the different parts interconnect
  • A greater understanding of internal agency budget-related processes and how they contribute to the State Budget
  • Ability to locate and interpret information in budget papers and related documents.