Budget Transparency

by Rod Campbell

This may be the least transparent budget ever. Budgets always have some items that are marked “nfp” – not for publication – because the item is either classified, still under negotiation or commercial in confidence.

Searching for “nfp” in Budget Paper No 2 (this is the budget paper that lists all the new programs), this Budget boasted a record 348 nfp mentions, edging out the 2017-18 Budget on 321:

Figure 1 – Count of ‘nfp’ (not for publication) in Budget Paper No 2 by year; Source: Budget Paper No 2, in each year

The ‘nfp’ mentions this year and in 2017-18 are spread across a wide range of areas, whereas the 2012-13 Budget featured 72 mentions around one program still being negotiated with the NT Government. While many measures this year may relate to COVID-19 measures still under negotiation, the overall trend for items not for publication in the budget is increasing.

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