Hawker Britton Occasional Papers and Media

Review of Operation Sunlight

December 2008

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Operation Sunlight is the Government’s reform agenda to promote good governance practices and improve the openness and transparency of public sector budgetary and financial management.

Operation Sunlight has six key objectives:

  1. Tightening the outcomes and outputs framework.
  2. Changing the Budget Papers to improve their readability and usefulness.
  3. Improving the transparency of estimates.
  4. Expanding the reach of budget reporting.
  5. Improving inter-generational reporting.
  6. Improving the financial framework.

On 9 December 2008 the Government released the Murray Report on budget transparency issues and the Government’s response to the report and its recommendations.  The Government also re-released the Operation Sunlight – Enhancing Budget Transparency document which has been updated.

The Murray Report

The Murray Report was presented to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner MP in June 2008.  It was prepared by the then Senator Andrew Murray to review budget transparency issues as part of Operation Sunlight.  The report contained 45 recommendations on ways to improve transparency and the Government’s relationship with Parliament.  The Government released its detailed response to the  recommendations, agreeing (fully or in part) to 21 of these.

Some of the future reforms recommended by Andrew Murray and which are now incorporated under Operation Sunlight include:

The Government as part of its Operation Sunlight initiative has already made a number of significant improvements to Budget transparency and accountability including:

Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation said: “The Government has considered Andrew Murray’s recommendations, the vast majority of which we are either taking up in their entirety or incorporating the underlying themes into other initiatives.”

“Recognising the importance of the Operation Sunlight agenda, the Government has provided funding to portfolio departments to assist with the implementation of these reforms within each portfolio”.

The original Operation Sunlight document has been updated to include the recommendations of the Murray Report.

Andrew Murray’s full report, together with the Government’s response, and the updated Operation Sunlight document are available on the Department of Finance and Deregulation website.

The Minister’s media release is available here.

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