Want to know how your tax money is being spent? The Australian Budget Explorer is an interactive way to explore spending by portfolio, agency, program or even in more detail; compare 2014 against previous years; and search for the terms that interest you.
This was produced in collaboration with BudgetAus. This year for the first time, the team at data.gov.au provided the Budget expenditure data in a single spreadsheet, which Rosie Williams (InfoAus) manipulated to include further data on the Social Services portfolio. The collaboration is producing lots of good visualisations, collected at AusViz.
I won’t editorialise about the Budget here; instead here is my data and extensions wishlist:
Look-through to include State budgets
The biggest line item (component) in the Federal Budget is $54 billion for “Administered expenses: Special appropriation GST Revenue Entitlements – Federal Financial Relations Act 2009″, which I take it is revenue to the States. I would love to be able to “look through” this item into how the States spend it.
The BudgetAus team has provided some promising data leads here.
Unique identifiers to track spending over time
One of the most frequent requests I get is to track changes in spending over time.
Unfortunately this is hard, as there are no unique identifiers for a given portfolio, program, agency or component. That means if the name changes from one year to the next, it is hard to work out which old name corresponds to which new name. E.g. In 2014, the Department of Employment & Workplace Relations has been split into the Department of Employment and the Department of Education, while the Environment portfolio used to be “Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities”.
It would be great to give all spending an identifier, and have a record of how identifiers map from one year to the next.
What money is actually spent?
How does the budget relate to what is spent? There is some info here at BudgetAus, but the upshot is “This might be a good task for a future group of volunteers”…
There is revenue data available here – I haven’t looked at it carefully yet, but I hope to include it, if possible.
It would be great to compare the percentages spent in key areas by governments across the world.
Maybe it’s already being done? To do this I’d need some standard hierarchy of categories (health, education, defence, and subdivisions of these, etc), and we’d need every country’s government (and every State government) to tag their spending by those categories. Sounds simple in concept but I bet it would be hard to make it happen.
In the meantime, my plan is to check quandl for data and see how far I can go with what’s there…
Finally, many thanks to the authors for the awesome d3 package!
If you have any comments or know how to solve any of the data issues raised above, please let me know.