The role of the NSW Upper House in holding the government to account continues through COVID, with eight Budget Estimates being held virtually between 18 August and 3 September. Read on for quick overview of these preliminary hearings, and how you can watch.

What is Budget Estimates?

Each year, the Budget Estimates process allows Upper House committees to scrutinise the state budget and to explore issues relevant to the expenditure, performance and effectiveness of government agencies. This is done through an intensive series of public hearings, with our committees examining each Ministerial portfolio, as well as The Legislature (the operation of the parliament itself).

What’s happening this year?

This year, owing to COVID, an initial schedule of virtual hearings involving senior public servants will be streamed live on YouTube at and accessible from the Upper House’s Twitter account at sure to follow us for all Budget Estimates updates and alerts!

This is a truncated approach to Budget Estimates, following the postponement of the full, in-person schedule of hearings due to the current public health orders. If you’re curious, here’s what the full Estimates approach looked like last year (and it’s also a handy article to learn more about how Estimates hearings work a little differently to regular committee hearings).

While Ministers are expected to be questioned by Upper House committees when in-person hearings take place at a later date, the initial virtual hearings include witnesses such as the Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of relevant government departments and agencies.

The virtual hearing schedule

PremierWed 18 August9:30am-1:00pm
TreasuryFri 20 August9:30am-1:00pm
HealthMon 23 August9:30am-1:00pm
Customer Service and DigitalWed 25 August9:30am-1:00pm
Education and Early Childhood LearningFri 27 August9:30am-1:00pm
Regional NSW, Industry and TradeMon 30 August9:30am-1:00pm
PoliceWed 1 September9:30am-1:00pm
Transport and RoadsFri 3 September9:30am-1:00pm

Full daily schedules featuring witness details will be made available soon on the Budget Estimates page of the NSW Parliament website.

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