Australian Bureau of Statistics
5517.0 - Information Paper: Accruals-based Government Finance Statistics, 2000
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/03/2000
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Most of the changes to GFS which were discussed in a previous Information Paper titled Developments in Government Finance Statistics (Cat. no. 5516.0), released in February 1997, were implemented in the old cash-based statistics. These changes included the reclassification of central borrowing authorities from the general government sector to the public financial corporations sector, the extension of the scope of GFS to include other public financial corporations, the reclassification of public sector universities from each jurisdiction’s general government sector to the multi-jurisdiction general government sector, and the treatment of state/territory tax-equivalent payments and receipts.
The new conceptual framework is in the form of an integrated statement of stocks and flows which is derived from the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93). This differs significantly from the old cash-based framework which focused on selected stocks and flows. The new framework facilitates a more comprehensive assessment of the economic impact of government activity and the sustainability of fiscal policy. It also provides an improved basis for monitoring efficiency in the allocation and use of government resources. A number of new analytical balances will be compiled, as described below.
New analytical balances
The new analytical balances are the Net Operating Balance (NOB), GFS Net Lending(+)/Borrowing(–), GFS Net Worth, Increase in GFS Net Worth, and the Surplus(+)/Deficit(–).
The adoption of a new conceptual framework has required changes to most of the classifications used in the compilation of GFS. These changes are outlined below:
Break in GFS time series
The ABS’s original strategy was to bridge between the previous predominantly cash-based GFS series and the new accrual series by presenting the historical series from 1961-62 on an approximate accrual basis. This series was to have been based on the cash statistics with some adjustments to general government data mainly relating to depreciation provisions, accrued superannuation expenses and other accrual adjustment items where possible. Because of concerns about the quality of the derived series, and after consultation with the Treasuries of all jurisdictions, the ABS has decided not to release the derived historical series. The accrual GFS time series will therefore begin in respect of data for 1998-99.
Integration of FALS
The Financial Assets and Liabilities (FALS) collection presented data on selected financial assets and liabilities of Australian governments. This partial balance sheet collection has been discontinued as it now forms a subset of the full GFS balance sheet that will be collected for the accrual GFS. However, in order to provide a measure of continuity in the switch-over to accrual GFS, the Net Debt information will still be available and the series will continue to be published for the time being.
The GFS consolidation methodology will remain largely unchanged. However, with the implementation of accrual GFS many more items will be subject to consolidation.
A number of items are treated differently under GFS, ASNA and AAS 31. GFS and ASNA are frameworks designed to facilitate macro-economic analysis, while the public sector accounting standards are aimed at producing general purpose financial statements on a similar basis to private sector entities to provide an overview of government performance, financial position, and financing and investing activities. The differences in objectives between GFS and ASNA on the one hand and AAS 31 on the other can result in significant differences between corresponding analytical balances such as the net operating balance (or result) and net lending/borrowing. The ABS intends to prepare reconciliations between GFS, ASNA and accounting measures to both explain the differences between them to users and to maintain user confidence in the data produced by each system.
This page last updated 20 January 2006
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