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5514.0.55.001 - Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2005  
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Contents >> Chapter 5 Output

OUTPUT




INTRODUCTION

5.1 ABS GFS are disseminated from the output data base, which is edited and updated after each collection phase, as discussed in Chapter 4. Dissemination is undertaken in the form of publications and provision of data from the data base on request (subject to ABS confidentiality provisions), by telephone, on paper or in electronic form. These non-publication forms of dissemination are described collectively as ‘special data services’.


5.2 This chapter describes the statistical output of the GFS system and the methods by which it is disseminated.


5.3 As discussed in Chapter 4, the main types of output available from the ABS GFS system are referred to as ‘forward’ and ‘final’ GFS. These terms are used to denote the nature of the data for any given year over successive collection phases. For any given financial year, the GFS cycle progresses through forward estimates, and the replacement of forward estimates with final statistics of ‘actual’ data.


TYPES OF OUTPUT

FORWARD ESTIMATES

5.4 Each Australian government’s Treasury (or Department of Finance), as part of the government’s budget formulation process, produces financial information which reflects the expectations of the government in regard to public sector flows and stocks for the forthcoming or budget year. This information covers general government and the public non-financial corporations of the national and state/territory levels of government. Forward estimates are not compiled for public financial corporations.


5.5 The ABS compiles and releases its GFS forward estimates (which are the first ABS-released estimates for any given year) from these data. Because these statistics are based on the expected rather than actual budget outcomes, they can be subject to large revisions (see Chapter 6). The forward estimates published by the ABS in its Government Finance Estimates publications are based on information provided by the various jurisdictions, presented within the GFS framework. The advice provided by the ABS with regard to jurisdictions' preparation of forward estimates is limited to advice on the application of the GFS framework to the estimates.


5.6 At the same time as treasuries compile budget information for the forward year, they also complete accounts for the year just past. These accounts record flows which have actually occurred in the previous fiscal year and stocks at the end of that year. However, given the budget time frame, the accounts are usually not final or audited at the stage they are used by ABS. Nonetheless, they fulfil their purpose of providing preliminary data against which budgetary measures may be gauged. The ABS however ceased publishing these preliminary estimates in 2003, because of the confusion caused by ABS releasing 'preliminary estimates' when a number of jurisdictions had already released updated mid-year forecasts, as well a concern about the validity of valuation issues on the balance sheets of various jurisdictions.


FINAL DATA

5.7 These statistics are the final data for a given year and are compiled from audited data sources.


QUARTERLY GFS

5.8 Quarterly statistics are primarily compiled to provide data about general government and public non-financial corporations for inclusion in the quarterly national accounts. The quarterly statistics are published in Government Finance Statistics, Australia, Quarterly (ABS Cat.no. 5519.0.55.001).


SPECIALISED TOPIC OUTPUT

5.9 Specialised topic output refers to statistics presented in single-topic publications. At the present time there are two specialised-topic GFS publications, which relate to taxation revenue and education. Information formerly published in a special publication relating to public sector financial assets and liabilities is now published as part of balance sheet data in the main GFS publications.


TIME SERIES

5.10 The ABS GFS system’s outputs (including specialised output) are generally stored as annual time series. As of 2005, time series spreadsheets are released on an annual basis on the ABS website. Some GFS data are available back to 1961-62. However, due to different compilation and data sources, cash flow data from 1998-99 onwards are not directly comparable with earlier cash data. Data on an accrual basis are only available from 1998-99.


5.11 The main GFS aggregates (on a national accounts basis) are available as a quarterly time series back to 1959-60.


AVAILABILITY OF DATA

5.12 The number of detailed cross-classifications that could be provided from the GFS output data base is potentially large but, in practice, is limited because input data are not always coded to the finest level in the classifications. Lack of information in source documents often makes coding to finer levels unachievable.


5.13 However, there is a specified minimum level in each classification to which all data are coded. Consistent maintenance of coding at this minimum level ensures that the most commonly sought output is always available. In the output data base, this level is termed the ‘maximum level of output’ and is the finest level of detail available for all of the ‘output sectors’ (see paragraph 5.16 below). Application of a minimum level of coding represents a compromise between the availability of data and the level to which GFS classifications can be applied consistently across the various sectors.


5.14 Despite source-data limitations, a very large amount of data are potentially available from the output data base. ABS GFS publications therefore include only a subset of the data potentially available. Data not published may be obtained for a fee (see paragraphs 5.36-5.38).


5.15 As indicated in Chapter 4, the GFS output data base contains data aggregated into over 150 output sectors. No data for individual units are held. Table 5.1 shows the output sectors. Each output sector is a combination of one or more of the level of government, institutional sector and jurisdiction classifications (e.g. Commonwealth general government). Each sector has a code, as shown in Table 5.1 (e.g. Commonwealth general government is code 130). From the table it will be noted that the multi-jurisdiction category predominantly applies to the general government sector. The national level of government comprises the Commonwealth jurisdiction and all multi-jurisdiction units.

Table 5.1. ABS GOVERNMENT FINANCE STATISTICS OUTPUT SERIES

Sector

Level of Government by Jurisdiction
General government
Public non-financial corporations
Public financial corporations
Non-financial public sector
Public sector

Commonwealth
130
110
120
140
190
State government
New South Wales
231
211
221
241
291
Victoria
232
212
222
242
292
Queensland
233
213
223
243
293
South Australia
234
214
224
244
294
Western Australia
235
215
225
245
295
Tasmania
236
216
226
246
296
Northern Territory
237
217
227
247
297
Australian Capital Territory
238
218
228
248
298
Total all states
239
219
229
249
299
Local Government
New South Wales
331
311
321
341
391
Victoria
332
312
322
342
392
Queensland
333
313
323
343
393
South Australia
334
314
324
344
394
Western Australia
335
315
325
345
395
Tasmania
336
316
326
346
396
Northern Territory
337
317
327
347
397
Australian Capital Territory
338
318
328
348
398
Total all states
339
319
329
349
399
Multi-jurisdiction
Total all jurisdictions
439
419
n.a.
449
499
State and local government
New South Wales
531
511
521
541
591
Victoria
532
512
522
542
592
Queensland
533
513
523
543
593
South Australia
534
514
524
544
594
Western Australia
535
515
525
545
595
Tasmania
536
516
526
546
596
Northern Territory
537
517
527
547
597
Australian Capital Territory
538
518
528
548
598
Total all states
539
519
529
549
599
National
739
719
729
749
799
Australia
939
919
929
949
999

n.a. Not available.


5.16 Each output sector holds aggregated GFS flow and stocks data classified to the economic type framework (ETF) and the government purpose classification (GPC), and a cross-classification of the ETF and GPC.


5.17 The main aggregates held in the output data base are set out in Tables 5.2.1-5.2.4. Each cell in the tables (apart from those marked ‘n.a.’) represents an aggregate for which data are available in the output data base (provided they are not subject to closure for confidentiality reasons). Because of space limitations, the tables do not record every available aggregate; they show mainly aggregates that are included in ABS GFS publications. The content of the publications can vary and the tables should not be taken as a precise statement of the information included in the publications. Finer dissections of many of the ETF items are available - the classifications set out in Appendix 3 should be used as a guide as to the level of detail that might be available. For a detailed discussion of the nature and composition of the items in the statistics, see Chapter 2.


5.18 Tables 5.2.1-5.2.4 do not include the level of government and jurisdiction dimensions of GFS data because of space limitations. A complete picture of the available output would repeat Tables 5.2.1-5.2.4 for each jurisdiction and for each level of government output sector (national, state, state and local) applicable within each jurisdiction. Similarly, a column could be added to the tables for the non-financial public sector (i.e. the consolidation of general government and public non-financial corporations).


5.19 It should be noted that the forward estimates are compiled only for items in the operating statement classified by the ETF, and the cash flow statement. Forward estimates are not compiled for the statement of stocks and flows and the AAS 31 reconciliation.


5.20 GPC-classified data are available only for items in the operating statement. Only GPC-classified expenses and components of net acquisition of non-financial assets are published; revenue items classified by GPC are not published but are available on request.


5.21 Table 5.2.3 covers items in the opening and closing balance sheet and Table 5.2.4 covers the items in the remaining parts of the statement of stocks and flows, namely the net result of transactions and revaluations and other changes in the volume of assets.

Table 5.2.1. SUMMARY OF MAIN GFS AGGREGATES AVAILABLE IN THE OUTPUT DATA BASE: OPERATING STATEMENT

Sector

General government
Public non-financial corporations
Public financial corporations
Public sector
Items
ETF
GPC
ETF
GPC
ETF
GPC
ETF
GPC

GFS Revenue
Taxation revenue
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Current grants and subsidies
Sales of goods and services
Interest income
GFS Expenses
Gross operating expenses
Depreciation
Employee expenses
Other operating expenses
Total gross operating expenses
Property expenses
Dividend expenses
n.a.
n.a.
Income tax equivalent expenses
n.a.
n.a.
Interest expenses
Nominal superannuation interest expenses
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Other interest expenses
Other property expenses
Current transfers
Grant expenses
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Subsidy expenses
Tax expenses
n.a.
n.a.
Other current transfers
Capital transfers
Grant to local governments
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Other capital transfers
GFS net operating balance
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Net acquisition of non-financial assets
Gross fixed capital formation
Depreciation
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Change in inventories
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Other movements in non-financial assets
GFS net lending(+)/borrowing(-)
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.

n.a. Not applicable.

Table 5.2.2. SUMMARY OF MAIN GFS AGGREGATES AVAILABLE IN THE OUTPUT DATA BASE: CASH FLOW STATEMENT

SECTOR
Items
General government
Public non-financial corporations
Public financial corporations
Public sector

Cash receipts from operating activities
Taxes received
n.a.
n.a.
Receipts from sales of goods and services
Grants and subsidies received
Other receipts
Cash payments of operating activities
Payments for goods and services
Grants subsidies paid
n.a.
n.a.
Interest paid
Other payments
Net cash flows from operating activities
Net cash flow from investments in non-financial assets
Sales of non-financial assets
Purchases of new non-financial assets
Purchases of second-hand non-financial assets
Net cash flows from investments in financial assets for policy purposes
n.a.
n.a.
Net cash flows from investments in financial assets for liquidity purposes
Net cash flows from financing activities
Advances received (net)
Borrowing (net)
Deposits received
Other financing (net)
Net increase(+)/decrease(-) in cash held
Net cash flows from operating activities and net cash flows from investments in non-financial assets
Value of non-financial assets acquired under finance leases
Surplus(+)/deficit(-)

n.a. Not applicable.

Table 5.2.3. SUMMARY OF MAIN GFS AGGREGATES AVAILABLE IN THE OUTPUT DATA BASE: BALANCE SHEET

Sector

Items
General government
Public non-financial corporations
Public financial corporations
Public sector

Assets
Financial assets
Cash and deposits
Advances paid
n.a.
n.a.
Investments, loans and placements
Other non-equity assets
Equity
Non-financial assets
Land and fixed assets
Other non-financial assets
Total assets
Liabilities
Deposits held
Advances received
Borrowing
Unfunded superannuation liability
Other employee entitlements and provisions
Other non-equity liabilities
Total liabilities
Shares and other contributed capital
n.a.
Net worth
Net debt

n.a. Not applicable.

Table 5.2.4. SUMMARY OF MAIN GFS AGGREGATES AVAILABLE IN THE OUTPUT DATA BASE:
FLOW COMPONENTS OF THE STATEMENT OF STOCKS AND FLOWS

Sector

Items
General government
Public non-financial corporations
Public financial corporations
Public sector

Net result of transactions
Assets
Financial assets
Cash and deposits
Advances paid
n.a.
n.a.
Investments, loans and placements
Other non-equity assets
Equity
Non-financial assets
Land and fixed assets
Other non-financial assets
Liabilities
Deposits paid
Advances received
Borrowing
Unfunded superannuation liability
Other employee entitlements and provisions
Other non-equity liabilities
Shares and other contributed capital
n.a.
Change to net worth arising from transactions
Change to net debt arising from transactions
Revaluations and other volume changes
Assets
Financial assets
Cash and deposits
Advances paid
n.a.
n.a.
Investments, loans and placements
Other non-equity assets
Equity
Non-financial assets
Land and fixed assets
Other non-financial assets
Liabilities
Deposits paid
Advances received
Borrowing
Unfunded superannuation liability
Other employee entitlements and provisions
Other non-equity liabilities
Shares and other contributed capital
n.a.
Changes to net worth arising from revaluations and other volume changes
Change to net debt arising from revaluation and other volume change

n.a. Not applicable.


5.22 As indicated in the introduction, GFS output is disseminated through various media. The best-known medium is the ABS suite of GFS publications and the ABS website for some publications released electronically. Other media are used to disseminate data on request that are more detailed than the published data or are tailored to the user’s particular requirements. These media include computer print-outs, electronic data transfer, and CDs. Generally, a charge is made by the ABS for data supplied through these media.


5.23 Descriptions of the main GFS publications and the means of dissemination of data other than publications are provided in the following section.


GFS PUBLICATIONS

NATIONAL PUBLICATIONS

5.24 The outputs included in ABS GFS publications are varied from time to time but are generally at the ETF level shown in Table 5.2.1 to Table 5.2.4. Information relating to general government is always published, whereas information relating to public non-financial corporations, public financial corporations and the public sector as a whole is often (but not always) included in publications. The institutional breakdowns most commonly published relate to national government, state and territory government and local government. Data for state and local government combined are also published. Available information that is not published can always be obtained via special data services.


5.25 The four main ABS GFS publications are:

  • Government Financial Estimates, Australia (ABS Cat. no. 5501.0.55.001);
  • Government Finance Statistics, Australia (ABS Cat. no. 5512.0);
  • Taxation Revenue, Australia (ABS Cat. no. 5506.0);
  • Government Finance Statistics, Australia, Quarterly (ABS Cat. no. 5519.0.55.001).

5.26 The electronic release (ABS Cat. no. 5501.0.55.001) contains forward estimates for the general government sector only. Publication 5512.0 includes final data for the completed year and the ABS aims to release it by April of the budget year. In addition to ETF data, the publication includes data cross-classified by the GPC.


5.27 Taxation statistics are released in the annual ABS publication Taxation Revenue, Australia (ABS Cat. no. 5506.0), which focuses on revenues of the general government sector in the form of taxes. The statistics are published for the Commonwealth Government, for each state and territory government, for local government in total in each state and territory, for state and local government combined in each state and territory, and for all levels of government combined. Some figures relating to taxes per capita are also included. The statistics are generally classified at the 2-digit of the taxes classification, which is as follows:

TAXES CLASSIFICATION

Group Subgroup


1. Taxes on income, profits and capital gains
11. Income and capital gains taxes levied on individuals
12. Income and capital gains taxes levied on enterprises
2. Taxes on employers' payroll and labour force
21. General payroll taxes
22. Other employers' labour force taxes
3. Taxes on property
31. Taxes on immovable property
32. Estate, inheritance and gift taxes
33. Taxes non-financial and capital transactions
4. Taxes on provision of goods and services
41. General taxes on provision of goods and services
42. Excises
43. Taxes on international trade
44. Taxes on gambling
45. Taxes on insurance
5. Taxes on the use of goods and performance of activities
51. Motor vehicle taxes
52. Franchise taxes
53. Other taxes on use of goods and performance of activities


5.28 The Government Finance Statistics, Australia, Quarterly (ABS Cat. no. 5519.0.55.001) is available electronically on the ABS website. This release presents quarterly GFS on an accrual accounting basis. The data are presented in the GFS operating statement format and are presented for the general government sector, and public non-financial corporations.


5.29 As noted previously, the former annual publication Expenditure on Education, Australia is now available electronically on the ABS website as ABS Cat. no. 5518.0.55.001. The data include expenditure on education classified by economic type (total expenses and net acquisition of non-financial assets) by all levels of Australian government and the private sector. The statistics relating to private expenditure on education are derived from the national accounts. The statistics are also broken down by each of the GPC sub-categories (e.g. primary, secondary, tertiary education) applicable to expenditure on education.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT DATA

5.30 Users interested in detailed GFS data for local governments should contact the Local Government Statistical Unit (LGSU) in Brisbane on telephone (07) 3222 6404.


OTHER GFS-RELATED ABS PUBLICATIONS

5.31 ABS publications which also disseminate statistics on the government sector are:

  • Australian System of National Accounts (ABS Cat. no. 5204.0) - this annual publication includes income, capital, financial and balance sheet accounts for general government; income and capital accounts for public non-financial corporations; and data on gross fixed capital formation, by level of government and purpose, for public financial and non-financial corporations. All of these statistics are recorded at current prices;
  • Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (ABS Cat. no. 5206.0) - this quarterly publication includes seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of the quarterly income account for general government recorded at current prices. Additional data available electronically (on Ausstats) include the original data for the general government income account (current prices) in total and for state and local government combined (original, current prices);
  • Australian National Accounts: State Accounts (ABS Cat. no. 5220.0) - this annual publication includes current price information on general government final consumption expenditure for the national jurisdiction and the combined state and local levels of government of each state; public gross fixed capital formation for public corporations and general government for the national jurisdiction and the combined state and local levels of government in each state; and general government gross operating surplus in each jurisdiction.

SPECIAL DATA SERVICES

5.32 Special data services are provided for users who require more detailed or specialised data than can be efficiently provided in publications. They usually take the form of special hard-copy tables (clerical or computer tabulations), input or output data listings, and data supplied on CDs or by electronic transfer. Special data services are tailored to the user's specific requirements and are made available for a fee.


5.33 An indication of the maximum level of output detail that may be available can be obtained from Appendix 3 which outlines GFS classification codes and the associated classification descriptors. This information is provided to assist users who require access to the statistical coding structure in order to frame requests for data beyond those contained in regular ABS publications.


5.34 When using the information in Appendix 3, readers should note that not all GFS classifications apply to all institutional sectors and that subsidiary classifications only apply to some ETF codes. In particular:

  • the following ETF categories apply exclusively to general government: 111, 1133, 1134, 1146, 1212, 1223, 1242, 1243, 1261, 2111;
  • the following ETF categories apply exclusively to public non-financial and financial corporations: 1263, 1264, 1265, 1267, 2591;
  • certain GPC subgroups are only applicable to particular transactions - for example, GPC 341 ‘Public debt transactions’ only applies to ETF 1262 ‘Interest expense other than nominal interest on unfunded superannuation’;
  • there are restrictions on the applicability of tax codes according to level of government - for example, personal income taxes only applies to the Commonwealth Government, while local government taxation revenue is restricted to taxes on immovable property.

INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS

5.35 In addition to meeting domestic needs, the ABS also provides Australian GFS data to the IMF and the OECD on an annual basis. These organisations request data for inclusion in their own publications and for use in their operations. The publications of these organisations enable comparisons of the financial performance of the Australian general government sector with that of foreign governments.


GFS OUTPUT DATA REQUESTS

5.36 Users of ABS GFS are encouraged to follow the steps below when framing requests for GFS output data:

  • select the output sector for which data are required, e.g. NSW state general government sector;
  • select the ETF category required (see Appendix 3);
  • select any non-ETF classification (e.g. GPC) categories required, again referring to Appendix 3; and,
  • send the data request to the ABS contact officer.

5.37 On receipt of such requests, the ABS usually reconfirms the client requirements, especially where they are large and involved. A charge is made to cover the costs of extracting data to meet users’ requests. For complex requests, the client must accept the quote for the ABS work before it proceeds.


5.38 GFS output data requests can be directed to the Public Finance Section in Canberra on telephone (02) 6252 7589. As well, inquiries can be directed by mail to Client Services, ABS, Locked Bag 10, Belconnen, ACT 2616 or by email to <client.services@abs.gov.au>

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