Local Government Finance Statistics, WA

   Page tools:

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    Government Finance Statistics (GFS) refer to statistics that measure the financial transactions of governments and reflect the impact of these transactions on other sectors of the economy. GFS focuses on financial transactions such as governments' spending, lending, taxing and borrowing activities. The Australian system of GFS is designed to provide statistical information on Australian public sector entities (ie, general government (GG) and public non-financial corporations (PNFCs), classified in a uniform and systematic way. The system is based on international standards set out in the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93) and the draft accrual version of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Government Finance Statistics Manual.


    The statistics from this collection are compiled primarily to provide General Government and Public Corporations aggregates for the local government sector for GFS purposes. A further purpose is served of producing local government financial data at the Authority level. These objectives combined allow a complete picture of government financial activity in NSW to be produced. Generating a contribution to National Accounts is a third aim of the collection.


    All legal Local Government Councils and County Councils in NSW are in scope. Coverage is 100% of these.


    Conceptual framework

    The method of classification and aggregation of data items is based on the Classification Manual for Government Finance Statistics (GFS), 1989 (ABS Cat No. 1217.0) and the information paper, Accruals-based Government Finance Statistics, 1999 (ABS Cat No.5517.0) .

    The Australian system of GFS is designed to provide statistical information on Australian public sector entities (ie, general government (GG) and public non-financial, and financial, corporations (PNFCs and PFCs) classified in a uniform and systematic way. The system is based on international standards in SNA93 and the draft accrual version of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Government Finance Statistics Manual.

    With the adoption of accrual accounting (September '99) the new conceptual framework is now in the form of an integrated statement of stocks and flows derived from the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93). This differs significantly from the old cash-based framework which focused on selected flows and stocks. 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 the efficiency in the allocation and use of government resources.

    The adoption of a new conceptual framework has required changes to most of the classifications used in the compilation of GFS. See details in 5.3 Classifications (summary).

    Main outputs

    Government Finance Statistics (GFS) data. The statistics from this collection are primarily compiled to provide general government and public non-financial corporations aggregates. Data are currently published in a number of publications produced by National Accounts and Public Sector Accounts.


    A comprehensive account of the concepts applied in GFS is provided in Government Finance Statistics Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (ABS Cat No. 5514.0).

    Economic Type Framework (ETF) - This is the main classification for stocks and flows. It is structured as an input classification, unlike the previous cash accounting -based classification which was output oriented and focused on outlays, revenues and financing transactions. The new ETF resembles a set of financial accounting statements with sections for the operating statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet and other sections.

    Government Purpose Classification (GPC) - The GPC is used to classify revenues, expenses and net acquisition of non-financial assets of the public sector in terms of the purposes for which the transactions are made. The GPC is based on the SNA93 Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG). The use of this classification will be phased out commencing from 2003/04. The GPC classification will be replaced by the Local Government Purpose Classification (LGPC)

    Local Government Purpose Classification (LGPC) - NOT YET IN USE - The LGPC provides a structure to classify a range of financial transactions in terms of the purposes for which the transactions are made. These include outlays on final consumption expenditure, intermediate consumption, gross capital formation and capital and current transfers, by local government. Data collected according to LGPC will provide information on the socioeconomic effects of local government transactions. It will be also be useful in establishing trends in local government outlays on particular purposes over time. The units of classification are, in principle, individual transactions. This means that each purchase, wage payment, transfer, loan disbursement or other outlay should be assigned an LGPC code according to the function that the transaction serves.

    Taxes Classification (TC) - Taxes are broken down into the following broad categories -

      1. Taxes on income, profits and capital gains.
      2. Taxes on employer's payroll and labour force.
      3. Taxes on property.
      4. Taxes on provision of goods and services.
      5. Taxes on the use of goods and performance of activities.

    Source/Destination Classification (SDC) - The implementation of accrual GFS means that many more transactions are now subject to consolidation. The SDC facilitates this.

    Type of Asset Classification (TAC) - This classification incorporates the SNA93 distinction between produced (tangible and intangible) and non-produced (tangible and intangible) assets.

    Each statistical unit included in the GFS is classified according to a number of classifications including:

      • Institutional sector (General Government, Public Non-financial Corporation or Public Financial Corporation sector);
      • Level of government (Commonwealth, State, Local or Multi-jurisdictional);
      • State of jurisdiction; and
      • Industrial sector (ANZSIC).

    The statistics show, for the public sector:

      • Consolidated transactions (for all sectors), presented so that the economic impact and sustainability of government fiscal programs can be assessed;
      • The roles of the different levels of government in the undertaking and financing of their fiscal programs;
      • The transactions of the Commonwealth, individual State, Territory and Local governments, so they may be used to indicate the comparative standing of each level of government in relation to its expenditure, its sources of revenue, and its financing transactions.
    Other concepts (summary)

    System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93)

    Western Australia
    Legal Local Government Area

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    No exclusions


    Frequency comments


    1993-94 (and earlier)
    Prior to and including 1993-94 financial year, data were collected directly from Councils on an instrument employed under the authority of the Local Government Act (ie it was essentially an administrative by-product collection). The data were in the public domain and were available for dissemination on an individual Local Government authority basis.

    From 1994-95 the requirements of the Local Government Act changed and administrative by-product data were no longer available. Consequently the ABS commenced collecting data using it's own collection instrument.

    1998-99 to 2000-01
    Two main changes were made to the collection for the 1998-99 financial year. The first was the collecting and publishing of data on an accrual basis. Data were presented in councils' financial statements in accordance with Australian Accounting Standard 27 (AAS27). These statements include the presentation of a Statement of Financial Performance, Statement of Financial Position and Statement of Cash Flows.
    The second change was the collecting of more detailed data in order to provide a data service to the WA Local Government Grants Commission (WALGGC). This allowed the WALGGC to remove financial questions from the form it sent to councils, which resulted in a substantial reduction in provider load. The final year of data collection in this manner was carried out in relation to the reference year 2000-01.

    Commencing with the 2001-02 cycle, the WALGGC again took responsibility for gathering financial information from local governments. Using an electronic collection instrument designed jointly by the WALGGC and the ABS, both GC and ABS data needs are intended to be serviced simultaneously.



    Data availability comments

    Data at the individual Local Government level are available as a Special Data Service from the ABS.
    Aggregated data are published in Government Finance Statistics, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 5512.0).

    21/03/2005 04:51 PM