5512.0 - Government Finance Statistics, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2019   
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PUBLIC SECTOR DEBT STATISTICS

Public sector debt is defined as the level of debt liabilities owed by a government to its creditors. Public sector debt statistics can be used as a performance measure on the level of solvency and the liquidity of the public sector. They can also be used to assess the budget sustainability of governments.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a staff discussion note titled What Lies Beneath: The Statistical Definition of Public Sector Debt in 2012. This note introduced the debt matrix - a grid presentation of public sector debt on both a gross and net basis, which enables the recording of debt based on type of debt instrument and level of government subsector.

With the implementation of AGFS15, the ABS has introduced the debt matrix presentation for public sector debt statistics, modified for the Australian situation. The ABS has broadened the financial assets and liabilities reported in the matrix beyond just debt instruments to also include other liabilities, namely equity.

The ABS has recognised that using a matrix-style presentation enables analysts and policy makers to analyse different measures of debt and other liabilities depending on their specific focus or interest. For example, if one is analysing a government’s liquidity, then the focus would be at the L1 to L3 level. However, if one is analysing a government’s longer term budget sustainability, then the focus would be at the L4 to L6 level.


PUBLIC SECTOR DEBT AND OTHER LIABILITIES ON A GROSS BASIS

Gross public sector debt consists of all liabilities that are debt instruments. It is described as the stock position in financial claims that require payment(s) of interest and / or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date (or dates) in the future. The matrix presented below also includes non-debt liabilities.

Headline gross public sector debt (L5 under AGFS15) for the All Australia general government sector was driven by debt securities ($585,459m) and insurance and superannuation liabilities ($321,765m) of the national sector, as well as insurance and superannuation liabilities ($147,401m) and loans ($121,883m) of the state sector.


TABLE 1, MATRIX OF GROSS PUBLIC SECTOR DEBT AND OTHER LIABILITIES BY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT SUBSECTOR

National
Total State
Total Local
All Australia
All Australia
All Australia
General Government(a)
General Government
General Government
General Government
Non-financial Public Sector
Total Public Sector
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Debt securities
585 459
26 076
-
611 535
618 376
868 825
plus Loans
6 735
121 883
10 877
136 225
250 331
55 073
Equals L1
592 194
147 959
10 877
747 760
868 707
923 898
.
plus SDRs
5 860
-
-
5 860
5 860
5 860
plus Currency and deposits
4 572
3 846
625
9 044
8 416
173 473
Equals L2
602 627
151 805
11 502
762 664
882 984
1 103 232
.
plus Other accounts payable
77 616
81 493
8 181
165 122
188 668
194 840
Equals L3
680 243
233 298
19 683
927 786
1 071 651
1 298 072
.
plus Insurance and superannuation
321 765
147 401
-
469 166
472 239
519 129
Equals L4(b)
1 002 007
380 699
19 684
1 396 952
1 543 891
1 817 201
.
plus Financial derivatives
2 003
240
-
2 243
3 435
5 398
Equals L5(c)
1 004 010
380 939
19 684
1 399 195
1 547 326
1 822 599
.
plus Equities
-
-
-
-
2 832
-
Equals L6(d)
1 004 010
380 939
19 684
1 399 195
1 550 158
1 822 599

(a) National includes both the Commonwealth and Control not further defined (public universities) levels of government.
(b) L4 is comparable to the IMF GFSM 2014 concept of headline gross public sector debt.
(c) L5 is comparable to the Australian AGFS15 concept of headline gross public sector debt.
(d) L6 includes other liabilities and is not included in headline measures of gross public sector debt.


PUBLIC SECTOR DEBT AND OTHER LIABILITIES ON A NET BASIS

Net public sector debt is described as gross debt minus the stock position in financial assets corresponding to debt instruments. The matrix presented below also includes non-debt liabilities and their corresponding financial assets.

Headline net public sector debt (L5 under AGFS15) for the All Australia general government sector was driven by a net debt position for debt securities ($463,859m) and insurance and superannuation ($321,765m) of the national sector, as well as insurance and superannuation ($147,376m) and loans ($106,567m) of the state sector. This was partially offset by a net asset position for debt securities of the state sector (-$50,352m) and loans of the national sector (-$49,386m), as well as currency and deposits held by all levels of government (-$32,170m).


TABLE 2, MATRIX OF NET PUBLIC SECTOR DEBT AND OTHER LIABILITIES BY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT SUBSECTOR(a)

National
Total State
Total Local
All Australia
All Australia
All Australia
General Government(b)
General Government
General Government
General Government
Non-financial Public Sector
Total Public Sector
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Debt securities
463 859
-50 352
-1 455
412 052
416 529
438 405
plus Loans
-49 386
106 567
5 430
62 611
185 401
-27 711
Equals L1
414 473
56 215
3 975
474 663
601 930
410 694
-
.
plus SDRs
5 860
-
-
5 860
5 860
5 860
plus Currency and deposits
-6 969
-14 140
-11 061
-32 170
-42 641
119 482
Equals L2(c)
413 364
42 075
-7 086
448 353
565 150
536 036
-
.
plus Other accounts payable
20 508
52 708
3 861
77 077
97 389
99 359
Equals L3
433 872
94 783
-3 225
525 430
662 539
635 395
-
.
plus Insurance and superannuation
321 765
147 376
-
469 142
471 846
518 737
Equals L4(d)
755 637
242 160
-3 224
994 572
1 134 385
1 154 132
-
.
plus Financial derivatives
-11 059
-1 274
-10 735
-23 068
-22 960
-21 682
Equals L5(e)
744 578
240 885
-13 959
971 504
1 111 425
1 132 450
-
.
plus Equities
-180 748
-347 866
-7 568
-536 182
-174 638
-194 036
Equals L6(f)
563 831
-106 981
-21 527
435 322
936 787
938 414

(a) National includes both the Commonwealth and Control not further defined (public universities) levels of government.
(b) A positive value in this matrix indicates that the relevant stock of liabilities is greater than its corresponding stock of financial assets (an indebted position). A negative value indicates the opposite.
(c) L2 is comparable to government reporting of net debt under Australian Accounting Standards.
(d) L4 is comparable to the IMF GFSM 2014 concept of headline net public sector debt.
(e) L5 is comparable to the Australian AGFS15 concept of headline net public sector debt.
(f) L6 includes other liabilities and is not included in headline measures of net public sector debt.


Headline net public sector debt (L5 under AGFS15) of the All Australia general government sector as a percentage of GDP was 52.6% at 30 June 2018, driven by the national sector (40.3%).


TABLE 3, MATRIX OF NET PUBLIC SECTOR DEBT AND OTHER LIABILITIES AS A PERCENTAGE OF GDP(a)(b)

National
Total State
Total Local
All Australia
All Australia
All Australia
General Government(c)
General Government
General Government
General Government
Non-financial Public Sector
Total Public Sector
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
at 30 June 2018
%
%
%
%
%
%

L1
22.4
3.0
0.2
25.7
32.6
22.2
L2(d)
22.4
2.3
-0.4
24.3
30.6
29.0
L3
23.5
5.1
-0.2
28.4
35.9
34.4
L4(e)
40.9
13.1
-0.2
53.8
61.4
62.5
L5(f)
40.3
13.0
-0.8
52.6
60.2
61.3
L6(g)
30.5
-5.8
-1.2
23.6
50.7
50.8

(a) Based on GDP at current prices as published in Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, December Quarter 2018 (Cat. no. 5206.0), Table 36 Expenditure on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Chain Volume Measures and Current Prices: Annual.
(b) A positive value in this matrix indicates that the relevant stock of liabilities is greater than its corresponding stock of financial assets (an indebted position). A negative value indicates the opposite.
(c) National includes both the Commonwealth and Control not further defined (public universities) levels of government.
(d) L2 is comparable to government reporting of net debt under Australian Accounting Standards.
(e) L4 is comparable to the IMF GFSM 2014 concept of headline net public sector debt.
(f) L5 is comparable to the Australian AGFS15 concept of headline net public sector debt.
(g) L6 includes other liabilities and is not included in headline measures of net public sector debt.