1 This publication contains detailed national accounts estimates for the latest nine financial years. Estimates are provided for gross domestic product (GDP) and its components, the national income account, the national capital account, the national financial account and the national balance sheet. Income, capital and financial accounts and a balance sheet are provided for each sector of the economy. Also provided is a range of information classified by industry, details of capital formation (including capital stocks) and productivity statistics. For a list of the statistics included in this publication, see the List of Tables. For a description of the Australian system of national accounts, see Appendix 1.
2 The full time series for the statistics in this publication are available on AusStats, the ABS on-line data service. For the key aggregates, information is available back to 1959-60.
3 Official estimates of national income and expenditure have been compiled by the ABS since 1945, when estimates were published for the years 1938-39 to 1944-45. Until 1993 they were published annually as papers entitled National Income and Expenditure issued by the Treasurer with the Commonwealth Government Budget Papers.
4 In 1963 a number of important changes in the structure and presentation of the national accounts and in the conceptual basis and definitions of the principal aggregates were introduced in a new annual publication entitled Australian National Accounts: National Income and Expenditure, 1948-49 to 1961-62 (cat.no.5204.0). Constant price estimates of the principal expenditure aggregates were presented for the first time.
5 In Australian National Accounts: National Income and Expenditure, 1971-72 (cat.no.5204.0), published in 1973, the structure of the accounts was revised to accord more closely to the international standard described in the United Nations publication A System of National Accounts (1968).
6 In the 1997-98 issue of 5204.0, which was renamed the Australian System of National Accounts, a number of changes were introduced, including the implementation of a revised international standard for national accounting (entitled System of National Accounts, 1993 (SNA93)), the replacement of constant price estimates by chain volume measures and the integration of the national income, expenditure and product accounts with the input-output tables. Also, the scope of the publication was expanded to include balance sheets, capital stock and multifactor productivity statistics. Previously, these statistics had been published in separate publications.
7 SNA93 was produced by five international organisations involved in the use of economic statistics and the promotion of international statistical standards: United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Commission of the European Communities.
Concepts, definitions, sources and methods
8 A revised version of Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat.no.5216.0) was released in December 2000 and is available on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au> (starting at the home page select: Statistics-About Statistics-Concepts and classifications-ABS concepts, sources, methods and statistical frameworks-5216.0). Extensive revisions were required to reflect the implementation of SNA93 in the Australian national accounts and other changes to sources and methods which have occurred over recent years. 5216.0 outlines major concepts and definitions, describes sources of data and methods used to derive annual and quarterly estimates for major aggregates at current prices and in chain volume terms, and discusses the accuracy and reliability of the national accounts. In addition, it includes documentation on input-output tables, financial accounts, capital stock, productivity measures, balance sheets, and state accounts. For detailed information about the nature and extent of the conceptual changes introduced with the implementation of SNA93 reference should be made to the following information papers: Implementation of Revised International Standards in the Australian National Accounts (cat.no.5251.0), Introduction of Chain Volume Measures in the Australian National Accounts (cat.no.5248.0), and Upgraded Australian National Accounts, 1998 (cat.no.5253.0).
9 Brief definitions and descriptions of items in the national accounts are shown in the Glossary. Appendix1 provides information about the conceptual framework of the national accounts and about the structure of the Australian system of national accounts.
Chain volume measures
10 Consistent with SNA93 recommendations, the ABS replaced its constant price estimates with annually-reweighted chain Laspeyres volume measures in the 1997-98 issue of this publication. In general, chain volume measures provide better indicators of movement in real output and expenditure than do constant price estimates because they take account of changes in price relativities that occur between one year and the next. A full discussion of the concepts and methods underlying ABS chain volume measures is contained in 5248.0.
11 Generally, chain volume measures are not additive. In other words, in general, component chain volume measures do not sum to a total in the way original current price components do. In order to minimise the impact of this property, the ABS uses the year preceding the latest year as the reference year. This means that the chain volume measures are additive in the reference year and the latest year. A change in the reference year changes levels but not growth rates, although some revision to recent growth rates can be expected because of the introduction of a more recent base year (and revisions to the current price estimates and price deflators underlying the chain volume measures).
A single measure of gross domestic product
12 There are three approaches which can be used to measure gross domestic product (GDP).
- The income approach (I), which involves summing factor incomes, consumption of fixed capital (depreciation) and taxes less subsidies on production and imports.
- The expenditure approach (E), which involves summing all final expenditures, changes in inventories and exports less imports of goods and services.
13 While each measure should, conceptually, deliver the same estimate of GDP, if the three measures are compiled independently using different data sources then different estimates of GDP result. However, the Australian national accounts estimates have been integrated with annual balanced supply and use tables. These tables have been compiled from 1994-95, up to the year preceding the latest completed financial year. As integration with balanced supply and use tables ensures that the same estimate of GDP is obtained from the three approaches, annual estimates using the I, E and P approaches are identical for the years for which these tables are available.
14 The estimates for years prior to 1994-95 and for the latest year have not been balanced using supply and use tables, and there are usually differences between the I, E and P estimates for these periods. Nevertheless, for these periods, a single estimate of GDP has been compiled by averaging the three measures.
15 As a result of the above methods:
- The production approach (P), which involves taking the value of goods and services produced by an industry (i.e. output) and deducting the cost of goods and services used up by the industry in the production process (i.e. intermediate consumption). If output is measured at basic prices, as it is in the Australian national accounts, then taxes less subsidies on products must be added to obtain GDP at market prices.
- there is no statistical discrepancy for annual estimates from 1994-95 up to the year prior to the latest year, in either current price or chain volume terms; and
16 The industry statistics in this publication are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (cat.no.1292.0).
Reliability and future revisions
17 National accounts estimates are prepared from a wide range of statistical sources, some of which are available quickly and some only with a delay of several years. Some are closely related to the desired national accounting basis, but others are not completely satisfactory in various respects, including coverage, concepts and timing. Most of the basic data derive from the general system of statistical surveys or as a by-product of government administrative processes. The frequency, detail and timeliness of these data sources are constrained by many factors, including the other purposes which they must serve. Any increase in timeliness of data is usually at the expense of detail, reliability or additional resources. Therefore, estimates for recent years may be subject to considerable revision as firmer data become available.
Other national accounts statistical publications
18 This publication is part of a regular sequence of national accounts publications. The key national accounts publication is the quarterly national accounts released as Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat.no.5206.0) every three months approximately two months after the end of the reference period. The first estimates of national accounts for a particular financial year are released in the June quarter issue of 5206.0, generally released in early September.
19 State estimates are compiled on a quarterly basis for the aggregate State Final Demand and its components. These results are published in 5206.0. On an annual basis estimates of Gross State Product (GSP) and other relevant State data are made for each State and Territory. These are released in the publication Australian National Accounts: State Accounts (cat.no.5220.0) shortly after the release of 5204.0 and are fully consistent with the Australian level estimates contained in 5204.0.
20 Input-output tables for 1996-97, consistent with the 1996-97 estimates for income, expenditure and production shown in the 1999-2000 issue of this publication, are available in Australian National Accounts: Input Output Tables 1996-97 (cat.no.5209.0). Related to this release is the detailed commodity information contained in Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Commodity Details) (cat.no.5215.0)
21 In recent years a significant amount of progress has been made in developing estimates of the contribution of tourism to the Australian economy in the form of a tourism satellite account. The first results of this work were published with respect to the single year 1997-98. Annual estimates have subsequently been released for 2000-01 and 2001-02 in Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (cat.no.5249.0).
Feature articles and technical notes
22 Feature articles and technical notes are written on a regular basis to inform users of emerging issues and methodological changes and their impact on the national accounts. Most commonly feature articles and technical notes are released in the quarterly publication 5206.0 but other publication vehicles are also used. A full listing of feature articles published since December 1988 is included in Appendix 2.
23 Occasional Papers produced by officers of the ABS report on various aspects of research being undertaken on the national accounts. They are not used for the release of official statistics and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ABS. The following Occasional Papers are available:
Current-Cost and Constant-Cost Depreciation and Net Capital Stock-C.Bailey(1981/1)
The Accuracy and Reliability of the Quarterly Australian National Accounts-A.Johnson(1982/2)
State Accounts, Australia: Issues and Experimental Estimates-S.Burrell, J.Daniel, A.Johnson and R.Walters (1984/4)
The Effects of Rebasing the Constant Price Estimates of the Australian National Accounts-R.Dippelsman(1985/1)
Estimates of Depreciation and Capital Stock, Australia-R.Walters and R.Dippelsman (1985/3)
Estimates of Multifactor Productivity, Australia-C.Aspden (cat.no.5233.0)
Productivity, Prices, Profits and Pay, 1964-65 to 1989-90 (cat.no.5239.0)
Balanced Australian National Accounts-C. Kim, G. Salou, P. Rossiter (Working Papers in Economics and Applied Statistics, 94/2, (cat.no.351.0)
Measuring Unpaid Work: Issues and Experimental Estimates (cat.no.5236.0)
Unpaid Work and the Australian Economy, 1997 (cat.no.5240.0)
National Balance Sheets for Australia: Issues and Experimental Estimates, 1989-1992 (cat.no.5241.0)
24 Information Papers are published by the ABS to provide information on topical issues and developments. The following Information Papers relating to national accounting issues are available:
Development of Multifactor Productivity Estimates for Australia 1974-75 to 1987-88 (cat.no.5229.0)
Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics (cat.no.1357.0)
Introduction of Revised International Statistical Standards in ABS Macro-economic Statistics (cat.no.5245.0)
Implementation of Revised International Standards in the Australian National Accounts (cat.no.5251.0)
Introduction of Chain Volume Measures in the Australian National Accounts (cat.no.5248.0)
Upgraded Australian National Accounts (cat.no.5253.0)
Upgraded Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (cat.no.5254.0)
ABS Statistics and the New Tax System (cat.no.1358.0)
Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from the New Tax System] (cat.no.1372.0)
- for years prior to 1994-95, and the latest year, statistical discrepancies exist between estimates based on the I, E and P approaches and the single estimate of GDP, in both current prices and chain volume terms. These discrepancies are shown in the relevant tables.
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