6537.0 - Government Benefits, Taxes and Household Income, Australia, 2003-04  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/06/2007   
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This publication presents the results of a study of the effects of taxation and government expenditure on the distribution of income among private households in Australia in 2003-04. Previous studies were conducted in relation to 1984, 1988-89, 1993-94 and 1998-99. The approach taken is only one of several ways of undertaking such a study.


There are several significant changes between the 2003-04 study and the previous studies. The main changes can be broadly classified in two categories:

  • the Household Expenditure Survey (HES), which is one of the major data sources used in the study, underwent a number of major changes in 2003-04. The survey was integrated with the 2003-04 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). This resulted in the redefinition of a number of income items, so that they are aligned with the corresponding SIH data items, which results in some loss of comparability between 1998-99 and 2003-04 HES data for private income and taxes on income
  • improved methods have been used in the study to allocate social transfers in kind and taxes on production to households. Some data sources to allocate government expenditure have also changed.
  • More information on these changes is included in paragraphs 3 to 6 of Explanatory Notes. Detailed information on changes in the methodology for allocating taxes on production to households is included in Appendix 4.

Some changes have also been made to the content of the publication:
  • adoption of revised terminology, consistent with the 1993 System of National Accounts and latest government finance classifications. Direct benefits are now referred to as Social assistance benefits in cash, Indirect benefits as Social transfers in kind, Direct taxes as Taxes on income and Indirect taxes as Taxes on production
  • revised classifications to present data on social assistance benefits in cash and taxes on production
  • inclusion of equivalised disposable income and equivalised final income, which provide additional indicators of a household's relative wellbeing when compared to other households of different size and composition
  • new tables presenting data by equivalised disposable household income quintile, equivalised final income quintile, net worth quintile, contribution of government pensions and allowances to gross household income, states and territories
  • tables showing comparison of data with previous studies are no longer included as the extent of change in the 2003-04 study means that it is not possible to make comparisons over time. However, Appendices 4 and 5 provide some limited comparisons of 2003-04 data with 1998-99 data.


Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals. Published percentages are calculated prior to rounding of the figures and therefore some discrepancy may exist between these percentages and those that could be calculated from the rounded figures.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Rajni Madan on Canberra (02) 6252 7457.