5512.0 - Government Finance Statistics, Australia, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2006   
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1 The Government Purpose Classification (GPC) is used to classify selected transactions of government by the purpose or function for which they are made. It allows trends in government spending on particular policy areas to be analysed over time. It also allows comparisons on government activity to be made between different countries. The GPC may be used to identify government expenditures on areas of interest for specific economic or social studies. It has the same major groups, coverage and applicability as the UN's Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) which is included in SNA93.

2 The GPC has a hierarchical structure which consists of a 2-digit level (major group), a 3-digit level (group) and a 4-digit level (subgroup). The major groups reflect the broad objectives of government and the groups and subgroups identify the means by which these objectives are met. The GPC is grouped according to type of government function or purpose. Government purposes include such services as general public services, defence, public order and safety, education, health, social security and welfare, housing and community amenities, recreation and culture, and other economic affairs. Some of these services are collective in nature and some are individual services. Collective services are provided by government to the community at large and individual services are provided to persons, households and particular groups within the community.

3 A revised GPC structure has now been implemented and follows discussions in 2000 between the ABS, state and territory treasuries, the Commonwealth Department of Finance and the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC). The new structure is based on the level of detail included in the revised Uniform Presentation Framework (UPF). It includes the level of detail needed to satisfy both CGC and ABS requirements. The new structure consists of the 14 major groups at the 2-digit level. However, the lower level categories reflect the detail in the UPF. For the most part these categories are 3-digit groups, or 4-digit subgroups or a combination of 4-digit subgroups from the previous GPC.

4 The implementation of the revised classification has resulted in a reduction of the availability of a number of the previous four digit level subgroups. However the expenses by purpose tables (Tables 31 and 32) in this publication have been unaffected.