5518.0.55.001 - Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia - Electronic Delivery, 2001-02  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/05/2003   
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For education, total operating expenses increased by $2.6 billion. As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), total expenses on education increased from 5.2% in 2000-01 to 5.3% in 2001-02.

Private expenditure (final consumption expenditure plus gross fixed capital formation) on education increased by $737 million.


For education, the largest component of total operating expenses in 2001-2002 was employee expenses of $20.7 billion. This comprised 55.1% of total expenses on education.


For all Australian governments in 2001-2002, primary and secondary education operating expenses were $21.3 billion which accounted for 56.7% of total education expenses. Total operating expenses on tertiary education were $13.6 billion accounting for 36.3% of total education expenses with university education accounting for 71.3% of the total amount spent on tertiary education.


Total operating expenses on education by the Commonwealth Government in 2001-2002 were $11.7 billion with $11.0 billion (94.1%) made up of current transfer expenses. The next largest component of Commonwealth education expenses was capital transfer expenses of $370 million which accounted for 3.2% of total Commonwealth Government expenses on education.



1 This Special Data Service (SDS) entitled Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia (Cat. no. 5518.0.55.001) contains education statistics for the period 1998-99 to 2001-2002. These data are presented on an accrual accounting basis. Summary information relating to private expenditure on education for the period 1998-99 to 2001-2002 is also included.

2 The emphasis in this SDS is largely on public sector expenses which reflects, in part, the relative importance of that sector in the provision of education services.

3 The data relating to the public sector are taken from the system of Government Finance Statistics (GFS), which is designed to provide statistical information on public sector entities classified in a uniform and systematic way. GFS enable policy makers and other users to analyse the financial operations and the financial position of the public sector at either the level of a specific government, sector or a particular set of transactions. 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 Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001.

4 In relation to education, GFS include the following for the various components of the Australian public sector:

  • details of transactions in GFS operating revenues and GFS operating expenses; and
  • expenditure on non-financial assets (net).

5 Information on private sector expenditure is obtained from component data of the Australian National Accounts (See Australian System of National Accounts, 2001-02 (Cat. no. 5204.0)).


6 An information paper (Information Paper: Accruals-based Government Finance Statistics (Cat. no. 5517.0)) aimed at helping users understand the statistics presented in this and related publications was issued on 13 March 2000. That information paper outlines the conceptual changes which have been implemented in moving from a cash to an accrual basis of recording.

7 Users analysing previous cash-based GFS publications should refer to Government Finance Statistics - Concepts, Sources and Methods (Cat. no. 5514.0), which relates to cash-based GFS. An accrual GFS version of this manual is expected to be available on the ABS website later this year.


8 GFS public sector education statistics are broadly categorised as follows:
  • operating expenses;
  • net acquisition of non-financial assets and
  • sales of goods and services.

9 Public sector education operating expenses include some monies intended to facilitate education, but which are not spent on educational services and facilities. Examples of such expenses are payments, termed current monetary transfers to households and living allowances paid to students which are used to finance expenditure on food, clothing, transport, rent, etc.

10 As well as operating expenses, net acquisition of non-financial assets, and Commonwealth grants for education purposes, this SDS includes statistics on revenue obtained from sales of goods and services i.e. student fees and charges made by governments and educational institutions in exchange for the provision of educational services.


11 The figures presented here are essentially a reclassification of the conventional accounts of public authorities engaged in providing educational services which appear in budget documents or annual reports. The classification schemes used to reclassify the transactions in the conventional accounts into a national accounting presentation are the:
  • Economic Type Framework for GFS (ETF): this classification is the main classification of stocks and flows. The ETF resembles a set of financial statements, with sections for an operating statement, a cash flow statement and a balance sheet. In addition, there are sections which cater for the reconciliation of accounting net operating result measures with cash flows from operating activities and to capture items like assets acquired under finance leases, intra-unit transfers, and revaluations and other changes in the volume of assets; and
  • Government Purpose Classification (GPC): this classification is used to group expenses with similar functions to facilitate the study of the broad purposes of public sector spending.

12 Statistics in this SDS relate to public sector expenses which have been classified to GPC 24 - Education. However, there are some issues relating to the structure and application of the GPC that are relevant when interpreting the data. Nurse education carried out in hospitals is included in GPC - Health; because of the difficulty in separately identifying these expenditures in the accounts of hospitals. Expenses on nursing and military education are classified to education. Expenses on medical and dental services to students are classified to health.

13 Data are also provided by purpose for Commonwealth, State and local governments and the multi-jurisdictional sector. It should be noted that differences in institutional structure and accounting practices make it difficult to implement the GPC in a way which leads to fully comparable statistics between the States. For example, in some States expenditure on the education of disabled children (which should be classified to special education) is included under primary and secondary education because data are not separately available. Therefore, these differences need to be taken into account when comparing the statistics between States as well as over time.


14 Expenditure on education by the private sector consists of household final consumption expenditure on education services, and gross fixed capital formation mainly by private non-profit organisations.

15 Household final consumption expenditure on education services is estimated as fees paid by persons to government schools (including technical and agricultural colleges), fees (other than boarding fees) and gifts to universities, independent schools, business colleges, etc. plus current expenditure of non-profit educational institutions, net of fees and other current receipts. Current expenditure excludes interest and consumption of fixed capital and is financed by fees paid by households and current grants from general government. Expenditure on such items as school books, uniforms, etc. and expenditure by parents’ associations on school equipment are not included, being treated in the Australian National Accounts as household final consumption expenditure on other goods and services (such as clothing, books, etc.). Fares paid by students to and from educational institutions are not counted as part of household final consumption expenditure on education, but are included in the Australian System of National Accounts as part of household final consumption expenditure - transport services. Payments to tertiary institutions made under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, introduced in 1988-89, are classified as charges for the provision of services by the tertiary institution and are therefore included in household final consumption expenditure.

16 Private gross fixed capital formation in the field of education is estimated from statistics of the value of work done on new building and major additions to buildings of private educational institutions.


17 GFS are revised progressively as new or improved data become available. For this reason differences can occur between equivalent aggregates published at different times.


18 Readers may wish to refer to the following publications for related information:

A Directory of Education and Training Statistics (Cat. no. 1136.0) - latest edition October 1997, issued 1997

Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources, and Methods (Cat. no. 5216.0) - latest edition 2000 - issued December 2000

Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (Cat. no. 5206.0) - issued quarterly

Australian System of National Accounts (Cat. no. 5204.0) - issued annually

Australian Social Trends (Cat. no. 4102.0) - issued annually

Education and Training in Australia (Cat. no. 4224.0) - latest edition 1998 - issued 1999

Government Finance Statistics, Australia (Cat. no. 5512.0) - issued annually

Government Finance Statistics - Concepts, Sources and Methods (Cat. no. 5514.0) - latest edition 1994, issued 1995

Information Paper: Accruals-based Government Finance Statistics (Cat. no. 5517.0) - issued March 2000

Participation in Education, Australia (Cat. no. 6272.0) - issued annually

Statistical Concepts Reference Library (Cat. no. 1361.0.30.001) - issued May 2000 on CD-ROM

Taxation Revenue, Australia (Cat. no. 5506.0) - issued annually

Transition from Education to Work, Australia (Cat. no. 6227.0) - issued annually


19 In some cases, ABS data are available on request. These include data for the years 1961-62 to 1997-98 prepared on a cash accounting basis. This information may be made available in one or more of the following forms: photocopy, computer printout, floppy disk, CD-ROM and clerically extracted tabulation. Generally, a charge is made for providing such information. Inquiries should be made to Robert Bourke on Canberra 02 6252 7589, or the National Information Service on 1300 135 070.


Advances to persons for HECS purposes (net)

Applies to cases where students elect to defer payment of their HECS liability. Loans by the Commonwealth Government to students are classified as advances. Repayments of these loans through the tax system are classified as negative advances and netted out.

Benefits to household in goods and services

Government expenses on goods and services produced by market producers that are provided directly to households as social transfers in kind.

Capital grant expenses

Unrequited payments (see definition below) intended to finance the acquisition of non-financial assets by the recipient or to compensate for damage or destruction of capital assets, or increase the financial capital of the recipient.

Current monetary transfers to households

Monetary transfers by government to households who are not required to provide any significant amount of goods and services in return, e.g. old age pensions, unemployment benefits and youth allowances.

Expenditure on non-financial assets

Net expenditure on new and second-hand fixed assets, land and intangible assets excluding capitalised interest. Fixed assets are durable goods intended to be employed in the production process for longer than a year.

Current grant expenses

Unrequited payments (see definition below) intended to finance the current operations of other government or non-government bodies.

Grants and subsidies received

Amounts received from voluntary transfers by government and other entities.

Gross Domestic Product

Total market value of goods and services produced in Australia within a given (GDP) period after deducting the cost of goods used up in the process of production, but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital (depreciation).

Higher education contribution

The HECS scheme requires students to pay a contribution towards the cost of scheme (HECS) their higher education. The payments may be made direct to the institution attended (at a 25% discount) at the time the education course is undertaken, or students may enter a loan agreement with the Commonwealth Government to discharge their obligation to pay the contribution, the loan to be repaid at a later date through the taxation system. The proceeds of the loan are not paid to the students, but are paid to the institution on the student’s behalf from a trust fund.

In the statistics the loan is recorded as an advance from the Commonwealth Government to the students, and the amount received by the institutions out of the trust fund is treated as a general government service charge paid by the student and is offset against government final consumption expenditure.

Inter-governmental grants

Grants from the Commonwealth to State Governments and universities.

Private final consumption expenditure

Outlays by the household sector on the consumption of educational services. These include expenditure on salaries paid to non-government school teachers. HECS payments (both up front and deferred) by students are also part of private final consumption expenditure.

Private gross fixed capital

Net expenditure on fixed assets, e.g. new private school buildings, by the private expenditure sector.

Sales of goods and services

Revenue from the direct provision of goods and services by general government and public corporations.

Superannuation expense

In statistical terms, superannuation expense is a component of 'compensation of employees'. Superannuation expense in a period represents the increase in superannuation liability due to services provided by employees in that period.

Unrequited payments

Payments made for which nothing is received directly in return.