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KEY GOVERNMENT FINANCE STATISTICS
CASH OPERATING RESULTS
The cash operating result for all levels of government in 2014-15 was a deficit of -$35,593m for the general government sector and a deficit of -$44,294m for the total public sector.
The following table presents the 2014-15 cash operating surplus/deficit results by sector for each jurisdiction.
BALANCE SHEET RESULTS
GFS net worth reflects the contribution of governments to the wealth of Australia. The consolidated net worth as at 30 June 2015 for all levels of government was $842,110m.
The following table presents 30 June 2015 balance sheet aggregates by sector for the various levels of government.
GOVERNMENT FINANCE STATISTICS STANDARDS
GFS enables policy makers and users to analyse the financial operations and financial position of the public sector by the level of government, institutional sector or set of transactions. The system of GFS is based on international standards set out in the System of National Accounts 1993 (1993 SNA) and the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM). The System of National Accounts has been updated and the System of National Accounts, 2008 (2008 SNA) was endorsed by the United Nations Statistical Commission in February 2009. The ABS compilation of GFS adopts the updated 2008 SNA treatment in two cases. The first is that Defence Weapons Platforms are treated as gross fixed capital formation. The second is in the treatment of Special Drawing Rights. These changes have been updated in the Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2005 (cat. no. 5514.0). The ABS GFS Manual has also been updated to include the treatment of emissions schemes in ABS GFS data.
The IMF has published a revised Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM 2014), and the Australian system has been updated to reflect the new international standards. These changes are presented in the Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2015 (cat. no. 5514.0), and will be implemented for data reported for periods from 1 July 2017 onwards.
TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA DIVIDENDS
During September quarter 2015, the Treasurer determined that a sum of $1.9 billion in Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) earnings available for distribution from 2014-15 was payable as a dividend to the Commonwealth. RBA dividends are recorded in GFS and the National Accounts in the period that the Treasurer makes the determination. This timing is different to the accounting standards used for the Commonwealth Financial Statements where the RBA dividend is recorded in the period that the dividend is earned.
TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO VISA APPLICATION CHARGES
In December 2015, the Commonwealth Government released the 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook which included a reclassification of visa application charges (VAC). These charges are now treated as taxation revenue, rather than sales of goods and services, to reflect a sustained change in the nature of this revenue item. This reclassification has been made through the GFS publication time series to ensure comparability over time, with no impact on total GFS revenue or the GFS net operating balance.
TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO THE ACT GOVERNMENT ASBESTOS REMOVAL SCHEME
Since March quarter 2015, the ACT Government has undertaken a range of activities to address the health risks associated with properties affected by asbestos. In macroeconomic statistics, transactions for the initial purchase of the properties by the ACT Government from householders have been recorded as expenditure on non-financial assets. These transactions do not contribute to the net operating balance on the operating statement, and are shown under net acquisition of non-financial assets. This approach is based on the principle that observed prices are treated as a market price in most circumstances.
The ACT Treasury has applied a different interpretation for the purposes of preparing its financial statements. Under the accounting standards used by ACT Treasury, homeowner acquisition transactions may include a transfer component, which would be appropriately recognised as an expense. The ABS acknowledges that a genuine divergence exists for these transactions between GFS and the ACT Government’s consolidated financial statements and that the difference between the sets of statements has arisen through a change in treatment by the ABS.
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents government finance statistics on an accrual accounting basis for each jurisdiction for general government, public non-financial corporations, the non-financial public sector, public financial corporations and the total public sector for all levels of government, commonwealth government, state government, state and local government, local government and multi-jurisdictional as follows:
Time series of these data are available on the ABS website for the periods 2005-06 to 2014-15.
Users interested in quarterly GFS data for the current financial year should refer to Government Finance Statistics, Australia, Quarterly (cat. no. 5519.0.55.001).
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