5501.6 - Government Finance Statistics, Tasmania, 1998-99  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/05/2000   
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  • Tasmanian Government Finance - What does your council do with your rates? (Media Release)


May 31, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Tasmanian Government Finance - What does your council do with your rates?

Ever wondered what your council spent your rates on? How else does it raise revenue? What is your council worth? How does it compare to other councils? How does local government compare to State Government? The answers to these and other questions can be found in the new accrual accounting statistics on Tasmanian government finances released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The net worth of Tasmanian councils at 30 June 1999 was $3,661 million, averaging $7,786 per head of estimated resident population.

The picture is quite different between councils. Flinders averaged a net worth of $43,533 per head, by far the highest, while the lowest was Derwent Valley, $2,409. (The ABS urges care in interpreting the figures, as the comparisons can be dramatically affected by factors such as the relative needs for infrastructure, particularly roads, and the population base of each council.)

Operating results for the year varied considerably between councils. Overall, councils returned a small surplus of $1.1 million.

The highest surplus was achieved by Launceston, $7.2 million, while Hobart returned the largest loss at $9.3 million. The difference largely reflects Launceston's higher capital grants revenue ($7.2 million compared to Hobart's $0.5 million) and lower depreciation expense ($14.8 million compared to Hobart's $21.2 million). However, relativities can also change from year to year, and depend on each council's priorities.

The Tasmanian State Government finances showed a loss of $41 million for 1998-99. Revenues amounted to $3,239 million, while expenses were $3,280 million. Net worth at the end of the 1998-99 financial year was estimated at $5,155 million.

While the State Government's asset base was high, $13,213 million, so too were liabilities, $8,058 million. Debt made up 57% of the liabilities, and unfunded superannuation and other employee liabilities accounted for another 28.7 per cent.

State Government net worth equates to 1.6 times the 1998-99 revenue. By comparison, local government net worth equates to 8.6 times revenue, and incorporates low debt levels.

Further details can be found in Government Finance Statistics, Tasmania (cat. no. 5501.6) available from ABS bookshops.If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication, contact the ABS bookshop in your capital city.