5519.0.55.001 - Government Finance Statistics, Australia, Mar 2020 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/06/2020   
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Key figures: all levels of general government, Government Finance Statistics (GFS)

In the March quarter 2020:

  • taxation revenue decreased 5.4% to $137,897m
  • expenses exceeded revenue resulting in a net operating balance of -$7,296m
  • the GFS net lending(+)/borrowing(-) position was -$14,815m.

Graph 1: All levels of general government, GFS revenue and expenses




Graph 2: All levels of general government, net operating balance, net lending/borrowing




Table 1: GFS key figures: all levels of government, original

Dec Qtr
2019
Mar Qtr
2020
Dec Qtr 2019 to
Mar Qtr 2020
$m
$m
% change

Current Prices
Taxation revenue
General government
145 787
137 897
-5.4
Total revenue
General government
178 019
169 477
-4.8
Public non-financial corporations
22 103
22 488
1.7
Total expenses
General government
176 254
176 773
0.3
Public non-financial corporations
24 826
24 436
-1.6
GFS Net operating balance
General government
1 765
-7 296
. .
Public non-financial corporations
-2 722
-1 949
. .
GFS Net lending(+)/borrowing(-)
General government
-8 619
-14 815
. .
Public non-financial corporations
-4 101
-5 057
. .

. . not applicable


Quarterly national accounts public sector measures - key figures

The table below includes the key public sector aggregates for the March quarter 2020 which will be included in the Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0). The key figures shown include Government Final Consumption Expenditure for total general government and Gross Fixed Capital Formation for total general government and total public corporations, seasonally adjusted in current prices and chain volume terms.

In seasonally adjusted chain volume terms compared with the previous quarter:
  • general government final consumption expenditure increased by $1,654m or 1.8%, and is expected to contribute 0.3 percentage points to growth in the March quarter 2020 volume measure of GDP
  • general government gross fixed capital formation decreased by $592m or -3.1%
  • public corporations gross fixed capital formation increased by $408m or 7.5%
  • public gross fixed capital formation decreased by $184m or -0.7%, which will not detract significantly from growth in the March quarter 2020 volume measure of GDP.


Graph 3: National accounts public sector key measures, seasonally adjusted chain volume




Table 2: Quarterly national accounts public sector measures - key figures, seasonally adjusted


Jun Qtr
2019
Sep Qtr
2019
Dec Qtr
2019
Mar Qtr
2020
Dec Qtr 2019
to Mar Qtr 2020
$m
$m
$m
$m
% change

Current Prices
General government final consumption expenditure (a)
National - defence
8 388
8 789
8 643
8 775
1.5
National - non-defence
31 719
32 480
33 485
33 976
1.5
Total national
40 107
41 269
42 128
42 751
1.5
State and local
55 115
55 466
55 880
57 186
2.3
Total general government final consumption expenditure
95 222
96 735
98 008
99 937
2.0
Public gross fixed capital formation
General government
National - defence
2 926
2 991
3 103
2 831
-8.8
National - non-defence
2 275
2 350
2 464
2 537
3.0
Total national
5 202
5 342
5 568
5 369
-3.6
State and local
14 184
14 106
14 544
14 085
-3.2
Total general government
19 386
19 447
20 111
19 454
-3.3
Public corporations
Commonwealth
2 232
2 202
2 022
1 885
-6.8
State and local
3 572
3 967
3 656
4 243
16.0
Total public corporations
5 804
6 169
5 679
6 128
7.9
Total public gross fixed capital formation
25 190
25 616
25 790
25 582
-0.8
Memorandum item
Net purchases of second-hand assets by public sector
942
546
787
604
np

Chain Volume (b)
General government final consumption expenditure (a)
National - defence
8 099
8 431
8 261
8 352
1.1
National - non-defence
31 183
31 833
32 715
33 281
1.7
Total national
39 283
40 264
40 977
41 633
1.6
State and local
53 291
53 367
53 494
54 492
1.9
Total general government final consumption expenditure
92 574
93 630
94 471
96 125
1.8
Public gross fixed capital formation
General government
National - defence
2 701
2 715
2 791
2 526
-9.5
National - non-defence
2 258
2 342
2 443
2 526
3.4
Total national
4 959
5 057
5 233
5 051
-3.5
State and local
13 649
13 544
13 930
13 521
-2.9
Total general government
18 609
18 601
19 164
18 572
-3.1
Public corporations
Commonwealth
2 169
2 130
1 956
1 825
-6.7
State and local
3 416
3 779
3 481
4 020
15.5
Total public corporations
5 585
5 909
5 437
5 845
7.5
Total public gross fixed capital formation
24 193
24 510
24 601
24 417
-0.7
Memorandum item
Net purchases of second-hand assets by public sector
904
524
754
582
np

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) See paragraph 35 of the Explanatory Notes for the relationship between general government final consumption expenditure and GFS aggregates.
(b) Reference year for chain volume measures is 2017-18.


Quarters presented in this release

This release presents quarterly government finance statistics on an accrual accounting basis. All tables presented are for the general government sector, with the exception of Table 2 which presents data for the public non-financial corporations sector.

Detailed quarterly GFS are released for the current financial year only, other than in the September quarter, when the quarters of the previous financial year are presented. Users requiring data for earlier periods should consult the annual publication Government Finance Statistics, Australia (cat. no. 5512.0). The latest issue (2018-19) was released on 28 April 2020.

Government Finance Statistics are part of the broader suite of macroeconomic accounts produced by the ABS. They share their basic concepts with the National Accounts and Balance of Payments. The conceptual framework is agreed internationally and published by the International Monetary Fund. Macroeconomic statistics are compiled to enable macroeconomic analysis and the standards may differ from accounting standards in some regards.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The ABS is currently monitoring for potential impacts from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Government Finance statistics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) commenced daily situation reports of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on 21 January 2020 and identified it as an international health emergency on 30 January. Commencing from March 12, the Australian Government have announced a series of temporary and targeted economic plans to keep Australians in jobs, keep businesses in business and support households and the Australian economy to deal with the economic and health challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus. These economic plans are expected to have a significant impact on public sector statistical aggregates. A number of these economic plans came into effect from mid-March with the majority of this support to be in effect during the June 2020 quarter.

COVID-19 saw a minor impact on data collection activities for the March 2020 quarter. Quality assurance undertaken by the ABS has confirmed that these disruptions did not affect the quality of GFS estimates. March 2020 quarter impacts driven by the COVID-19 economic plans implemented during the quarter were observed in the Income and Outlay, Taxation and Public Consumption statistical aggregates.

The following COVID-19 economic stimulus programs are being recorded on a cash basis in ABS macroeconomic outputs in March quarter 2020:
JobKeeper;
Boosting cash flow for employers;
The first $750 of the Coronavirus economic support payment; and
Apprentices and trainees support payment.


Bushfire Activities

Recent bushfires around Australia resulted in minor disruption to data collection activities during March quarter 2020. Quality assurance undertaken by the ABS has confirmed that these disruptions did not affect the quality of GFS estimates. As expected, the impacts of bushfire relief and recovery activities were observed in the March quarter, primarily through public consumption statistical aggregates, with very minor impacts in the Income and Outlay and Taxation statistical aggregates.


Economic Measurement

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is publishing a series of notes which describe the economic measurement of selected issues during COVID-19 in the Economic Accounts, including Government Finance Statistics, National Accounts and Balance of Payments and International Investment Position. Topics such as classifying JobKeeper payments, boosting cash flow for employers, and payroll tax changes will be released through a rolling agenda, and can be accessed through the paper Economic measurement during COVID-19: Selected issues in the Economic Accounts. More information relating to measuring natural disasters in the Australian economy can be found in the following ABS Chief Economist Series paper: Measuring natural disasters in the Australian economy Further ABS data measuring the impact of COVID-19 in Australia can be found via abs.gov.au/covid19.


Accounting Standard Changes

The following Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) standard changes have been introduced in government financial reporting for periods from 1 July 2019 onwards, leading to increased divergence in certain circumstances between economic statistics publications and government financial reporting:
  • Leases (AASB 16): The standard removes the distinction between operating and finance leases on the lessee side of financial reporting. The conceptual distinction between operating and finance leases still remains in economic statistics. GFS outputs are consistent with the historical treatment.
  • Revenue recognition (AASB 15 & 1058): The standard requires revenue to be recognised when performance obligations are met in certain circumstances. In GFS the change primarily affects grant revenue received by state and territory governments from the Commonwealth. Recognition of grant revenue in GFS remains consistent with the historical treatment which is based on when jurisdictions have access to the funding as reported by the Commonwealth.
  • Service Concession Arrangements (AASB 1059): The standard impacts ownership of non-financial assets. It applies a control concept to determine non-financial asset ownership. Non-financial asset ownership in GFS is determined based off a risk-reward concept consistent with the historical treatment which has been maintained in economic statistics.


Transactions related to visa application charges

In December 2015, the Commonwealth Government released the 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) which included a reclassification of visa application charges (VAC). In MYEFO these charges are now treated as taxation revenue rather than sales of goods and services. This reclassification has been applied to the Government Finance Statistics (GFS), with no impact on total GFS revenue or the GFS net operating balance. The National Accounts statistics will maintain coherence with previously published data and classify this transaction as sales of goods and services. These treatments will remain in place until a review of the treatment of VAC across macroeconomic statistics has been completed.


Forthcoming issues

The release of GFS quarterly data is usually coordinated to be the day before the respective issue of Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0). The scheduled release dates for the next two issues are:

Issue5519.0.55.0015206.0
June 2020 1 September 20202 September 2020
September 20201 December 20202 December 2020


New ABS website

The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider if this will affect the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au


Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, email <client.services@abs.gov.au> or email <public.finance@abs.gov.au>. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.