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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY
For local government, the main data sources are annual statements of accounts completed by local authorities.
For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.
The term 'Government Finance Statistics' refers to statistics that measure the financial activities of governments and reflect the impact of those activities on other sectors of the economy. The Australian system of Government Finance Statistics (GFS), is designed to provide statistical information on public sector entities in Australia classified in a uniform and systematic way. GFS education expenditure statistics are a subset of GFS.
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 (SNA93) and the International Monetary Fund's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001).
The system of GFS provides details of revenues, expenses, cash flows and assets and liabilities of the Australian public sector and comprises units which are owned and/or controlled by the Commonwealth, state and local governments.
This release presents GFS operating expenses on education on an accrual accounting basis for each jurisdiction for the general government sector.
Annual expenditure on education statistics are released within 10 months of the end of the financial year.
The main influence on the accuracy of GFS data are non-sampling error. Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. The most significant of these errors are misreporting of data, and processing errors. Every effort is made to minimise error by working closely with data providers, training of processing staff and efficient data processing procedures.
Revisions are made to the annual expenditure on education data as required as a result of new and updated information available from providers.
In 1998-99, the ABS adopted an accrual basis of recording for its GFS. Prior to this the ABS GFS was cash based. In addition to the information published, some GFS data are available back to 1961-62. However, due to the different compilation and data sources, cash flow data from 1998-99 onwards are not directly comparable with earlier cash data. The ABS has not established a quantitative measure of this break in series because the existing data sources do not permit this. Data on a pure accruals basis are only available from 1998-99.
In 1991, the Commonwealth and state Governments resolved to implement a uniform presentation framework (UPF) in their budget documents to introduce uniformity into the presentation of GFS. Variations between ABS statistics and those presented by the jurisdictions can exist because the ABS may:
The statistics in this release have been compiled using standard definitions, classifications and treatment of government financial transactions to facilitate comparisons between levels of government and between states within a level of government. However, the statistics also reflect real differences between the administrative and accounting arrangements of the various jurisdictions and these differences need to be taken into account when making interstate comparisons.
To compile statistics about the financial activities of a particular level of government, or any other grouping of public sector units, transactions and debtor/creditor relationships between units within the chosen grouping (sector or subsector) have to be matched and eliminated to avoid double counting. The process of matching and eliminating these items within the chosen group is known as 'consolidation'.
Australian Accounting Standard 31 (AAS31) 'Financial Reporting by Governments' has been adopted by all Australian governments in the preparation of their financial statements. Accounting reports prepared under AAS31 and statistical reports prepared on a GFS basis serve different purposes and are aimed at different sets of users. Therefore, differences between GFS and AAS31 can be expected.
Australian Accounting Standard AAS 1049 'Whole of Government and General Government Sector Financial Reporting' will be adopted by all Australian governments in the preparation of their financial statements from 1 January 2009, with early adoption permitted. This standard contains measures similar to GFS; however, there are also differences in treatments of some transactions.
The publication Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia (cat. no. 5518.0.55.001) contains detailed Explanatory Notes and Glossary that provide information on the data sources, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics
Detailed information on the concepts, sources and methods used in compiling GFS can be found in Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Method (cat. no. 5514.0.55.001) electronic version or (cat. no. 5514.0) PDF version.
If the information you require is not available from the published data then the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, email <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Mark Patton on Canberra (02) 6252 7926, email <email@example.com>.
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