Statistical revisions are carried out regularly in the Australian System of National Accounts to reflect the most current information and estimation methods, however revisions are normally restricted to reflect a three year period. Periodically the ABS will revise a longer annual time series, and this is referred to as a “historical revision". These longer time series revisions focus on improving data quality (e.g. incorporating new data sources or cyclical data collections such as the Census); adopting new classifications; and improving international comparability.
In 2021, the Australian System of National Accounts incorporated five historical revision improvements:
- Childcare source and reclassification – data for household and government expenditure on formal childcare is now sourced from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. In addition, government payments for childcare assistance are now consistently treated as social transfers in kind for all government support programs from 1994 onwards, except for the Childcare Tax Rebate (2004-2007) which remains a non-payable tax offset.
- Visa application charges – from 2015-16 onwards, revenue obtained from visa application charges is now treated as tax revenue, rather than the sale of a service. This change brings the treatment of visa application charges in the National Accounts, Balance of Payments, and Trade in Goods and Services statistics into alignment with Government Finance Statistics, as described in the June 2019 Government Finance Statistics publication.
- Travel services debits and credits – new data sources for estimating travel service credits and debits are incorporated into the National Accounts, Balance of Payments, and Trade in Goods and Services statistics.
- Economic and Financial Statistics collection – new data sourced from APRA for the Financial and Insurance Services industries are introduced into the National Accounts. This change was previously advised in November 2019 as part of the information paper Implementing the new economic and financial statistics collection in ABS economic outputs.
- Hours worked – the data source for hours worked has changed from the Labour Force Survey to Labour Accounts from 1994-95 onwards, impacting productivity estimates. Labour Accounts hours worked estimates are consistent in concept, definition and scope with the Australian System of National Accounts.
These historical revisions will also appear in the following upcoming economic releases:
- Estimates of Industry Level KLEMS Multifactor Productivity – release date 15 November 2021
- Australian National Accounts: State Accounts – release date 19 November 2021
- Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia – release date 30 November 2021
- Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product – release date 1 December 2021
- Estimates of Industry Multifactor Productivity – release date 13 December 2021
- Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth – release date 16 December 2021