Insights Into Government Finance Statistics, Annual, 2021-22

Statistics about finances of the general government and public corporation sectors for the various levels of government in Australia


Economic overview

The Australian economy recovered in 2021-22, as business and employment conditions improved following two years heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021-22 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 3.7%, the largest rise in annual GDP since 2011-12 (a).

Improved economic activity contributed to strong growth in total taxation revenue of 15.2% in 2021-22. Commonwealth company income tax and personal income tax significantly increased compared to the previous financial year. The strong residential property market drove significant increases in state and territory stamp duties on conveyances revenue for the second year in a row.

The end of the 2020-21 financial year saw the cessation of the government subsidies such as JobKeeper and Boosting Cash Flow for Employers. Governments shifted the focus of their support to households and businesses affected by the third wave lockdowns.

State and territory governments provided subsidies direct to businesses through the Commonwealth-State Joint Business Support Programs. Across state and territories, the size of support packages were largest in New South Wales, Victoria, and ACT, and targeted towards industries and regions impacted by lockdowns. To contrast, the bulk of Commonwealth government support were for households, through COVID-19 Disaster Payments.

Total general government health expense rose 12.1% in 2021-22, the highest annual growth rate over the past decade. During 2021-22, governments purchased and administered large quantities of COVID-19 vaccines and rapid antigen tests. Other healthcare spending continued to increase in the salaries and wages of frontline staff, COVID-19 testing, and personal protective equipment. Spending was particularly strong in Victoria and New South Wales.

Severe flooding and natural disasters impacted large regions of Australia (b). Commonwealth and state government disaster recovery payments to businesses and households rose compared to 2020‑21.

  1. using the GDP annual chain volume measures as published in Table 36 in the December quarter 2022 issue in Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product
  2. Australian disasters, Disaster Assist, Department of Home Affairs, July 2022


Government fiscal position

Net operating balance

All levels of general government net operating balance was -$34.6b in 2021-22, up $110.9b on 2020-21. This is the largest recovery to the net operating balance in the GFS time series.

The main contributors were:

  • 15.2% rise in taxation revenue (up $89.9b)
  • 54.0% fall in subsidy expenses (down $58.1b).

Taxation revenue

Commonwealth taxation revenue

The main contributors to the 14.5% rise in the Commonwealth taxation revenue in 2021-22 were:

  • 28.0% rise in company tax (up $28.0b)
  • 12.6% rise in personal income tax (up $27.0b)
  • 3.1% rise in goods and services tax (GST) (up $2.3b). 

State and local government taxation revenue

The main contributors to the rise in state and local taxation revenue in 2021-22 were:

  • 48.8% rise in stamp duties on conveyances (up $11.7b)
  • 14.8% rise in payroll taxes (up $3.6b)
  • 3.8% rise in gambling taxes (up $0.3b).


All Australia subsidies on products and production

In 2021-22 subsidy expenses:

  • fell 54.0% (down $58.1b) for all Australia driven by the conclusion and reduction of Commonwealth programs JobKeeper and Boosting Cash Flow For Employers
  • rose 123.2% (up $16.6b) for state and territories due to the commencement of the joint Commonwealth-State Business Support Programs.

General government debt

For further information on debt statistics in Government Finance Statistics:

All Australia general government net debt (L2) (c) was $779.4b or 33.8% of GDP in 2021-22.

  1. L2 is comparable to government reporting of net debt under Australian accounting standards.
  2. using the GDP annual, current prices series as published in Table 36 in the December quarter 2022 issue in Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product

While all Australia net debt (L2) fell from the record 2020-21 levels (down $10.3b), 2021-22 was the second highest level of net debt recorded in the GFS time series.

The main contributors were:

  • 8.6% fall in National net debt (down $57.5b)
  • 34.6% rise in total state net debt (up $49.5b).

Matrix of general government net debt and other liabilities

A matrix-style presentation enables users to analyse different measures of debt and other liabilities.

  • L1 through L3 focus on governments’ liquidity
  • L4 through L6 focus on governments’ longer term budget sustainability
General government net debt and other liabilities by sector as at 30 June 2022 (e)
 National general government (f)Total State general governmentTotal Local general governmentAll Australia general government
 Debt securities752,0324,952-14,442742,543
 plus Loans-64,734210,5555,897151,718
Equals L1687,299215,507-8,545894,261
 plus SDRs18,1520018,152
 plus Currency and deposits-95,466-23,080-14,491-133,037
Equals L2 (g)609,984192,427-23,036779,375
 plus Other accounts payable48,29874,7226,552129,565
Equals L3658,282267,149-16,484908,940
 plus Insurance and superannuation329,607123,8960453,503
Equals L4 (h)987,889391,044-16,4841,362,443
 plus Financial derivatives-15,206-1,804-88-17,099
Equals L5 (i)972,683389,240-16,5721,345,344
 plus Equities-221,728-382,809-8,397-612,934
Equals L6 (j)750,9556,431-24,969732,410
  1. A positive value in this matrix indicates that the relevant stock of liabilities is greater than its corresponding stock of financial assets (an indebted position). A negative value indicates the opposite.
  2. National includes both the Commonwealth and Control not further defined (n.f.d.) levels of government. The control n.f.d. sector contains units where jurisdiction is shared between two or more governments, or classification of a unit to a jurisdiction is otherwise unclear. The main types of units currently falling into this category are the public universities.
  3. L2 is comparable to government reporting of net debt under Australian Accounting Standards.
  4. L4 is comparable to the IMF GFSM 2014 concept of headline net public sector debt.
  5. L5 is comparable to the Australian AGFS15 concept of headline net public sector debt.
  6. L6 includes other liabilities and is not included in headline measures of net public sector debt.

Key functions of government


The main contributors to the 6.6% rise in total education expenses in 2021-22 were:

  • 9.7% rise in school education (up $5.8b)
  • 5.7% rise in all other education (up $1.0b)
  • 2.2% rise in tertiary education (up $0.9b).

Tertiary education

Key fiscal measures of the tertiary education sector continued to be impacted by the decrease in international students since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 5.8% fall in revenue (down $1.1b)
  • 2.2% rise in expenses (up $0.9b)
  • 0.9% fall in gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) (down less than $0.1b).


The main contributors to the 12.1% rise in total health expenses in 2021-22 were:

  • 59.0% rise in public health services (up $5.5b)
  • 7.4% rise in hospital services (up $4.2b)
  • 7.5% rise in community health services (up $3.7b).

Social protection

The main contributors to the 1.2% rise in total social protection expenses in 2021-22 were:

  • 127.0% rise in social exclusion and social protection not elsewhere classified (up $16.9b)

  • 8.7% rise in sickness and disability support payments (up $4.9b)

  • 1.9% fall in old age support payments (down $1.7b)

  • 6.6% fall in family and children support payments (down $3.3b)

  • 46.5% fall in unemployment support payments (down $13.9b).

Economic affairs

The main contributors to the 50.5% fall in total economic affairs expenses in 2021-22 were:

  • 70.1% fall in general economic, commercial, and labour affairs (down $61.4b)
  • 11.4% rise in fuel and energy (up $1.3b)
  • 48.3% rise in communication (up $0.5b).


The main contributors to the 9.3% rise in total Defence expenses in 2021-22 were:

  • 14.0% rise in non-employee expenses (up $2.6b)
  • 464.0% rise in current & capital transfer expenses (up $0.9b)
  • 3.3% rise in employee expenses (up $0.5b).


The main contributors to the 6.4% rise in total transport expenses in 2021-22 were:

  • 5.5% rise in road transport (up $1.1b)
  • 7.9% rise in railway transport (up $0.7b)
  • 5.2% fall in air transport (down $0.1b).

Public investment

Total public sector investment in new assets

The main contributors to the 10.6% rise in total public sector investment in new assets (k) in 2021-22 were:

  • 11.7% rise in state and local (up $6.7b)
  • 8.8% rise in public non-financial corporations (up $2.0b)
  • 11.7% rise in Commonwealth (up $1.7b)
  • 5.4% fall in universities (down $0.1b).
  1. Includes acquisitions of new non-financial fixed produced assets. Second-hand asset acquisitions and sales between sectors are excluded from this measure.
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