1291.0 - A Guide to Major ABS Classifications, 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/09/1998   
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Purpose of the classification

The GPC, which closely follows the United Nations ‘Classification of the Functions of Government’ (COFOG), classifies selected government transactions in terms of the purposes for which they are made. In conjunction with the ETF, the GPC provides information on the socio-economic effects of government transactions. It is especially useful in establishing the trends in government outlays on particular purposes over time. The main transactions which are classified by the GPC are current expenses, capital transfers, capital formation and government lending for policy purposes.

Structure of the classification

The GPC has a three level structure consisting of Major Groups, Groups and Subgroups. The major groups reflect the broad objectives of government and the Groups and Subgroups detail the means by which these broad objectives are achieved. Purposes served by governments can be viewed as falling under the following broad headings:

      • General government services;
      • Community and social services;
      • Economic services; and
      • Other purposes.

Future developments

The ABS will implement a number of changes in GFS. These changes are described in Information Paper: Developments in Government Finance Statistics, 1997 (Cat. no. 5516.0). The most significant changes relate to the adoption of an accrual accounting basis and the extension of scope to include public financial enterprises. These changes will require a revised classification framework.

COFOG is also being revised. Once it has been finalised, the ABS will review and revise its GPC if necessary.

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