5.4. Each Australian government’s treasury (or Department of Finance), as part of the government’s budget formulation process, produces financial information which reflects the expectations of the government in regard to public sector flows and stocks for the forthcoming or budget year. This information covers general government and the public non-financial corporations of the national and state/territory levels of government. Forward estimates are not compiled for public financial corporations.
5.5. The ABS compiles and releases its GFS forward estimates (which are the first ABS-released estimates for any given year) from these data. Because these statistics are based on the expected rather than actual budget outcomes, they can be subject to large revisions (see chapter 6). The forward estimates published by the ABS in its Government Finance Estimates publications are based on information provided by the various jurisdictions, presented within the GFS framework. The advice provided by the ABS with regard to jurisdictions' preparation of forward estimates is limited to advice on the application of the GFS framework to the estimates.
5.6. At the same time as treasuries compile budget information for the forward year, they also complete accounts for the year just past. These accounts record flows which have actually occurred in the previous fiscal year and stocks at the end of that year. However, given the budget time frame, the accounts are usually not final or audited at the stage they are used by ABS. Nonetheless, they fulfil their purpose of providing preliminary data against which budgetary measures may be gauged.
5.7. The ABS compiles and publishes preliminary GFS estimates from this source. These estimates are used to replace the forward estimates for the year just past. Preliminary estimates are thus closer to the final statistics but, because they are not final audited data, they are still subject to revision (usually relatively small).
5.8. These statistics are the final data for a given year and are compiled from audited data sources. Final data are only rarely revised to any large degree,the usual exception being where the conceptual treatment of items is changed.
5.9. Quarterly statistics are primarily compiled to provide data about general government and public non-financial corporations for inclusion in the quarterly national accounts. The quarterly statistics are not published in their own right (only broad aggregates are published in the quarterly national accounts); however, the ABS is currently working on introducing a quarterly GFS publication.
SPECIALISED TOPIC OUTPUT
5.10. Specialised topic output refers to statistics presented in single-topic publications. At the present time there are two specialised-topic GFS publications, which relates to taxation revenue and education. Information formerly published in a special publication relating to public sector financial assets and liabilities is now published as part of balance sheet data in the main GFS publications.
5.11. The ABS GFS system’s outputs (including specialised output) are generally stored as annual time series. Some GFS data are available back to 1961–62. However, due to different compilation and data sources, cash flow data from 1998–99 onwards are not directly comparable with earlier cash data. Data on an accrual basis are only available from 1998–99. While some jurisdictions have released AAS31 statements on an accrual basis for the period prior to 1998–99, it has not been possible to convert these to GFS data of an acceptable quality.
5.12. The main GFS aggregates (on a national accounts basis) are available as a quarterly time series back to 1959-60.