Australian System of National Accounts methodology

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Reference period
2018-19 financial year

Explanatory notes


This publication contains detailed national accounts estimates which are provided for gross domestic product (GDP) and its components, the national income account, the national capital account, the national financial account and the national balance sheet. Income, capital and financial accounts and a balance sheet are provided for each sector of the economy. Also provided is a range of information classified by industry, details of capital formation (including capital stocks) and productivity statistics. For information about the conceptual framework of the national accounts and about the structure of the Australian system of national accounts, see the section The Australian National Accounts. For brief definitions and description of items in the national accounts, see Glossary.

Concepts, sources and methods

Australia's national accounts statistics are compiled in accordance with international standards contained in the System of National Accounts, 2008 (SNA08). Australia's application of these SNA standards is described in Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0). The current version of this product reflects the SNA08 concepts and was released in March 2016. This publication outlines major concepts and definitions, describes sources of data and methods used to derive annual and quarterly estimates for major aggregates at current prices and in chain volume terms, and discusses the accuracy and reliability of the national accounts. In addition, it includes documentation on input-output tables, financial accounts, capital stock, productivity measures, balance sheets and state accounts.

National estimates are based on the concepts and conventions embodied in SNA08. In the main, the national concepts are applicable to state accounts, but there are a number of conceptual and measurement issues that do not apply. Information on some of the more important conceptual, methodological and data issues relating to annual and quarterly estimates by state is provided in Chapter 21 of the Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GDP can be derived by three broad approaches: the income approach (I), the expenditure approach (E) and the production approach (P). A description of each approach is provided in the following paragraphs. While each measure should, conceptually, deliver the same estimate of GDP, if the three measures are compiled independently using different data sources then different estimates of GDP result. Where estimates have been derived from balanced supply-use tables, annual estimates using the I, E and P approaches are identical.

Prior to 1994-95 the estimates using each approach are based on independent sources, and there are usually differences between the I, E and P estimates. Nevertheless, for these periods, a single estimate of GDP has been compiled. In chain volume terms, GDP is derived by averaging the chain volume estimates obtained from each of the three independent approaches. The current price estimate of GDP is obtained by inflating the average chain volume estimate by the implicit price deflator derived from the expenditure-based estimates.

As a result of the above methods:

  • There is no statistical discrepancy for annual estimates from 1994-95 up to the year prior to the latest complete financial year, in either current price or volume terms
  • For years prior to 1994-95, and the latest year, statistical discrepancies exist between estimates based on the I, E and P approaches and the single estimate of GDP, in both current prices and volume terms. These discrepancies are shown in the relevant tables.

Income approach (I)

GDP using the income approach is derived as the sum of compensation of employees, gross operating surplus, gross mixed income and taxes less subsidies on production and imports.

Expenditure approach (E)

GDP using the expenditure approach is derived as the sum of all final expenditures, changes in inventories and exports of goods and services less imports of goods and services. Volume estimates are derived for each of the components as well as for their sum.

Production approach (P)

GDP using the production approach is derived as the sum of gross value added for each industry, at basic prices, plus taxes less subsidies on products. Basic values represent the amounts received by producers, including the value of any subsidies on products, but before any taxes on products. The difference between the sum over all industries of gross value added at basic prices, and GDP at market (or purchasers) prices, is the value of taxes less subsidies on products.

Financial intermediation services

In the national accounts, estimates are made for the output of banks and similar institutions who produce services through the provision of deposit and loan services. Often there is no single explicit charge for these services and instead the relevant financial institutions set interest rates such that a service margin can be earned. Thus, interest rates on loans are higher than would otherwise be the case if there were no service element provided and interest rates on deposits are lower than would otherwise be the case.

In order to appropriately account for this service component the output produced by these financial institutions is shown as being consumed by all sectors (households, corporations, NPISH and general government). In the sector income accounts the effect of allocating the output to consuming sectors is that part of the interest flow is deemed a payment for a service and the balance is shown as interest.

In interpreting the income accounts it is therefore necessary to regard the interest flow series as being a flow without a service element - i.e. a pure interest flow. In the case of loans the interest flow that is shown will be less than the observed interest payment made to the financial institution. In the case of deposits the interest flow that is shown will be greater than the observed interest payment made by the financial institution. For further information users should consult Chapter 9 of the Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).

Industry classification

The industry statistics in this publication are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).

Reliability and future revisions

National accounts estimates are prepared from a wide range of statistical sources, some of which are available quickly and some with a delay of several years. Some are closely related to the desired national accounting basis, but others are not completely satisfactory in various respects, including coverage, concepts and timing. Most of the basic data derive from the general system of statistical surveys or as a by-product of government administrative processes. The frequency, detail and timeliness of these data sources are constrained by many factors, including the other purposes which they must serve. Any increase in timeliness of data is usually at the expense of detail, reliability or additional resources. Therefore, estimates for recent years may be subject to considerable revision as firmer data become available.

Other national accounts statistical publications

This publication is part of a regular sequence of national accounts publications. The key national accounts publication is the quarterly national accounts released as Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0) every three months approximately two months after the end of the reference period. The first estimates of national accounts for a particular financial year are released in the June quarter issue of cat. no. 5206.0, released in early September.

State estimates are compiled on a quarterly basis for the aggregate state final demand and its components. These results are published in cat. no. 5206.0. On an annual basis estimates of Gross state product (GSP) and other relevant state data are made for each state and territory. These are released in the publication Australian National Accounts: State Accounts (cat. no. 5220.0) shortly after the release of this publication and are fully consistent with the Australian level estimates contained in this publication.

As part of the supply-use framework for compiling a set of national accounts, supply and use (SU) tables are also compiled annually. The tables are published in Australian National Accounts: Supply Use Tables (cat. no. 5217.0) which is released simultaneously with this publication.

Input-output tables are compiled annually. Input-output tables are available in Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (cat. no. 5209.0.55.001). Related to this release is the detailed commodity information contained in Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Product Details) (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001).

Financial accounts, capital accounts and balance sheets for the Australian economy are published in Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0). This publication is released quarterly within three months of the reference period.

Further productivity statistics are compiled and published within two additional annual publications. These are Estimates of Industry Multifactor Productivity (cat. no. 5260.0.55.002) and Experimental Estimates of Industry Level KLEMS Multifactor Productivity (cat. no. 5260.0.55.004).

Tourism satellite accounts, which estimate the contribution of tourism to the Australian economy, are compiled annually. These estimates are released in the publication Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (cat. no. 5249.0), approximately 2 months after this release and are consistent with the Australian System of National Accounts.

Other ABS publications

Current publications and other products released by the ABS are freely available from the ABS website The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

Appendix - the Australian national accounts

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National accounts are designed to provide a systematic summary of economic activity and have been developed to facilitate the practical application of economic theory. At their summary level, the accounts reflect key economic flows: production, income, consumption, investment and saving. At their more detailed level, they are designed to present a statistical picture of the structure of the economy and the detailed processes that make up domestic production and its distribution.

The purpose of this Appendix is to outline the historical developments in the Australian national accounts, the basic structure of the Australian national accounting system, and the theoretical concepts that the system embodies.

Historical background

Official estimates of national income and expenditure have been compiled by the ABS since 1945, when estimates were published for the years 1938-39 to 1944-45. Until 1963 they were published annually as papers entitled National Income and Expenditure issued by the Treasurer with the Commonwealth Government Budget Papers.

In 1963, a number of important changes in the structure and presentation of the national accounts and in the conceptual basis and definitions of the principal aggregates were introduced in a new annual publication entitled Australian National Accounts: National Income and Expenditure, 1948-49 to 1961-62 (cat. no. 5204.0). Constant price estimates of the principal expenditure aggregates were presented for the first time.

In Australian National Accounts: National Income and Expenditure, 1971-72 (cat. no. 5204.0), published in 1973, the structure of the accounts was revised to accord more closely to the international standard described in the United Nations publication A System of National Accounts (1968).

In the 1997-98 issue of cat. no. 5204.0, which was renamed the Australian System of National Accounts, a number of changes were introduced, including the implementation of a revised international standard for national accounting (entitled System of National Accounts, 1993 (SNA93)), the replacement of constant price estimates by chain volume measures and the integration of the national income, expenditure and product accounts with the input-output tables. Also, the scope of the publication was expanded to include balance sheets, capital stock and multifactor productivity statistics. Previously, these statistics had been published in separate publications.

The international standards for national accounts was updated in 2008. The new standards are presented in the System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA08). The revised standards are not radical departures from their former edition. They represent an incremental change in the development of national accounting to reflect changing economic behaviour and new policy concerns, as well as an improved understanding of the accounts, their international comparability and harmonisation with other international statistical standards. There have been incremental changes to concepts, classifications and definitions. Some of these represent changes in terminology and presentation, while others impact on the measurement of major summary aggregates such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and saving. For a discussion of the major changes implemented and the concepts, sources and methods of the more significant changes, see the Information Paper: Implementation of new international statistical standards in ABS National and International Accounts, September 2009 (cat. no. 5310.0.55.002). The 2008-09 issue of the Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0) was the first issue that is on a SNA08 basis.

International standards

The SNA08 was produced by five international organisations involved in the use of economic statistics and the promotion of international statistical standards: United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Commission of the European Communities.

The SNA08 brings together, within the one integrated framework, the various streams of economic accounts, including estimates of national income, expenditure, and product, input-output tables, financial accounts and national and sector balance sheets. It is designed to provide international guidance to national statistical authorities in the compilation and presentation of national accounts, and to serve as a basis for standardised reporting to the United Nations and other international bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). SNA08 provides definitions and classifications which form the basis for the collection of integrated economic statistics in general.

The international standards for international accounts and government finance statistics have been updated to align with the SNA08. The current compilation manuals for these statistics are the Balance of Payments Manual and International Investment Position Manual sixth edition (BPM6) and the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 respectively.

The Australian system of national accounts

The Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) includes not only the traditional annual and quarterly estimates of national income, expenditure and product, but also input-output tables, state estimates, estimates of capital stock, financial accounts, balance sheets and reconciliation accounts and productivity estimates. The system could also be defined more widely to include balance of payments and government finance statistics. However, these are documented in detail elsewhere and are not considered further in this Appendix except to the extent that they provide data items for elements of the ASNA. For detail see Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5331.0) and Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5514.0).


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​​​​​​​Acquisitions less disposals of non-produced non-financial assets

Includes three distinct types of non-produced non-financial assets: natural resources; contracts, leases and licences; and goodwill and marketing assets. At present, estimates of the value of purchased goodwill and marketing assets are not compiled for the ASNA.

Actual final consumption

Records consumption in the sector in which the good or service is actually consumed rather than in the sector that incurs the expenditure. See also Household actual final consumption and Government actual final consumption.

Adjusted disposable income

Consistent with the estimation of an alternative measure of consumption (see Actual final consumption) an alternative measure of disposable income can also be measured. Adjusted household disposable income is measured by adding the value of individual consumption (recorded as transfers in kind on the income side of the account) to gross disposable income.

Agricultural factor income

The total factor income arising from production in agriculture and services to agriculture. It is equal to the estimated gross value of production (after the inventory valuation adjustment) less estimated production costs other than compensation of employees and consumption of fixed capital for all enterprises engaged in agriculture and services to agriculture. It includes agricultural output produced by the household sector for its own consumption.

Agricultural income

The income accruing from agricultural production during an accounting period. It is equal to total agricultural factor income less consumption of fixed capital, compensation of employees, and net rent and interest payments.

Agricultural production costs

Include all costs (other than compensation of employees and consumption of fixed capital) incurred in current production but exclude net rent and interest payable which are treated as appropriations out of operating surplus. Marketing costs are derived from the statistical publication Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced (cat. no. 7503.0), and represent the difference between the value at the farm or other place of production and at the wholesale markets. Other costs include taxes on production and imports, fertilisers, fuel, electricity, chemicals, costs associated with inter-farm transfers of livestock, seed and fodder, maintenance and other miscellaneous items.

Artistic originals

Original films, sound recordings, manuscripts, tapes, models, etc., on which drama performances, radio and television programming, musical performances, sporting events, literary and artistic output, etc. are recorded or embodied. Included are works produced on own-account. In some cases there may be multiple originals (e.g. films).


Store of value over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units, individually or collectively, and from which economic benefits may be derived by their owners by holding them, or using them, over a period of time (the economic benefits consist of primary incomes derived from the use of the asset and the value, including possible holding gains/losses, that could be realised by disposing of the asset or terminating it).

Average compensation per employee

Calculated as total compensation of employees divided by the number of wage and salary earners from the monthly Labour Force Survey.

Balance sheet

A statement, drawn up in respect of a particular point in time, of the values of assets owned and of the liabilities owed by an institutional unit or group of units. A balance sheet may be drawn up for institutional units, institutional sectors and the total economy.

Balancing item

Is obtained by subtracting the total value of the entries on one side of an account from the total value of entries the other side. It cannot be measured independently of the other entries. It does not relate to any specific set of transactions, or any set of assets, and so it cannot be expressed in terms of its own price or quantity units.

Basic price

The amount receivable by the producer from the purchaser for a unit of a good or service produced as output, minus any tax payable plus any subsidy receivable, on that unit as a consequence of its production or sale; it excludes any transport charges invoiced separately by the producer.

Bills of exchange

Is an unconditional order drawn (issued) by one party, sent to another party (usually a bank) for acceptance and made out to, or to the order of, a third party, or to bearer (holder). It is a negotiable instrument with an original term to maturity of 180 days or less. Bills of exchange are also known as ‘banker’s acceptance’.


Long-term securities where the issuer pledges to pay the holder the sum of money shown on the face of the document, on a date which at the time of issue is more than one year in the future. Many bonds on issue in Australia pay interest at a set percentage of face value every six months (known as “coupon interest”) for the life of the bond. Such bonds are known as fixed interest bonds. However, there are a significant amount of variable rate bonds and some deep discount (or zero coupon) bonds on issue.

Capital account

Records the values of the non-financial assets that are acquired, or disposed of, by resident institutional units by engaging in transactions, and shows the change in net worth due to saving and capital transfers or internal bookkeeping transactions linked to production (changes in inventories and consumption of fixed capital).

Capital productivity

Indexes of real output per unit of capital services used in production. Derived by dividing an index of chain volume industry or market sector gross value added by an index of capital services. The capital productivity indexes reflect not only the contribution of capital to changes in production, but also the contribution by labour and other factors affecting production.

Capital transfers

Unrequited transactions where either;

  • ownership of an asset (other than cash or inventories) is transferred from one institutional unit to another;
  • cash is transferred to enable the recipient to acquire another asset; or
  • the funds realised by the disposal of an asset are transferred.

Examples include general government capital transfers to private schools for the construction of science blocks or libraries, assistance to first home owners and transfers to charitable organisations for the construction of homes for the aged.

Chain price indexes

Annually-reweighted chain Laspeyres price indexes referenced to the same year as the chain volume measures. They can be thought of as a series of indexes measuring price change from a base year to quarters in the following year using current price values in the base year as weights, linked together to form a continuous time series. In other words, chain price indexes are constructed in a similar fashion to the chain volume indexes. Quarterly chain price indexes are benchmarked to annual chain price indexes in the same way as their chain volume counterparts. Unlike implicit price deflators, chain price indexes measure only the impact of price change.

Chain volume measures

Annually-reweighted chain Laspeyres volume indexes referenced to the current price values in a chosen reference year (i.e. the year when the quarterly chain volume measures sum to the current price annual values). Chain Laspeyres volume measures are compiled by linking together (compounding) movements in volumes, calculated using the average prices of the previous financial year, and applying the compounded movements to the current price estimates of the reference year. Quarterly chain volume estimates are benchmarked to annual chain volume estimates, so that the quarterly estimates for a financial year sum to the corresponding annual estimate.

Change in financial position

The balance in the financial account is net change in financial position. This is equal to net acquisition of financial assets less net incurrence of liabilities.

Changes in inventories

The difference in value between inventories held at the beginning and end of the reference period by enterprises and general government. For national accounting purposes, physical changes in inventories should be valued at the prices current at the times when the changes occur. For these purposes, changes in inventories are obtained after adjusting the increase in book value of inventories by the inventory valuation adjustment. The need for the latter arises because the changes in the value of inventories as calculated from existing business accounting records do not meet national accounting requirements. The inventory valuation adjustment is the difference between the change in (book) value of inventories and the physical changes valued at current prices. The physical changes at average current quarter prices are calculated by applying average quarterly price indexes to the changes in various categories of inventories in volume terms.

Collective consumption

Services provided simultaneously to all members of the community or to all members of a particular section of the community, such as all households living in a particular region. Collective services are automatically acquired and consumed by all members of the community, or group of households in question, without any action on their part. Typical examples are public administration and the provision of security, either at a national or local level. Collective services are the ‘public goods’ of economic theory. By their nature, collective services cannot be sold to individuals on the market, and they are financed by government units out of taxation or other incomes. The defining characteristics of collective services are as follows: collective services can be delivered simultaneously to every member of the community or of particular sections of the community, such as those in a particular region; the use of such services is usually passive and does not require the explicit agreement or active participation of all the individuals concerned; and the provision of a collective service to one individual does not reduce the amount available to others in the same community or section of the community, i.e. there is no rivalry in acquisition. See also Individual consumption.

Compensation of employees

Total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an enterprise to an employee in return for work done by the employee during the accounting period. It is further classified into two sub-components: wages and salaries; and employers’ social contributions. Compensation of employees is not payable in respect of unpaid work undertaken voluntarily, including the work done by members of a household within an unincorporated enterprise owned by the same household. Compensation of employees excludes any taxes payable by the employer on the wage and salary bill (e.g. payroll tax). See also Employers’ social contributions and Wages and salaries.

Computer software

Computer programs, program descriptions and supporting materials for both systems and applications software. Included are purchased software and, if the expenditure is large, software developed on own-account. It also includes the purchase or development of large databases that the enterprise expects to use in production over a period of more than one year. The ASNA does not separately identify databases from computer software as recommended by the 2008 SNA.

Consumer durable

A good that may be used for purposes of consumption repeatedly or continuously over a period of a year or more.

Consumption of fixed capital

The value of the reproducible fixed assets used up during a period of account as a result of normal wear and tear, foreseen obsolescence and the normal rate of accidental damage. Unforeseen obsolescence, major catastrophes and the depletion of natural resources are not taken into account.

Contributions to growth in GDP

The contributions to growth for a given aggregate 'A' is calculated as:

\(\large{100 \text{ * }(\frac{({PY^A}_t-{PP^A}_t)}{{PP^A}_t}) \times (\frac{{PP^A}_t}{{PP^{GDP}}_t})}\)


  • \({PY^A}_t \) is the quantity of an aggregate in the current period, in previous period prices
  • \({PP^A}_t \) is the quantity of an aggregate in the previous period, in previous period prices
  • \({PP^{GDP}}_t \) is the current price value of GDP in the previous period

Additivity for contributions to growth exists for the years where the statistical discrepancy is zero, effectively 1995-96 onwards, by using GDP expressed in the prices of the previous year. For the period 1986-87 to 1994-95, where the statistical discrepancy is not zero, the result is close to additive but not exact because the statistical discrepancy cannot be expressed in prices of the previous year. Additionally, quarterly contribution to growth estimates will not add to GDP growth due to the existence of a statistical discrepancy between the three quarterly measures of GDP.


Entities that are capable of generating a profit or other financial gain for their owners; are recognised at law as separate legal entities from their owners who enjoy limited liability; and are set up for purposes of engaging in market production. They also include co-operatives, limited liability partnerships, notional resident units and quasi-corporations.

Cultivated biological resources

Includes livestock raised for breeding, dairy, wool, etc., and vineyards, orchards and other plantations of trees yielding repeat products that are under the direct control, responsibility and management of institutional units. Immature cultivated assets are excluded unless produced for own use.


Consists of notes and coins that are of fixed nominal values and are issued or authorised by the central bank or government. For Australia the currency asset refers solely to domestic currency. There is little foreign currency in general circulation, and significant holdings are classified as foreign deposits.

Current prices

Estimates are valued at the prices of the period to which the observation relates. For example, estimates for this financial year are valued using this financial year’s prices. This contrasts to chain volume measures where the prices used in valuation refer to the prices of the previous year.

Current taxes on income, wealth, etc.

Include taxes on the incomes of households or the profits of corporations and taxes on wealth that are payable regularly every tax assessment period (as distinct from capital taxes that are levied infrequently).

Current transfers

Transfers, other than those classified as capital transfers, in which one institutional unit provides a good, service or cash to another unit without receiving from the latter anything of economic value in return.

Current transfers from the Commonwealth government to state and local government

Include financial assistance grants to the states and territories; grants to fund state and territory health care services, education services, social security and welfare services, and similar specific grants for current purposes; special revenue assistance grants provided to certain states and territories; financial assistance grants for local governments which are provided through the state and Northern Territory governments; and grants for current purposes made directly to local government bodies.

Current transfers to non-profit institutions

Transfers for non-capital purposes to private non-profit institutions serving households such as hospitals, independent schools, and religious and charitable organisations.


Financial instruments that are linked to a specific financial instrument or indicator or commodity, and which provide for market financial risk in a form that can be traded or otherwise offset in the market. Derivatives are used for a number of purposes including risk management, hedging, and speculation. Unlike debt instruments, no principal amount is advanced to be repaid, and no investment income accrues. The value of the derivative derives from the price of the underlying items.


Form of investment income to which shareholders become entitled as a result of placing funds at the disposal of corporations.

Dividends from public (financial and non-financial) corporations paid to general government

Represent property income earned by general government on its equity investment in these corporations. They are payable by public corporations from operating surpluses generated through the production process. Included are amounts in the nature of dividends such as transfers of profit, income tax equivalents and wholesale sales tax equivalents.


Buildings, or designated parts of buildings, that are used entirely or primarily as residences, including any associated structures, such as garages, and all permanent fixtures customarily installed in residences. Houseboats, barges, mobile homes and caravans used as principal residences of households are also included, as are public monuments identified primarily as dwellings. The costs of site clearance and preparation are also included in the value of dwellings.

Economically significant prices

Prices which have a significant influence on both the amounts producers are willing to supply and the amounts purchasers wish to buy.

Employers' social contributions

Payments by employers which are intended to secure for their employees the entitlement to social benefits should certain events occur, or certain circumstances exist, that may adversely affect their employees' income or welfare – namely work-related accidents and retirement.

Entrepreneurial income

For a corporation, quasi-corporation, or institutional unit owning an unincorporated enterprise engaged in market production is defined as its operating surplus (or mixed income), plus property income receivable on the assets owned by the enterprise, less interest payable on the liabilities of the enterprise and rents payable on non-produced non-financial assets (such as land) rented by the enterprise.


Equity has the distinguishing feature that the holders own a residual claim on the assets of the institutional unit that issued the equity. Equity represents the owner’s funds in the institutional unit.

Exports of goods and services

The value of goods exported and amounts receivable from non-residents for the provision of services by residents.

External account

Records all current transactions between Australian residents and non-residents.

Farm GDP

Is the part of gross domestic product which derives from production in agriculture and services to agriculture.

Farm inventories


  • inventories held on farms (including wool, wheat, barley, oats, maize, sorghum, hay, fertiliser, apples and pears, and livestock);
  • wool held in store awaiting sale; and
  • produce (e.g. vegetables) held in cold store where ownership remains with the primary producer.

Final consumption expenditure – general government

Net expenditure on goods and services by public authorities, other than those classified as public corporations, which does not result in the creation of fixed assets or inventories or in the acquisition of land and existing buildings or second-hand assets. It comprises expenditure on compensation of employees (other than those charged to capital works, etc.), goods and services (other than fixed assets and inventories) and consumption of fixed capital. Expenditure on repair and maintenance of roads is included. Fees, etc., charged by general government bodies for goods sold and services rendered are offset against purchases. Net expenditure overseas by general government bodies and purchases from public corporations are included. Expenditure on defence assets is classified as gross fixed capital formation.

Final consumption expenditure – households

Net expenditure on goods and services by persons and expenditure of a current nature by private non-profit institutions serving households. This item excludes expenditures by unincorporated businesses and expenditures on assets by non-profit institutions (included in gross fixed capital formation). Also excluded is expenditure on maintenance of dwellings (treated as intermediate expenses of private enterprises), but personal expenditure on motor vehicles and other durable goods and the imputed rent of owner-occupied dwellings are included. The value of 'backyard' production (including food produced and consumed on farms) is included in household final consumption expenditure and the payment of wages and salaries in kind (e.g. food and lodging supplied free to employees) is counted in both household income and household final consumption expenditure.

Financial account

Records the net acquisition of financial assets and net incurrence of liabilities for all institutional sectors by type of financial asset.

Financial assets

Are mostly financial claims. Financial claims entitle the owner to receive a payment, or a series of payments, from an institutional unit to which the owner has provided funds. Shares are treated as financial assets even though the financial claim their holders have on the corporation is not a fixed or predetermined monetary amount.

Financial corporations

Mainly engaged in financial market transactions, which involve incurring liabilities and acquiring financial assets, i.e. borrowing and lending money, providing superannuation, life, health or other insurance, financial leasing or investing in financial assets. Also included are corporations providing financial auxiliary services.

Financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM)

Banks and some other financial intermediaries are able to provide services for which they do not charge explicitly, by paying or charging different rates of interest to borrowers and lenders (and to different categories of borrowers and lenders). For example, they may pay lower rates of interest than would otherwise be the case to those who lend them money and charge higher rates of interest to those who borrow from them. The resulting net receipts of interest are used to defray their expenses and provide an operating surplus. This scheme of interest rates avoids the need to charge their customers individually for services provided and leads to the pattern of interest rates observed in practice. However, in this situation, the national accounts must use an indirect measure, namely FISIM, of the value of the services for which the intermediaries do not charge explicitly.

Whenever the production of output is recorded in the national accounts, the use of that output must be explicitly accounted for elsewhere in the accounts. Hence, FISIM must be recorded as being disposed of in one or more of the following ways: as intermediate consumption by enterprises; as final consumption by households or general government; or as exports to non-residents.

Fixed assets

Produced assets that are used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year. Fixed assets consist of dwellings, non-dwelling construction, machinery and equipment, weapons systems, cultivated biological resources, ownership transfer costs and intellectual property products.

Government actual final consumption

Equal to government final consumption expenditures on collective services such as defence.

Government units

Unique types of legal entities established by political processes and having legislative, judicial or executive authority over other institutional units.

Gross disposable income – households

Gross household income less income tax payable, other current taxes on income, wealth etc., consumer debt interest, interest payable by unincorporated enterprises and dwellings owned by persons, net non-life insurance premiums and other current transfers payable by households.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Is the total market value of goods and services produced in Australia within a given period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital. Thus gross domestic product, as here defined, is 'at market prices'. It is equivalent to gross national expenditure plus exports of goods and services less imports of goods and services.

GDP per capita

The ratio of the chain volume estimate of GDP to an estimate of the resident Australian population. Population estimates use data published in the quarterly publication Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) and ABS projections.

Gross domestic product per hour worked

The ratio of the chain volume estimate of GDP to an estimate of hours worked. Hours worked estimates are derived as the product of employment and average hours worked.

Movements in chain volume estimates of GDP per hour worked are commonly interpreted as changes in labour productivity. However, it should be noted that these measures reflect not only the contribution of labour to changes in production per hour worked, but also the contribution of capital and other factors (such as managerial efficiency, economies of scale, etc.).

Gross fixed capital formation

Expenditure on new fixed assets plus net expenditure on second-hand fixed assets, including both additions and or replacements. Expenditure on repair and maintenance of fixed assets is excluded, being chargeable to the production account. Compensation of employees and other costs paid by corporations in connection with own-account capital formation are included.

Gross income - households

The total income, whether in cash or kind, receivable by persons normally resident in Australia. It includes both income in return for productive activity (such as compensation of employees, the gross mixed income of unincorporated enterprises, gross operating surplus on dwellings owned by persons, and property income receivable, etc.) as well as transfers receivable (such as social assistance benefits and non-life insurance claims).

Gross mixed income of unincorporated enterprises (GMI)

The surplus or deficit accruing from production by unincorporated enterprises. It includes elements of both compensation of employees (returns on labour inputs) and operating surplus (returns on capital inputs).

Gross national disposable income (GNDI)

Is equivalent to gross national income plus all secondary income in cash or in kind receivable by resident institutional units from the rest of the world, less all secondary income in cash or in kind payable by resident institutional units to the rest of the world.

Gross national expenditure (GNE)

The total expenditure within a given period by Australian residents on final goods and services (i.e. excluding goods and services used up during the period in the process of production). It is equivalent to gross domestic product plus imports of goods and services less exports of goods and services.

Gross national income (GNI)

The aggregate value of gross primary incomes for all institutional sectors, including net primary income receivable from non-residents.

Gross operating surplus (GOS)

The operating surplus accruing to all enterprises, except unincorporated enterprises, from their operations in Australia. It is the excess of gross output over the sum of intermediate consumption, compensation of employees, and taxes less subsidies on production and imports. It is calculated before deduction of consumption of fixed capital, dividends, interest, royalties and land rent, and direct taxes payable, but after deducting the inventory valuation adjustment. Gross operating surplus is also calculated for general government and it equals general government's consumption of fixed capital.

Gross value added

The value of output at basic prices minus the value of intermediate consumption at purchasers' prices. The term is used to describe gross product by industry and by sector. Basic prices valuation of output removes the distortion caused by variations in the incidence of commodity taxes and subsidies across the output of individual industries.

Hours worked

The hours worked by all labour engaged in the production of goods and services, including hours worked by civilian wage and salary earners, employers, self-employed persons, persons working one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm, and members of the Australian defence forces.


A group of persons who share the same living accommodation, who pool some, or all, of their income and wealth and who consume certain types of goods and services collectively, mainly housing and food.

Household actual final consumption

Household actual final consumption includes: the value of the households expenditures on consumption goods and services including expenditures on non-market goods or services sold at prices that are not economically significant; government final consumption expenditures on education, health, social security and welfare, sport and recreation and culture, which are considered to be individual services; and services provided by non-profit institutions serving households as they are treated as individual services.

Household saving ratio

The ratio of household net saving to household net disposable income. Household net saving is calculated as household net disposable income less household final consumption expenditure. Household net disposable income is calculated as household gross disposable income less household consumption of fixed capital.

Implicit price deflator

Obtained by dividing a current price value by its real counterpart (the chain volume measure). When calculated from the major national accounting aggregates, such as gross domestic product, implicit price deflators relate to a broader range of goods and services in the economy than that represented by any of the individual price indexes that are published by the ABS. Movements in an implicit price deflator reflect both changes in price and changes in the composition of the aggregate for which the deflator is calculated.

Imports of goods and services

The value of goods imported and amounts payable to non-residents for the provision of services to residents.

Income account

Shows how gross disposable income is used for final consumption expenditure and the consumption of fixed capital (depreciation), with the balance being net saving. Income flows are divided into primary income and secondary income. Primary incomes are incomes that accrue to institutional units as a consequence of their involvement in processes of production or ownership of assets that may be needed for purposes of production. Secondary incomes are incomes that are redistributed between institutional units by means of payments and receipts of current transfers. Income redistribution also includes social transfers in kind.

Income tax

Consists of taxes on the income of households, corporations and non-residents, and taxes on wealth which are levied regularly (wealth taxes which are levied irregularly are classified as capital taxes and are recorded in the sectoral capital accounts).

Individual consumption

Good or service that is acquired by a household and used to satisfy the needs and wants of members of that household. Individual goods and services can always be bought and sold on the market, although they may also be provided free, or at prices that are not economically significant, or as transfers in kind. Individual goods and services are essentially ‘private’, as distinct from ‘public’. See also Collective consumption.


Consists of a group of establishments engaged in the same, or similar kinds, of activity.

Institutional sectors

The resident units that make up the total economy are grouped into four mutually exclusive institutional sectors, namely: the non-financial corporations sector; the financial corporations sector; the general government sector; and the household sector, which includes non-profit institutions serving households.

Institutional unit

An economic entity that is capable, in its own right, of owning assets, incurring liabilities, engaging in economic activities and engaging in transactions with other entities.

Insurance technical reserves

Comprises financial assets that are reserves against outstanding risks, reserves for with-profit insurance, prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims. Insurance technical reserves may be liabilities not only of life or non-life insurance enterprises (whether mutual or incorporated) but also of autonomous pension funds, which are included in the insurance enterprise subsector, and certain non-autonomous pension funds that are included in the institutional sector that manages the funds. Insurance technical reserves are subdivided between net equity of households on life insurance reserves and on pension funds, and prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims.

Intellectual property products

Are as a result of research and development, investigation or innovations leading to knowledge that the developers can market or use for their own benefit. Includes computer software, research and development, entertainment, literary or artistic originals, and mineral exploration intended to be used for more than a year.


Receivable by the owners of financial assets such as deposits, loans, and securities other than shares for putting the financial asset at the disposal of another institutional unit.

Intermediate consumption

Consists of the value of the goods and services used as inputs by a process of production, excluding compensation of employees and the consumption of fixed capital.


Consist of stocks of outputs that are held at the end of a period by the units that produced them prior to their being further processed, sold, delivered to other units or used in other ways and stocks of products acquired from other units that are intended to be used for intermediate consumption or for resale without further processing.

Labour productivity

Indexes of real output per person employed or per hour worked. These are derived by dividing the chain volume measure of gross value added or GDP by hours worked. Labour productivity indexes not only reflect the contribution of labour to changes in production, but are also influenced by the contribution of capital and other factors affecting production.


Consists of the ground, including the soil covering and any associated surface waters, over which ownership rights are enforced and from which economic benefits can be derived by their owners by holding or using them.


Is an obligation which requires one unit (the debtor) to make a payment or a series of payments to the other unit (the creditor) in certain circumstances specified in a contract between them.

Listed shares

Equity securities listed on an exchange.


Borrowings which are not evidenced by the issue of debt securities, and are not usually traded and their value does not decline even in a period of rising interest rates.

Machinery and equipment

Includes transport equipment and other machinery and equipment, other than that acquired by households for final consumption.

Market output

Output that is sold at prices that are economically significant or otherwise disposed of on the market, or intended for sale or disposal on the market.

Market sector

The 'market sector' is defined to include all industries except for Public administration and safety (O); Education and training (P); Health care and social assistance (Q) and Ownership of dwellings.

Mineral and energy resources

Consists of known deposits of coal, oil, gas or other fuels and metallic ores, and non-metallic minerals, etc., that are located below or on the earth's surface, including deposits under the sea, that are economically exploitable given current technology and relative prices.

Mineral and petroleum exploration

The value of expenditures on exploration for petroleum and natural gas and for non-petroleum mineral deposits. These expenditures include pre-licence costs, licence and acquisition costs, appraisal costs and the costs of actual test drilling and boring, as well as the costs of aerial and other surveys, transportation costs etc., incurred to make it possible to carry out the tests.

Monetary gold

Treated as a financial asset. Monetary gold is gold owned by monetary authorities (or others subject to effective control by monetary authorities) that is held as a financial asset and as a component of official reserves. Other gold held by any entity, including non-reserve gold held by monetary authorities and all gold held by financial institutions other than the central bank, is treated as a commodity.

Multifactor productivity

Indexes of real GDP per combined unit of labour and capital. These are derived by dividing chain volume estimates of market sector GDP by a combined measure of hours worked and capital services. Multifactor productivity indexes not only reflect the contribution of labour and capital to changes in production, but also the contribution of other factors affecting production, such as economies of scale.

National saving

Calculated as the sum of the net saving of each of the resident sectors - households and unincorporated enterprises, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and general government.

Natural resources

Non-produced non-financial assets consisting of land, mineral and energy resources, native standing timber and radio spectra.

Net domestic product

Calculated as GDP less consumption of fixed capital.

Net equity in reserves

Represents policy-holders’ claims on life insurance businesses and pension funds. These technical reserves are calculated by deducting all repayable liabilities from the value of total assets.

Net errors and omissions

The difference between net lending or borrowing in the capital account and the net change in financial position in the financial account.

Net lending (+)/net borrowing (-)

The residual item in the capital account which shows each sector's net acquisition of financial assets. It is calculated as gross saving and capital transfers less total capital accumulation. In concept it is the same as the item net change in financial position in the financial account.

Net lending to non-residents

The excess of net acquisition of financial assets in the rest of the world by resident institutional units over their net incurrence of liabilities in the rest of the world.

Net non-life insurance premiums

Defined as non-life insurance premiums plus premium supplements less the non-life insurance service charge.

Net saving

Balancing item of the income account, this is equal to total income receivable less total income payable, final consumption expenditure and consumption of fixed capital. This represents the excess of income over consumption.

Net secondary income from non-residents

All transfers to or from non-residents to resident government or private institutional units which are not payments for goods and services, compensation of employees or property income.

Net worth

In the national and sectoral balance sheets, net worth represents the difference between the stock of assets (both financial and non-financial) and the stock of liabilities (including shares and other equity). Because it is derived residually, it can be negative.

Neutral holding gains/losses

The value of the holding gain that would accrue if the price of the asset changed in the same proportion as the general price level.

Nominal holding gains/losses

On a given quantity of asset, it is the value of the benefit accruing to the owner of that asset as a result of a change in its price or, more generally, its monetary value, over time.

Non-dwelling construction

Consists of non-residential buildings and other structures. ‘Non-residential buildings’ are buildings other than dwellings, including fixtures, facilities and equipment that are integral parts of the structures and costs of site clearance and preparation.

‘Other structures’ are structures other than buildings, including streets, sewers and site clearance and preparation other than for residential or non-residential buildings. Also included are shafts, tunnels and other structures associated with the extraction of mineral and energy resources. Major improvements to land, such as dams, are also included.

Non-farm GDP

Non-farm GDP arises from production in all industries other than agriculture.

Non-farm inventories

All inventories except those classified to farm and public authorities inventories.

Non-financial assets

Are assets for which no corresponding liabilities are recorded.

Non-financial corporations

Corporations whose principal activity is the production of market goods or non-financial services.

Non-life insurance claims

Claims payable in settlement of damages that result from an event covered by a non-life insurance policy in the current accounting period.

Non-market output

Goods and services produced by any institutional unit that are supplied free or at prices that are not economically significant.

Non-produced assets

Non-financial assets that come into existence other than through processes of production. Non-produced assets that occur in nature is where ownership has been enforced or transferred. Environmental assets over which ownership rights have not, or cannot, be enforced, such as international waters or air space, are excluded. They consist of natural resources (such as land, mineral and energy resources, native standing timber and radio spectra); Contracts, leases and licences; and purchased goodwill and marketing assets. Purchased goodwill and marketing assets are not included in the ASNA.

Non-profit institutions

Legal or social entities created for the purpose of producing goods or services whose status does not permit them to be a source of income, profit or other financial gain for the units that establish, control or finance them.

One name paper

Includes promissory notes, treasury notes and certificate of deposits issued by banks.

Other accounts receivable/payable

This term is used in two ways. Firstly it is the financial asset consisting of two subordinate classifications: ‘trade credit and advances’, and ‘other accounts receivable/payable’. Alternatively, the item can refer to the actual classification ‘other accounts receivable/payable’.

Accounts receivable and payable include items other than those in the previous paragraph (e.g. in respect of taxes, dividends, purchases and sales of securities, rent, wages and salaries and social contributions). Interest accruing that is not capitalised in the underlying asset may be included.

Other changes in real net wealth

Calculated as the sum of real holding gains, net capital transfers and other changes in the volume of assets.

Other changes in real net wealth - other differences

These arise due to a different treatment of stock and flow concepts between the balance sheet and capital account estimates. Net capital formation in the balance sheet includes plantation standing timber inventories. These are included in the change in net worth in the balance sheet and excluded from the capital account.

Other changes in the volume of assets

Changes in the value of assets and liabilities over the accounting period arising from events other than transactions and revaluations.

Other current taxes on income, wealth etc.

Other current taxes on income, wealth etc. consists mainly of payments by households to obtain licences to own or use vehicles, boats or aircraft, and for licences to hunt, shoot or fish.

Other current transfers

Other current transfers consist of all current transfers between resident institutional units or between resident and non-resident units other than current taxes on income, wealth, etc. and social benefits in kind.

Other deposits

Comprise all claims, other than transferable deposits, that are represented by evidence of deposit. Typical forms of deposits that should be included are savings deposits (which are always non-transferable), fixed-term deposits and non-negotiable certificates of deposit.

Other subsidies on production

Consists of all subsidies, except subsidies on products, which resident enterprises may receive as a consequence of engaging in production. Other subsidies on production include: subsidies related to the payroll or workforce numbers, including subsidies payable on the total wage or salary bill, on numbers employed, or on the employment of particular types of persons, e.g. persons with disabilities or persons who have been unemployed for a long period.

Other taxes on production

Consists of all taxes that enterprises incur as a result of engaging in production, except taxes on products. Other taxes on production include: taxes related to the payroll or workforce numbers excluding compulsory social security contributions paid by employers and any taxes paid by the employees themselves out of their wages or salaries; recurrent taxes on land, buildings or other structures; some business and professional licences where no service is provided by the government in return; taxes on the use of fixed assets or other activities; stamp duties; taxes on pollution; and taxes on international transactions.


This consists of those goods and services that are produced within an establishment that become available for use outside that establishment, plus any goods and services produced for own final use.

Output for own final use

Includes output for own final consumption and output for own gross fixed capital formation.

Ownership transfer costs

Consists of fees paid to lawyers, fees and commissions paid to real estate agents and auctioneers, stamp duty, title office charges and local government charges. Ownership transfer costs in the ASNA relate to dwellings and non-dwelling construction.

Perpetual inventory model (PIM)

A method of constructing estimates of capital stock and consumption of fixed capital from time series of gross fixed capital formation. It allows an estimate to be made of the stock of fixed assets in existence and in the hands of producers which is generally based on estimating how many of the fixed assets, installed as a result of gross fixed capital formation undertaken in previous years, have survived to the current period.


Customers’ account balances with entities not regarded as deposit-taking institutions. Examples are account balances of state and local public non-financial corporations with their central borrowing authorities, of public sector pension funds with their state treasuries, and 11am money placed with corporate treasuries.

Prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims

Reserves in the form of prepayments of premiums which result from the fact that, in general, insurance premiums are paid in advance. Such reserves are assets of the policy-holders. Reserves against outstanding claims are reserves that insurance enterprises hold in order to cover the amounts they expect to pay out in respect of claims that are not yet settled or claims that may be disputed. Reserves against outstanding claims are considered to be assets of the beneficiaries.

Primary incomes

Consist of incomes that accrue to institutional units as a consequence of their involvement in processes of production or their ownership of assets that may be needed for the purposes of production. They are payable out of the value added created by production. The primary incomes that accrue by lending or renting financial or non-produced non-financial natural resource assets, including land, to other units for use in production are described as ‘property incomes’. Receipts from taxes on production and imports are treated as primary incomes of governments even though not all of them may be recorded as payable out of the value added of enterprises. Primary incomes exclude social contributions and benefits, current taxes on income, wealth, etc. and other current transfers.

Produced assets

Non-financial assets that have come into existence as outputs from production processes. Produced assets consist of; fixed assets, inventories and valuables. However, valuables are not included in the ASNA.

Production account

Records the expenses incurred in production and the receipts from sales of goods and services.

Productivity growth cycles

Productivity growth cycle peaks are determined by comparing the annual multifactor productivity estimates with their corresponding long-term trend estimates. This is a common method of examining changes in productivity over an extended period and involves identifying and dividing the data into productivity 'growth cycles'. Year to year changes in measured productivity may reflect changes that are conceptually distinct from the notion of productivity (for example, the assumption of constant utilisation of capital). By analysing averages of productivity statistics between growth cycle peaks, the effects of some of these influences can be minimised, allowing better analysis of the drivers of productivity growth in different periods. The peak deviations between these two series are the primary indicators of a growth-cycle peak, although general economic conditions at the time are also considered.

Property income

Income receivable by the owner of a financial asset or a non-produced non-financial asset in return for providing funds, or putting a non-produced non-financial asset at the disposal of another institutional unit.

Property income flows attributable to insurance policy holders

Includes imputed flows relating to life insurance, superannuation and non-life insurance operations. These include imputed interest from life insurance and pension funds to households; premium supplements which are an imputed property income flow from non-life insurance corporations to policy-holders; and imputed interest from the general government sector to households, which is recorded on the account of the unfunded superannuation schemes operated by the general government sector.

Public authorities inventories

Include estimates for general government, public non-financial corporations and public financial corporations. Recorded inventories include demonetised gold transactions (gold sales and gold loans) by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the construction of military equipment for export.

Purchasers' prices

The amount paid by the purchaser, excluding any deductible tax, in order to take delivery of a unit of a good or service at the time and place required by the purchaser. The purchasers' price of a good includes any transport charges paid separately by the purchaser to take delivery at the required time and place.

Quality adjusted hours worked

This measure of labour input takes account of changes in the aggregate quality of labour due to changes in educational attainment, gender composition and the length of experience in the workforce. Labour productivity and multifactor productivity estimates based on quality adjusted hours worked are also calculated.

Real gross domestic income

Measures the purchasing power of the total incomes generated by domestic production.

It is calculated by:

  • taking the volume measure of gross national expenditure (GNE)
  • adding exports of goods and services at current prices deflated by the implicit price deflator for imports of goods and services
  • deducting the volume measure of imports of goods and services
  • adding the current price statistical discrepancy for GDP(E) deflated by the implicit price deflator for GDP.

In the derivation of the aggregate all of the adjustments are made using the chain volume aggregation method used to derive all of the ABS chain volume estimates.

Real gross national income

The real aggregate value of gross primary incomes for all institutional sectors, including net primary income receivable from non-residents. It is calculated by adjusting real gross domestic income for the real impact of primary income flows (property income and labour income) to and from overseas.

Real holding gains/losses

The difference between the nominal holding gain/loss on assets and liabilities, and the neutral holding gain. It is the value of the additional command over real resources accruing to the holder of an asset as a result of a change in its price relative to the prices of goods and services in the economy.

Real net national disposable income

Is calculated by:

  • taking real gross domestic income
  • deducting real incomes payable to the rest of the world
  • adding real incomes receivable from the rest of the world
  • deducting the volume measure of consumption of fixed capital.

Real incomes payable and receivable are calculated by dividing the nominal income flows by the implicit price deflator for gross national expenditure. In the derivation of the aggregate, all of the adjustments are made using the chain volume aggregation method used to derive all of the ABS chain volume estimates.

Reference period

In connection with price or volume indexes, the reference period means the period to which the indexes relate. It is typically set equal to 100 for price indexes and to the corresponding current price values of the reference year for volume indexes, and it does not necessarily coincide with the base period.

Reinvested earnings

Imputed transactions related to that component of income that is not distributed to equity and or unit holders in direct foreign investment enterprises, and resident and non-resident investment funds in the form of dividends.

Rent on natural assets

Income receivable by the owner of a natural resource (the lessor or landlord) for putting the natural resource at the disposal of another institutional unit (a lessee or tenant) for use of the natural resource in production.

Research and development

Creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and to enable this stock of knowledge to be used to devise new applications. It is included in Intellectual property products as a produced fixed asset.

Rest of the world

Consists of all non-resident institutional units that enter into transactions with resident units, or have other economic links with resident units.

Secondary income

Consists of receipt and payment of current transfers.

Services from consumer durables

Represents the value of services provided by consumer durables to the household in the accounting period. It arises because consumer durables, unlike other final consumption goods, are not used up in the accounting period in which they are purchased. It is measured in the same way as consumption of fixed capital, i.e. as the reduction in value of the stock of consumer durables during the accounting period resulting from physical deterioration, normal obsolescence or normal accidental damage. Unforeseen obsolescence is not taken into account.

Social assistance benefits

Current transfers payable to households by government units to meet the same needs as social insurance benefits, but which are not made under a social insurance scheme incorporating social contributions and social insurance benefits. They may be payable in cash or in kind. In Australia, they include the age pension and unemployment benefits.

Social assistance benefits in cash to residents

Includes current transfers to persons from general government in return for which no services are rendered or goods supplied. Principal components include: scholarships; maternity, sickness and unemployment benefits; family allowances; and widows', age, invalid and repatriation pensions.

Social transfers in kind

Individual goods and services provided to individual households by general government units and non-profit institutions either free or at prices that are not economically significant.

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)

These are financial assets. In Australia, the SDR allocation is recorded by the central government and the SDR asset is recorded by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The RBA has a deposit liability to the central government. SDRs are international reserve assets created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and allocated to its member states to supplement existing reserve assets.


Radio spectrum is an asset that is recognised as being of economic value from the time a licence is issued to use it. Spectrum licences fall under contracts, leases and licences.

Statistical discrepancy I, E and P

For years in which a balanced supply and use table is available to benchmark the national accounts, the same measure of GDP is obtained regardless of whether one sums incomes, expenditures or gross value added for each industry. For other years, however, statistical discrepancies between the measures remain. The differences between those three separate estimates and the single measure of GDP for those years are called statistical discrepancy (I), statistical discrepancy (E) and statistical discrepancy (P), respectively.

Subsidies on products

Subsidies payable per unit of a good or service. The subsidy may be a specific amount of money per unit of quantity of a good or service, or it may be calculated ad valorem as a specified percentage of the price per unit. A subsidy may also be calculated as the difference between a specified target price and the market price actually paid by a purchaser. A subsidy on a product usually becomes payable when the product is produced, sold or imported, but it may also become payable in other circumstances, such as when a product is exported, leased, transferred, delivered or used for own consumption or own capital formation.

Supply and use tables

Matrices that record how supplies of different kinds of goods and services originate from domestic industries and imports, and how those supplies are allocated between various intermediate or final uses, including exports.

Taxes on production and imports

Consists of ‘Taxes on products’ and ‘Other taxes on production’. These taxes do not include any taxes on the profits or other income received by an enterprise. They are payable irrespective of the profitability of the production process. They may be payable on the land, fixed assets or labour employed in the production process, or on certain activities or transactions.

Taxes on products

Taxes payable per unit of some good or service. The tax may be a specific amount of money per unit of quantity of a good or service (quantity being measured either in terms of discrete units or continuous physical variables such as volume, weight, strength, distance, time, etc.), or it may be calculated ad valorem as a specified percentage of the price per unit or value of the goods or services transacted. A tax on a product usually becomes payable when the product is produced, sold or imported, but it may also become payable in other circumstances, such as when a good is exported, leased, transferred, delivered, or used for own consumption or own capital formation.

Terms of trade

Terms of trade represent the relationship between export and import prices. Australia's terms of trade are calculated by dividing the implicit price deflator of exports by the implicit price deflator of imports.

Total factor income

That part of the cost of producing the gross domestic product which consists of gross payments to factors of production (labour and capital). It represents the value added by these factors in the process of production and is equivalent to gross domestic product less taxes plus subsidies on production and imports.

Transferable deposits

Comprise all deposits that are exchangeable for banknotes and coins on demand at par and without penalty or restriction, and directly usable for making payments by cheque, draft, direct debit/credit or other direct payment facility.

Unfunded superannuation claims

Represent the liabilities of the general government sector to public sector employees in respect of unfunded retirement benefits. In Australia, most governments operate, or used to operate, superannuation schemes for their employees that are unfunded or only partly funded.

Unincorporated enterprise

An unincorporated enterprise represents the production activity of government units, non-profit institutions serving households, or households that cannot be treated as the production activity of a quasi-corporation.

Unit labour costs

These series represent a link between productivity and the cost of labour in producing output. A nominal unit labour cost (ULC) measures the average cost of labour per unit of output while a real ULC adjusts a nominal ULC for general inflation. A ULC is calculated as the ratio of labour costs per hours worked by employees divided by volume gross value added per total hours worked. Positive growth in a real ULC indicates that labour cost pressures exist.

Unlisted shares

Equity securities not listed on an exchange. Unlisted shares can also be called private equity. Venture capital usually takes this form.

Wages and salaries

Consist of amounts payable in cash including the value of any social contributions, income taxes, fringe benefits tax, etc., payable by the employee even if they are actually withheld by the employer for administrative convenience or other reasons and paid directly to social insurance schemes, tax authorities, etc., on behalf of the employee. Wages and salaries may be paid as remuneration in kind instead of, or in addition to, remuneration in cash. Separation, termination and redundancy payments are also included in wages and salaries.

Weapons systems

Consist of delivery systems such as warships, submarines, fighter aircraft, bombers and tanks. They are classified as produced non-financial fixed assets.

Quality declaration - summary

Institutional environment

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 standards governing national accounts are agreed internationally, and detailed in the "System of National Accounts 2008" (SNA08). SNA08 is endorsed by the five major international economic organisations: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the World Bank and the European Commission. The current complete version of SNA08 is available online:

The Australian national accounts differ from the recommendations in the SNA08 in certain cases where the data is not available to meet these requirements, or it is not considered practical to adhere to the standards. For more information on the Australian national accounts see Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0). For more information on the implementation of the new international standards see Information Paper: Implementation of new international statistical standards in ABS National and International Accounts (cat. no. 5310.0.55.002).


The annual Australian national accounts are compiled using data from the four most recent quarters along with the latest supply and use balanced data. The release of this information generally occurs in the first week of November following the end of the most recent financial year.


Accuracy remains the main focus of ABS quality control. However, in the case of the national accounts, it is recognised internationally that an objective accuracy measure in the sense of proximity to the ‘true value’ is impossible to produce. The national accounts are a highly complex set of economic statistics. They combine a very large number of internal and external data sources covering various aspects of the economy to derive GDP and other headline measures.

The national accounts compilation process transforms the various partial data into a set of economic accounts. To make the data more analytically useful it also requires a further transformation of the data to produce the headline chain volume of GDP and components. These data transformations involve various assumptions.

Given the variety of data used, and the transformations and aggregations used in the national accounts process, an assessment of accuracy is necessarily subjective and indirect. It involves an assessment of the national accounts process, the input data and the transformations used to produce the national accounts. The ABS aims to achieve best practice in each of these facets of national accounts compilation. The related quality concept of reliability can be objectively measured by an analysis of revisions, but a reliable series is not necessarily accurate if it is based on poor quality data.

For a more in-depth discussion of the accuracy of the national accounts including an analysis of revisions please see the Information Paper: Quality Dimensions of the Australian National Accounts (cat. no. 5216.0.55.002).


The coherence of data is an aspect of quality closely associated with accuracy, both within the national accounts system, and compared with the partial indicators of the economy. A major unifying feature within the Australian System of National Accounts is the use of supply and use methodology to confront the data and balance the components of GDP in annual terms.

The ABS publishes a large amount of data on various aspects of the economy. As the majority of these are used in the national accounts it could be expected that there would be coherence between the partial indicators data and the national accounts. While there are some differences in coverage and concept, there are formal processes in place to ensure that the collections and national accounts staff come to a common view of the statistical treatment of current economic events. National accounts staff also have the opportunity to comment on the partial indicators before they are finalised for publication. None the less, over time, the process of annual benchmarking may lead to some divergencies with the partial indicators.


There are a number of derived statistics and data transformations published with national accounts output to aid interpretation of the data. These include chain volume estimates, trend and seasonally adjusted estimates, GDP growth rates and contributions to GDP growth. Analysis and commentary is included with each publication, and quarterly presentations are available to key users across Australia to provide more information and discussion of the estimates. Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) is a comprehensive description of the methods and concepts underpinning the national accounts.


For links to all national accounts related data and publications, recent national accounts changes and forthcoming events, relevant websites and a range of other information about the Australian National Accounts, please see the National Accounts Statistics homepage.

For more detailed information about the quality dimensions of the Australian National Accounts please see the Information Paper: Quality Dimensions of the Australian National Accounts, 2007 (cat. no. 5216.0.55.002).


Show all

ABRAustralian Business Register
ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ANZSIC06Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006 Edition
ASNAAustralian System of National Accounts
COEcompensation of employees
COFOG-AClassification of the Functions of Government - Australia
COICOPClassification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose
GDPgross domestic product
GFCEgovernment final consumption expenditure
GFCFgross fixed capital formation
HFCEhousehold final consumption expenditure
GNIgross national income
GOSgross operating surplus
GSPgross state product
GVAgross value added
HFCEhousehold final consumption expenditure
IMFInternational Monetary Fund
MFPmultifactor productivity
OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
SNASystem of National Accounts
SNA08System of National Accounts 2008 version
SUsupply and use
TAUtype of activity unit
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