Part B - Obtaining GFS data

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Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods
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In Australia, the financial accounts of the Commonwealth, and each state and territory government who present financial statements by institutional sectors used by the ABS are prepared in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standard AASB 1049: Whole of Government and General Government Sector Financial Reporting. This standard specifies the requirements for the whole of government general purpose financial statements and general government sector financial statements of each government. In GFS terms, the whole of government covers general government, public non-financial corporations and public financial corporations (i.e. the public sector) of the reporting government.


The harmonisation of the AGFS15 with the Australian Accounting Standards has assisted in the process of obtaining GFS data for Commonwealth, state and territory levels of government, and public corporations. AASB 1049 requires the principles and rules of the ABS GFS Concepts, Sources and Methods to be applied, and the disclosure of additional information such as reconciliations where other Australian Accounting Standards have been applied. Further discussion on the relationship with the Australian Accounting Standards can be found in Chapter 17 of this manual.


The ABS obtains the majority of quarterly and annual GFS data as electronic data files that are submitted at specified times during the fiscal year. Accounting data are mapped to a GFS basis at unit level of government by jurisdictions at the Commonwealth, and state and territory levels of government. Local government data is collected through a sample survey collection on a quarterly basis. Annual local government data is collected from financial information provided by the Departments of Local Government and this data is mapped by the ABS to the GFS framework. Data for universities and control not further defined units are collected separately. The GFS-classified data are supplied to the ABS for aggregation and further analysis. In these cases, the role of the ABS is one of assisting with GFS conversion of accounting data, coordinating the provision of data files, and editing the data before they are aggregated as GFS.


Data for some local government, public corporations and universities are not currently obtained through electronic data files. In these cases, the ABS obtains quarterly and annual financial statements manually through the dispatch of survey instruments or through the analysis of publicly available quarterly and annual financial statements. For data collected by these means the ABS performs the conversion of accounting data to a GFS basis before incorporating the data in GFS aggregates and national statistics.

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