Part D - Availability of data

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Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods
Reference period


The number of detailed cross-classifications that could be provided from the GFS output database is potentially large but, in practice, is limited because input data are not always coded to the finest level in the classifications. Lack of information in source documents often makes coding to finer levels unachievable.


However, there is a specified minimum level in each classification to which all data are coded. Consistent maintenance of coding at this minimum level ensures that the most commonly sought output is always available. In the output database, this level is termed the ‘maximum level of output’ and is the finest level of detail available for all of the ‘output sectors’. Application of a minimum level of coding represents a compromise between the availability of data and the level to which GFS classifications can be applied consistently across the various sectors.


Despite source data limitations, a very large amount of data are potentially available from the output database. ABS GFS publications therefore include only a subset of the data potentially available. Available GFS data that is not published may be obtained for a fee (see section on the ABS Special Data Dissemination Service in this chapter).


The GFS output database contains data aggregated into over 150 output sectors. No data for individual units are held. Each output sector is a combination of one or more of the level of government, institutional sector and jurisdiction classifications (e.g. Commonwealth general government). Each output sector holds aggregated GFS flow and stocks data classified to the ABS economic type framework (ETF) and a crossclassification of the ETF and the Classification of Functions of Government – Australia (COFOG-A).


Each cell in the tables (apart from those marked ‘n.a.’) represents an aggregate for which data are available in the output database (provided they are not subject to closure for confidentiality reasons). Because of space limitations, the tables do not record every available aggregate; they show mainly aggregates that are included in ABS GFS publications. The content of the publications can vary and the tables should not be taken as a precise statement of the information included in the publications. Finer dissections of many of the ETF items are available – the classifications set out in this manual should be used as a guide as to the level of detail that might be available.


As indicated in the introduction, ABS GFS output is disseminated electronically on the ABS website ( A cost is charged by the ABS for 'special data services' which refers to the dissemination of data that are more detailed than the published data, or data tailored to a user’s particular requirements.

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