Unfunded superannuation claims

Latest release
Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods
Reference period
2020-21 financial year


15.133    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. Some government unfunded superannuation schemes have one component funded through direct employee contributions, and another (the employers' contributions) which is unfunded. Other government unfunded superannuation schemes comprise only an unfunded employer component.

Sources and methods - quarterly

15.134    Direct data sources are used to compile unfunded public sector superannuation claims. The outstanding liability in relation to unfunded superannuation claims is recorded as a liability in the general government sectors and as an asset in the pension fund and household sector.

15.135    The main data on National General Government by counterparties are obtained from balance sheet information from Commonwealth Government Ledgers from the Department of Finance and APRA Statement of Financial Position - Superannuation. The main data on State and Local General Government by counterparties are obtained from Government Finance Statistics. Unfunded superannuation claims have been recognised in government accounts since jurisdictions moved to accrual accounting. Prior to the change in accounting methods, the ABS developed a set of historical estimates for outstanding liabilities and changes in liabilities for national accounting purposes.

15.136    Transactions are derived as the difference in the balance sheet positions. When annual balance sheet positions are revised due to annual actuarial assessments, an estimate is derived for the actuarial adjustments and recorded as other volume changes and price changes.

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