Government Finance Statistics, Annual

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Statistics about finances of the general government and public corporation sectors for the various levels of government in Australia

Reference period
2020-21 financial year

Key statistics

In the year 2020-21:

  • General government net operating balance fell $37.7b from -$107.9b in 2019-20 to -$145.6b
  • General government borrowing was $193.0b
  • Total public sector borrowing was $212.4b
  • All Australia general government net debt (L2) reached 38.1% as a percentage of GDP

Unless indicated, all figures presented in this publication are current prices, original series.

Content published as web tables in previous Government Finance Statistics, Annual releases are available in the Key tables section of Data downloads below.

For the latest information on COVID-19 and economic support impacts, please visit the Government Finance Statistics quarterly publication.

One article is included in this publication:

Fiscal measures

Government finance statistics fiscal measures, original

2019-20 to

$m$m$m$m% change
Taxation revenue
 General government528,730559,981551,672593,1847.5%
Total revenue
 General government657,241696,297683,987730,7326.8%
 Public non-financial corporations84,12988,27492,400100,2498.5%
 Non-financial public sector (a) (c)710,525753,033746,092797,3626.9%
 Total public sector (b) (c)719,965765,039757,239810,8127.1%
Total expenses
 General government647,075679,708791,872876,35010.7%
 Public non-financial corporations91,22996,661101,606107,6606.0%
 Non-financial public sector707,378744,713863,180950,61210.1%
 Total public sector722,452762,160880,484968,72010.0%
GFS Net Operating Balance
 General government10,16616,589-107,885-145,618np
 Public non-financial corporations-7,100-8,387-9,206-7,411np
 Non-financial public sector3,1478,320-117,088-153,250np
 Total public sector-2,4882,879-123,245-157,908np
GFS Net Lending (+)/Borrowing (-)
 General government-23,597-24,132-151,460-192,958np
 Public non-financial corporations-17,153-19,219-18,396-14,344np
 Non-financial public sector-40,667-43,040-169,888-207,756np
 Total public sector-45,737-48,246-176,084-212,447np

np indicates this value not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

  1. The non-financial public sector comprises general government and public non-financial corporations.
  2. The total public sector comprises general government, public non-financial corporations and public financial corporations.
  3. The sum of individual levels of government or sectors may not agree with the non-financial public sector and total public sector figures due to transfers between level of government.

Net operating balance

All levels of general government net operating balance was -$145.6b in 2020-21.

Net Worth

Net worth for all levels of general government fell $8.5b to $679.5b in 2020-21 as the increase in liabilities was greater than the increase in assets. Commonwealth government drove the fall due to the large amount of debt securities issued through the year.

Net debt

All Australia general government net debt (L2) reached $787.7b or 38.1% of GDP in 2020-21. 

  1. L2 is comparable to government reporting of net debt under Australian accounting standards
  2. Using the GDP annual series as published in Table 36 in the December quarter 2021 issue of Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product.

Revisions and changes


Statistical revisions are carried out regularly in Government Finance Statistics (GFS) to reflect the most current information and data available.

Non-government school education historical revision

The ABS has reclassified payments to non-government schools in the 2020-21 annual GFS publication. The ABS recognise:

  • non-government schools as market producers (market, non-profit institutions)
  • government payments to non-government schools as the purchase of a service on behalf of households

Under the previous classification:

  • non-government schools were classified as non-market Non-Profit Institutions Serving Households (NPISH)
  • government payments to non-government schools were classified as a transfer to households

This result in a reclassification to benefits to households in goods and services in GFS. Commonwealth and state government financial reporting will continue to separately recognise their funding contributions to non-government schools.

The National Accounts will implement this change in the upcoming 2021-22 release.

Divergences with government fiscal reporting

Divergences between state and commonwealth government financial reporting and GFS may occur because of conceptual determinations and timing recognition differences, to ensure alignment with economic activity as measured across ABS macroeconomic statistics.

These differences primarily impact:

  • measures of government subsidies and other support payments to businesses and households
  • non-employee expenses
  • change in inventories

Accounting standard changes

From 1 July 2019, government financial reporting implemented the following Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) standard changes:

  • Leases (AASB 16)
  • Revenue recognition (AASB 15 & 1058)
  • Service Concession Arrangements (AASB 1059)

GFS outputs are consistent with the historical treatments, which has resulted in increased divergences between economic statistics publications and government financial reporting.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 impacted a range of GFS series over the preceding two years.

As new government policies were announced, the key policies and conceptual determinations were discussed in articles including:

Accrual of JobKeeper subsidy expenses

JobKeeper expenses are accrued in GFS and National accounts on a daily basis.

Timing recognition of the Boosting Cash Flows for Employers subsidy expense

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers expenses in GFS and National Accounts are recognised when the business receives payments after submitting activity statements and having met all requirements.

This recognition point causes a divergence between the Commonwealth government financial reporting and ABS macroeconomic statistics.

Previous catalogue number

 This release previously used catalogue number 5512.0.

Data downloads

Government Finance Statistics, Annual, 2020-21

Data files

Related releases

Taxation Revenue, Australia

Statistics about taxation revenue collected by the various levels of government in Australia

  • The 2020-21 issue of Taxation Revenue, Australia was published on 26 April 2022.

Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia

Statistics about government education revenues and expenses across jurisdictions and levels of government in Australia

  • The 2020-21 issue (final issue) of Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia was published on 26 April 2022.
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