Latest release

Government Finance Statistics, Australia

Statistics about finances of the general government and public non-financial corporations sectors for the various levels of government in Australia

Reference period
June 2020
Released
1/09/2020
Future releases
  • Next Release 1/12/2020
    Government Finance Statistics, Australia, September 2020
  • Next Release 2/03/2021
    Government Finance Statistics, Australia, December 2020
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • Taxation revenue increased 2.5% to $141,370m.
  • Expenses exceeded revenue resulting in a net operating balance of -$81,680m.
  • The GFS net lending(+)/borrowing(-) position was -$97,405m.

Main features

Key figures: all levels of general government, Government Finance Statistics (GFS)

In the June quarter 2020:

  • taxation revenue increased 2.5% to $141,370m
  • expenses exceeded revenue resulting in a net operating balance of -$81,680m
  • the GFS net lending(+)/borrowing(-) position was -$97,405m.
     
Download
Download

Table 1 - GFS key figures: all levels of government, original

   Mar Qtr 2020Jun Qtr 2020Mar Qtr 2020 to Jun Qtr 2020
   $m$m% change
Current Prices   
Taxation revenue   
 General government137 888141 3702.5
Total revenue   
 General government169 199170 5720.8
 Public non-financial corporations22 53423 5644.6
Total expenses   
 General government177 257252 25242.3
 Public non-financial corporations24 37726 1027.1
GFS Net operating balance   
 General government-8 058-81 680. .
 Public non-financial corporations-1 843-2 538. .
GFS Net lending(+)/borrowing(-)   
 General government-15 759-97 405. .
 Public non-financial corporations-5 033-5 186. .
. . not applicable
 

Quarterly national accounts public sector measures - key figures

The table below includes the key public sector aggregates for the June quarter 2020 which will be included in the Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0). The key figures shown include Government Final Consumption Expenditure for total general government and Gross Fixed Capital Formation for total general government and total public corporations, seasonally adjusted in current prices and chain volume terms.

The following are the seasonally adjusted chain volume measures based on the previous quarter:

  • public sector demand is expected to contribute 0.6 percentage points to the change in GDP in June quarter 2020.
  • general government final consumption expenditure increased by $2,823m or 2.9% and is expected to contribute 0.6 percentage points to the change in GDP in June quarter 2020.
  • general government gross fixed capital formation increased by $669m or 3.6%
  • public corporations gross fixed capital formation decreased by $419m or -7.2%
  • public gross fixed capital formation increased by $249m or 1.0% and is expected to contribute 0.1 percentage points to the change in GDP in June quarter 2020.
     
Download

Table 2 - Quarterly national accounts public sector measures - key figures, seasonally adjusted

   Sep Qtr 2019Dec Qtr 2019Mar Qtr 2020Jun Qtr 2020Mar Qtr 2020 to Jun Qtr 2020
   $m$m$m$m% change
Current Prices     
General government final consumption expenditure (a)     
 National - defence8 8278 8449 0349 5846.1
 National - non-defence32 47733 53034 14434 3400.6
 Total national41 30442 37443 17843 9231.7
 State and local55 47355 98157 47659 8884.2
 Total general government final consumption expenditure96 77698 355100 654103 8123.1
Public gross fixed capital formation     
 General government     
  National - defence2 9933 0922 7982 599-7.1
  National - non-defence2 3322 4392 4962 360-5.4
  Total national5 3255 5325 2944 959-6.3
  State and local14 26914 74014 32215 3847.4
  Total general government19 59420 27219 61620 3423.7
 Public corporations     
  Commonwealth2 2122 1051 9621 771-9.7
  State and local3 9533 6154 1743 947-5.4
  Total public corporations6 1655 7196 1365 719-6.8
 Total public gross fixed capital formation25 75825 99125 75226 0611.2
Total public demand122 535124 346126 406129 8732.7
Memorandum item     
 Net purchases of second-hand assets by public sector5587986181 338np
Chain Volume (b)     
General government final consumption expenditure (a)     
 National - defence8 4738 4678 6139 1306.0
 National - non-defence31 87132 84833 56233 5930.1
 Total national40 34541 31442 17642 7231.3
 State and local53 28653 51454 67856 9534.2
 Total general government final consumption expenditure93 63194 82896 85399 6762.9
Public gross fixed capital formation     
 General government     
  National - defence2 7052 7652 4802 254-9.1
  National - non-defence2 3192 4102 4752 332-5.8
  Total national5 0245 1754 9544 586-7.4
  State and local13 70214 12213 74914 7867.5
  Total general government18 72619 29818 70319 3723.6
 Public corporations     
  Commonwealth2 1282 0191 8791 694-9.8
  State and local3 7713 4373 9613 726-5.9
  Total public corporations5 8995 4555 8395 420-7.2
 Total public gross fixed capital formation24 62524 75324 54224 7911.0
Total public demand118 255119 581121 396124 4682.5
Memorandum item     
 Net purchases of second-hand assets by public sector5327635911 275np
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
a. See paragraph 35 of the Explanatory Notes in the Methodology for the relationship between general government final consumption expenditure and GFS aggregates.
b. Reference year for chain volume measures is 2017-18.
 

Quarters presented in this release

This release presents quarterly government finance statistics on an accrual accounting basis. All tables presented are for the general government sector, with the exception of Table 2 which presents data for the public non-financial corporations sector.

Detailed quarterly GFS are released for the current financial year only, other than in the September quarter, when the quarters of the previous financial year are presented. Users requiring data for earlier periods should consult the annual publication Government Finance Statistics, Australia (cat. no. 5512.0). The latest issue (2018-19) was released on 28 April 2020.

Government Finance Statistics are part of the broader suite of macroeconomic accounts produced by the ABS. They share their basic concepts with the National Accounts and Balance of Payments. The conceptual framework is agreed internationally and published by the International Monetary Fund. Macroeconomic statistics are compiled to enable macroeconomic analysis and the standards may differ from accounting standards in some regards.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 impacted a range of Government Finance Statistics series in the June quarter 2020. Key policies and conceptual determinations are discussed in the article Economic measurement during COVID-19: Selected issues in the Economic Accounts. During the quarter there was minimal impact on the collection of data used to produce Government Finance Statistics. More information on the impacts of extreme events on the Australian economy are discussed in the Australian Statistician - Analytical series. Further ABS data measuring the impact of COVID-19 can be found via abs.gov.au/covid19.

A timing difference in recording the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers support program will cause a divergence between the Commonwealth Government Final Budget Outcomes and ABS published Statistics.

What's new this quarter

Introduction of an Analysis section focusing on key Government Finance Statistics analytical series.

Two spotlight articles are included in this release:

  • Spotlight: Classifying COVID-19 policy interventions in macroeconomic statistics examines significant COVID-19 policies included in the June quarter 2020 Government Finance Statistics and how the ABS has classified them.
  • Spotlight: Impacts of COVID-19 on taxation revenue looks deeper into the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Commonwealth, State and Local Government taxation revenue.
     

Accounting standard changes

    The following Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) standard changes have been introduced in government financial reporting for periods from 1 July 2019 onwards, leading to increased divergence in certain circumstances between economic statistics publications and government financial reporting:

    • Leases (AASB 16): The standard removes the distinction between operating and finance leases on the lessee side of financial reporting. The conceptual distinction between operating and finance leases still remains in economic statistics. GFS outputs are consistent with the historical treatment.
    • Revenue recognition (AASB 15 & 1058): The standard requires revenue to be recognised when performance obligations are met in certain circumstances. In GFS the change primarily affects grant revenue received by state and territory governments from the Commonwealth. Recognition of grant revenue in GFS remains consistent with the historical treatment which is based on when jurisdictions have access to the funding as reported by the Commonwealth.
    • Service Concession Arrangements (AASB 1059): The standard impacts ownership of non-financial assets. It applies a control concept to determine non-financial asset ownership. Non-financial asset ownership in GFS is determined based off a risk-reward concept consistent with the historical treatment which has been maintained in economic statistics.
       

    Transactions related to visa application charges

      In December 2015, the Commonwealth Government released the 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) which included a reclassification of visa application charges (VAC). In MYEFO these charges are now treated as taxation revenue rather than sales of goods and services. This reclassification has been applied to the Government Finance Statistics (GFS), with no impact on total GFS revenue or the GFS net operating balance. The National Accounts statistics will maintain coherence with previously published data and classify this transaction as sales of goods and services. These treatments will remain in place until a review of the treatment of VAC across macroeconomic statistics has been completed.

      Inquiries

      For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, email client.services@abs.gov.au or email public.finance@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

      Analysis

      Net operating balance fell sharply as expenses outstrip revenue

      Total General Government net operating balance fell $97.9 billion (604.9%) through the year, a fall that is more than five times larger than the decline in September quarter 2009, during the global financial crisis.

      The Commonwealth government contributed majority of the fall, which reflects new economic support packages provided to businesses, workers, and households, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Download

      a. Commonwealth and State & Local Net Opertating Balance and not additive to All Australia Net Operating Balance due to consolidation and Multi-Jurisdictional University.
       

      Net operating balance diverges between state and local governments

      Total State and local government net operating balance fell 346.4% through the year to -$14.2 billion. There was great diversity in fiscal performance among the states and between local governments.

      State governments: the most significant falls were recorded in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, mainly driven by an increase in spending on subsidies and health services.

      Download

      Expenditure rose significantly driven by unprecedented Commonwealth government spending

      Total expenditure rose 43.5% through the year to $252.3 billion, reflecting the introduction of economic support programs such as JobKeeper Payment, Boosting cash flow for employers, and other COVID-19 related payments. Total revenue fell 11.1% through the year to $170.6 billion, with taxation revenue falling significantly as a result of weak economic activity.

      Download

      Taxation revenue fell 8.1% through the year

      Taxation revenue fell 8.1% through the year, as a result of decreases in company tax, personal income tax, combined with payroll tax relief provided to businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Download

      Growth in public investment remains steady

      Public investment rose 0.2% through the year. The levels of public investment by the Commonwealth government and most state and local governments remained steady compared to June quarter 2019.

      Download

      Net worth continues downward trend

      During June quarter 2020, General Government net worth declined $193.3 billion (61.3%) through the year as the increase in liabilities was greater than the increase in assets. Net financial worth decreased $256.9 billion (44.7%) through the year, with the Commonwealth government contributing to the majority of the fall. The large incurrence of liabilities is as a result of significant amounts of debt securities issued during the quarter and throughout the year to date.

      Download

      Spotlight - Classifying COVID-19 policy interventions in macroeconomic statistics

      Introduction

      The COVID-19 pandemic led to the fastest and largest fiscal response to an economic event in modern Australian history, with several hundred policy interventions announced across all levels of government. This article provides a summary of the conceptual classification of key COVID-19 policies that were in place in the June quarter 2020.

      The ABS undertook extensive consultation with stakeholders and subject matter experts to determine appropriate classifications. These classifications are based on well-established conceptual frameworks (footnote 1), which ensure consistent recording of these policies across macroeconomic statistics, particularly in relation to Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and the National Accounts (NA).

      Classification of COVID-19 policies

      The ABS classification of key COVID-19 policy interventions is summarised in Table 1 below (footnote 2).

      The policies are grouped into five broad categories (footnote 3):

      • Increased healthcare and frontline services spending
      • Provision of assistance to households
      • Provision of assistance to corporations, unincorporated enterprises and non-profit institutions
      • Relaxation of tax and non-tax revenue obligations
      • Capital injections, establishment of new, or extended, lending facilities and provision of guarantees
         

      Table 1 - Classification of COVID-19 policies across Commonwealth and state and territory levels of government

      Types of COVID-19 policiesExamples of policiesClassification in GFS and NA (footnote 4)
      Increased healthcare and frontline services spending
      Additional hospital fundingCommonwealth co-funding with states to cover additional hospital costsGFS: Current grants NA: Income accounts - Current transfers
      Additional spending on public sector workforceEmploying new medical staff to manage COVID-19 health response; Redeploying staff to manage quarantine and contact tracingGFS: Employee expenses NA: GDP (E) - Government final consumption expenditure, GDP (I) - Compensation of employees
      Additional spending on healthcare consumables, training, contractors and communicationExpenditure on personal protective equipment (PPE) including the National Medical Stockpile; COVID-19 communication campaigns; Cleaning of publicly owned assetsGFS: Use of goods & services, Change in inventories NA: GDP (E) - Government final consumption expenditure, Change in inventories
      New and accelerated infrastructure investmentFast-tracked purchases of ambulances and medical equipment; Infrastructure investment as economic stimulusGFS: Acquisition of new non-financial assets NA: GPD (E) - Public gross fixed capital formation
      Provision of assistance to households
      Cash payments to householdsEconomic Support Payments; JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement; Other hardship paymentsGFS: Current monetary transfers to households NA: Income accounts - Social assistance benefits
      Healthcare services provided to householdsExpanded telehealth services for Medicare; Home Medicines Services for PBS; Provision of free COVID-19 pathology testsGFS: Social benefits to households in goods and services NA: GDP (E) - Government final consumption expenditure
      Other rebates and support for householdsFree child care services; Additional aged care supplements; Rebates to households for electricity bills; Employment support servicesGFS: Social benefits to households in goods and services NA: GDP (E) - Government final consumption expenditure
      Access to superannuation savingsEarly release of superannuationGFS: No GFS classification is applicable NA: Financial account and Balance sheet - Net equity in pension funds
      Provision of assistance to corporations, unincorporated enterprises and non-profit institutions
      Wage subsidiesJobKeeper; Wage subsidies for apprentices; Aged care staff retention bonusGFS: Other subsidies on production NA: GDP (I) - Other subsidies on production
      Cash support payments to eligible producersBoosting Cash Flow for Employers; State based cash payments to businessesGFS: Other subsidies on production NA: GDP (I) - Other subsidies on production
      Other industry supportAustralian Airline Financial Relief Package; Creative Economy Support Package; Electricity rebates for businesses; Other targeted industry subsidiesClassifications vary depending on policy details GFS: Other subsidies on production, Subsidies on products, Current transfer expenses nec NA: GDP (I) - Total subsidies on production, GPD (P) - Subsidies on products, Income accounts - Other current transfers
      Relaxation of tax and non-tax revenue obligations
      Refunds, waivers and deferrals for various taxes, licenses and feesKey examples include GST, payroll and land tax; Other examples include liquor, gambling, fishing and stamp duty related policiesGFS: Sales of goods and services, Various taxes classifications NA: GDP (E) - Government final consumption expenditure, GDP (I) - Total taxes on production, GPD (P) - Taxes on products
      Investment incentivesIncreases and expansions to instant asset write-off policies for businessesGFS: Company tax NA: Income accounts - Current taxes on income
      Capital injections, establishment of new, or extended, lending facilities and provision of guarantees
      Loan guaranteesSME Guarantee SchemeGFS: Contingent liabilities NA: Not recognised
      Equity injectionsGovernment equity injections into public non-financial corporationsGFS: Equity including contributed capital NA: Financial account and Balance sheet - Shares and other equity
      Access to low cost loansRBA term funding facility for banks; Low-interest loans for local governmentGFS: Advances: Concessional or other NA: Financial account and Balance sheet - Loan and debt security markets (repurchase agreements)
      a. These frameworks are supported by international standards such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM 2014) and the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA).
      b. Table 1 summarises key policies with an impact on the macroeconomic accounts and does not cover every specific COVID-19 government policy in Australia.
      c. The categories are broadly based on the recommendations in “COVID-19: How to Record Government Policy Interventions in Fiscal Statistics” (IMF, 2020)
      d. NA includes the gross domestic product (GDP) accounts, which are measured using the expenditure approach (GDP (E)), the income approach (GDP (I)) or the production approach (GDP (P)). NA also includes income accounts, capital accounts, financial accounts and balance sheets.
       

      Reference

      IMF (2020), "COVID-19: How to Record Government Policy Interventions in Fiscal Statistics", Special Series on Statistical Issues in Response to COVID-19, IMF publication, viewed at https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/SPROLLs/covid19-special-notes

      Spotlight - Impacts of COVID-19 on taxation revenue

      The economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced taxation revenue for all levels of government, reflecting a combination of the adverse effect of the pandemic on businesses and households, and the policy responses of governments that reduced households’ and corporations’ tax obligations. More information is included in the Classifying COVID-19 policy interventions in macroeconomic statistics spotlight article.

      Commonwealth government taxation revenue

      Through the year to June Quarter 2020, Commonwealth Government taxes fell 7.5% ($9.6 billion). The key contributors were as follows.

      • 19.5% ($5.6 billion) fall in company income tax as a result of the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses. The largest falls were in the tourism, banking, superannuation and insurance sectors.
      • 2.2% ($1.4 billion) fall in personal income tax reflecting a fall in hours worked across the economy and weakness in capital gains taxes associated with subdued property and financial market conditions.
      • 6.9% ($1.1 billion) decline in Goods and Services Tax (GST). This was due to reduced consumer spending in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing.
      • 15.2% ($0.8 billion) decline in excise and levies as lockdowns and restrictions on interstate travel significantly reduced transport activities.
         
      Download

      State and local governments taxation revenue

      State and local governments implemented a range of COVID-19 tax relief policies, including:

      • payroll tax relief that either waived, refunded, deferred or reduced payroll tax obligations for businesses; and
      • land tax relief for landlords where tenants had their rent waived or deferred.
         

      State and local government taxation revenue fell 10.9% ($2.8 billion) through the year to June quarter 2020. The key contributors were as follows.

      • 27.3% ($1.7 billion) fall in payroll taxes across all State and local governments, reflecting tax relief and payroll refund policies. The greatest falls were in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
      • 16.0% ($1.3 billion) fall in taxes on the provision of goods and services associated with reductions in stamp duty on conveyances and gambling taxes.
        • Stamp duties on conveyances fell across all State and local governments, with New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria experiencing the greatest falls. The weakness reflected declines in property sales and prices across all states.
        • Gambling taxes fell across all state and local governments, with Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria experiencing the greatest falls. This decline was the result of COVID-19 restrictions across the country, which led to pubs, clubs and other licensed venues and casinos being closed for the majority of the June quarter.
           
      Download

      Data downloads

      Table 1 - Government Finance Statistics, Australia

      Previous catalogue number

      This release previously used catalogue number 5519.0.55.001.