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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 2021
Released
31/08/2021
Future Releases
  • Next Release 30/11/2021
    Government Finance Statistics, Australia, September 2021
  • Next Release 1/03/2022
    Government Finance Statistics, Australia, December 2021
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In the June quarter 2021:

  • total taxation revenue increased 18.1% to $171.5b
  • general government net operating balance rose $23.4b from -$20.8b in March quarter 2021 to $2.6b
  • general government borrowing was $15.6b

Main Features

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

One article is included in this release:

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Table 1 - Quarterly key figures
 Sep Qtr 2020Dec Qtr 2020Mar Qtr 2021Jun Qtr 2021

Mar Qtr 2021 to
Jun Qtr 2021

 $m$m$m$m% change
Public sector measures, seasonally adjusted, chain volume (a) (b)
 General government final consumption expenditure (c)103,777104,484104,203105,5431.3%
 General government gross fixed capital formation19,55320,36421,30323,1038.4%
 Total public gross fixed capital formation25,61726,36127,18829,1907.4%
Key fiscal aggregates, all levels of general government, original
 Taxation Revenue127,403148,913145,154171,49618.1%
 Net Operating Balance-93,275-38,070-20,7602,632np
 Net Lending (+)/borrowing (-)-100,512-49,799-30,745-15,647np

np indicates this value not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) Public sector aggregates for the June quarter 2021 will be included in the Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product
(b) Reference year for chain volume measures is 2018-19.
(c) See Explanatory Notes for the relationship between general government final consumption expenditure and GFS aggregates.

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  1. Chain volume measures seasonally adjusted
  2. using the GDP series as published in the March 2021 release of Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product
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  1. original, current prices

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 impacted a range of Government Finance Statistics series in the June quarter 2021. Key policies and conceptual determinations are discussed in the article Classifying COVID-19 policy interventions during June quarter 2021 in macroeconomic statistics. Further ABS data measuring the impact of COVID-19 can be found via abs.gov.au/covid19.

The accelerated roll out of COVID-19 vaccines contributed to growth in government final consumption expenditure this quarter. Other health care spending remained elevated due to ongoing COVID-19 health response expenditure on frontline staff and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Timing differences in recording Commonwealth Government subsidy expenses result in divergence between the Commonwealth Government financial reporting and ABS published macroeconomic statistics.

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) from sales of goods and services to taxation revenue. This reclassification was applied to the Government Finance Statistics (GFS), with no impact on total GFS revenue or the GFS net operating balance. The National Accounts statistics maintained coherence with the previous treatment of sales of goods and services.  A review of the treatment of VAC across ABS macroeconomic statistics has been completed and the National Accounts will adopt the taxation treatment, thus coming into alignment with GFS and the Commonwealth. National Accounts statistics will adopt this treatment from 2020‑21 annual and September quarter 2021 outputs.

ABS public sector unit classification decisions

Since the last publication, the ABS has published an article which describes the concepts and process the ABS follows to reach classification decisions for public sector units:

Key Tables

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Quarterly national accounts public sector measures - key figures

The table below includes the key public sector aggregates for the June quarter 2021 which will be included in the Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product. The key figures shown include Total Public Demand, 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 0.7 percentage points to the change in GDP in June quarter 2021.
  • general government final consumption expenditure increased by $1,340m or 1.3% and is expected to contribute 0.3 percentage points to the change in GDP in June quarter 2021.
  • general government gross fixed capital formation increased by $1,800m or 8.4%.
  • public corporations gross fixed capital formation increased by $201m or 3.4%.
  • total public gross fixed capital formation increased by $2,002m or 7.4% and is expected to contribute 0.4 percentage points to the change in GDP in June quarter 2021.
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Table 2 - Quarterly national accounts public sector measures, key figures, seasonally adjusted
 Sep Qtr 2020Dec Qtr 2020Mar Qtr 2021Jun Qtr 2021Mar Qtr 2021 to
Jun Qtr 2021
$m$m$m$m% change
CURRENT PRICES
General government final consumption expenditure (a)
 National-defence9,6479,3449,5749,7601.9
 National-non-defence37,18238,42437,56438,5082.5
 Total national46,82947,76847,13948,2682.4
 State and local59,56159,94260,35661,1921.4
 Total general government final consumption expenditure106,390107,710107,494109,4601.8
Public gross fixed capital formation
 General government
  National-defence2,4772,4922,4242,5214.0
  National-non-defence2,4182,2882,3372,289-2.1
  Total national4,8954,7804,7614,8101.0
  State and local14,75615,61016,42018,30211.5
  Total general government19,65120,38921,18123,1129.1
 Public corporations
  Commonwealth2,0531,9791,8221,9406.5
  State and local4,1674,1884,2434,4484.8
  Total public corporations6,2196,1676,0656,3885.3
 Total public gross fixed capital formation25,87026,55627,24529,5008.3
Total public demand132,260134,267134,739138,9603.1
Memorandum item
 Net purchases of second hand assets by public sector6267206571,522np
 
CHAIN VOLUME (b)
General government final consumption expenditure
 National-defence9,3368,9869,1529,2350.9
 National-non-defence36,38737,31436,69037,2701.6
 Total national45,72346,29945,84246,5041.4
 State and local58,05458,18458,36159,0381.2
 Total general government final consumption expenditure103,777104,484104,203105,5431.3
Public gross fixed capital formation
 General government
  National-defence2,4122,5112,5412,6534.4
  National-non-defence2,4202,2972,3512,288-2.7
  Total national4,8324,8084,8934,9411.0
  State and local14,72115,55616,41118,16310.7
  Total general government19,55320,36421,30323,1038.4
 Public corporations
  Commonwealth2,0091,9341,7761,8574.5
  State and local4,0554,0644,1084,2303.0
  Total public corporations6,0655,9985,8856,0863.4
 Total public gross fixed capital formation25,61726,36127,18829,1907.4
Total public demand129,394130,845131,391134,7322.5
Memorandum item
 Net purchases of second hand assets by public sector6187086421,475np

— nil or rounded to zero
np indicates this value not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) See Explanatory Notes for the relationship between general government final consumption expenditure and GFS aggregates
(b) Reference year for chain volume measures in 2018-19 = 100.0

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Table 3 - Government Finance Statistics, key figures, original
 Sep Qtr 2020Dec Qtr 2020Mar Qtr 2021Jun Qtr 2021Mar Qtr 2021 to
Jun Qtr 2021
$m$m$m$m% change
Taxation revenue
 General government127,403148,913145,154171,49618.1%
Total revenue
 General government160,112180,483177,335207,24116.9%
 Public non-financial corporations23,44824,55323,40825,3418.3%
Total expenses
 General government253,387218,553198,095204,6093.3%
 Public non-financial corporations25,29326,78524,24727,10711.8%
GFS Net Operating Balance
 General government-93,275-38,070-20,7602,632np
 Public non-financial corporations-1,846-2,232-838-1,766np
GFS Net Lending (+)/Borrowing (-)
 General government-100,512-49,799-30,745-15,647np
 Public non-financial corporations-4,994-3,340-542-5,140np

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

Analysis

Unless otherwise specified, percentage changes shown below are through the year.

Net operating balance recovery continued

All levels of government (herein referred to as total) net operating balance continued to recover this quarter, increasing $23.4 billion for June quarter 2021 to $2.6 billion. Through the year, it was $87.2 billion higher than June quarter 2020.

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  1. Commonwealth and State & Local Net Operating Balance are not additive to All Australia Net Operating Balance due to consolidation and the inclusion of public universities

Total expenses fell since June quarter 2020

Total expenses fell 19.7% from June quarter 2020 to $204.6 billion, however increased 3.3% from March quarter 2021.

Government spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency continued to decrease through the year after unprecedented expenses in June quarter 2020. The cessation of Commonwealth government payments as business conditions generally improved drove the decline in total expenses.

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has contributed to expenses increasing since March quarter.

Total revenue rose since June quarter 2020

Total revenue increased $37.1 billion (up 21.8%) through the year and increased $29.9 billion (up 16.9%) since March quarter 2021.

The strength in revenue was driven by total taxation revenue reaching record levels.

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State and local net operating balance recovered

State and local general government net operating balance recovered both through the year and from March quarter 2021, with all jurisdictions improving their net operating balance over these periods. Increases in taxation, capital grants and sales of goods and services revenue drove these improvements. Expenses moderated across most state and local governments as business conditions improved and COVID-19 restrictions eased.

Total state and local general government net operating balance is $5.6 billion, an increase of $20.2 billion. All states except Victoria recorded a positive net operating balance in June quarter 2021. Queensland (up $6.2 billion) and New South Wales (up $5.4 billion) drove the $20.2 billion recovery in total state and local general government net operating balance.

Total state and local general government net operating balance increased $10.8 billion from March quarter 2021, driven by Queensland (up $3.9 billion) and New South Wales (up $2.5 million).

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Taxation revenue surpassed pre-pandemic levels

Taxation revenue grew 21.5% to $171.5 billion, following a revised increase of 5.3% recorded in the March quarter 2021. The through the year growth rates for some taxation categories have a low base in June quarter 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts. This includes categories such as company income tax, GST, payroll taxes, stamp duties on conveyances and taxes on gambling.

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Commonwealth taxation revenue at record levels

Total Commonwealth government taxation revenue grew 19.0% (up $22.5 billion). Strength in capital gains taxes levied on enterprises was driven by company income tax (up 37.2% or $8.6 billion) and income tax paid by superannuation funds (up $3.1 billion). Growth reflected continued improvement in business conditions, an increase in commodities prices, and strong financial markets.

Goods and services tax (GST) rose 42.4% (or $6.2 billion) following strong retail trade growth and housing investment.

Personal income tax grew 4.9% (up $3.0 billion) following improved employment conditions. Strength was partly offset by changes to personal income tax rates introduced in the December quarter 2020.

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State and local government taxation revenue at record levels

Total state and local government taxation revenue rose 33.9% (up $7.8 billion). Strength in stamp duties on conveyances (up 84.6% or $3.5 billion) reflected increases in the volume of transfers and rising property prices. Gambling tax continued to rise (up $1.3 billion), reflecting the continuation of pubs, clubs and venues being open in all states.

Growth in payroll tax (up 46.8% or $2.2 billion) reflected strong business conditions and the cessation of payroll tax waivers introduced at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Payroll tax strength was partly offset by tax threshold changes in various states and a decrease in the payroll tax rate in NSW.

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Public investment in new assets continued to lift

Total public investment in new assets(a) grew strongly through the year to June quarter 2021, rising by 14.5% ($4.1 billion). General government increased by 16.7% ($3.7 billion), led by Commonwealth defence.  State and local general government also recorded broad strength across most jurisdictions, with strong growth observed in Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, reflecting increased budgetary spend and stimulus measures related to road, rail, health and education projects. Public corporations also contributed strength, increasing 6.5% ($0.4 billion), driven by increases in Western Australia and New South Wales.

  1. Includes acquisitions of new non-financial fixed produced assets. Second-hand asset acquisitions and sales between sectors are excluded from this measure.
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Graph 10 - Public investment in new assets, state and local general government, through the year percentage change

Loading map...

This map represents the through the year percentage (%) growth in new purchases of non-financial assets by state & local general government by state to June quarter 2021:

  • New South Wales 10.2%
  • Victoria 19.2%
  • Queensland 13.7%
  • South Australia 64.7%
  • Western Australia 22.0%
  • Tasmania 21.9%
  • Northern Territory -3.0%
  • Australian Capital Territory 72.3%

Net worth falls due to increased borrowing liabilities

Total general government net worth decreased by $27.0 billion in June quarter 2021 to $33.0 billion. An increase in liabilities drove the change while assets remained relatively flat. Commonwealth and state governments increased borrowing levels through debt securities and loans to continue funding infrastructure projects and ongoing economic recovery measures. General government net worth decreased $108.4 billion through the year.

Net financial worth was -$956.6 billion, a fall of $52.0 billion from the March quarter 2021 estimate and a decrease of $150.8 billion from June quarter 2020.

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University revenue recovered while expenditure continued to fall

University sector total revenue increased 13.4% ($0.9 billion). Current grants and subsidies drove the increase in revenue. Sales of goods and services also rose.

Capital investment programs of most Australian universities continued to be impacted by the ongoing postponement or cancellation of new infrastructure projects. New capital purchases fell 24.5% (down $0.2 billion).

Universities implemented a range of cost cutting measures over the past year. This continued to place downward pressure on operating expenses this quarter, which fell by 2.0% ($0.2 billion). Redundancies made in prior quarters resulted in lower staff levels and a reduction in wages and salaries compared to June quarter 2020.

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Data downloads

Table 1 - Government Finance Statistics, Australia

Future changes to the format of data downloads

Future issues of this publication will contain data downloads in Excel spreadsheets with the new file extension of .XLSX rather than the current .XLS format.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5519.0.55.001.