Statistical revisions are carried out regularly in the Australian National Accounts, to reflect the most current information and estimation methods. For the December, March and June quarter National Accounts releases, the ABS limit revisions to the most recent quarters only. Annually, the ABS will apply revisions to a longer time series of selected estimates, which is referred to as a “historical revision". These revisions are first seen in the Annual National Accounts, and then in the September quarter release.
Historical revisions are important for several reasons including improved data quality, to update classifications and to improve international comparability.
Historical revisions in the National Accounts have traditionally been undertaken on an ad-hoc basis. This involved holding back individual historical revisions until a time where many changes were put through in bulk. From 2021, the ABS adopted a policy of implementing targeted annual historical revisions. This is to ensure that the National Accounts use the most up to date data available which best captures changes in a dynamic economy and is more responsive to user needs. The ABS will advise users on planned historical revisions in advance of publication.
The Annual National Accounts Supply-Use introduce revisions for the three open years as part of the standard benchmarking process. As such, the impact of the historical revisions can be difficult to isolate for the ‘open’ three years.
The 2023 round of revisions incorporates four major historical revision improvements, as well as a suite of minor corrections that had minimal impact on key National Accounts aggregates.
Incorporating Census data into Rent estimates
The ABS has aligned the value of household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) on Rent with estimates from the 2021 Census for the period 2016-17 to 2020-21 (inclusive). The rent series in the National Accounts is updated every five years when the latest Census data is available. In the intervening years, rent estimates are produced using indicators based on information of the number of dwellings in Australia from the Building Activity Survey (BACS) and information on rental price growth in capital cities from the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Victorian Capital Assets Charge (CAC) reclassification
The ABS has reclassified payments and receipts related to the Victorian Capital Asset Charge (CAC) across impacted sectors. The CAC was previously classified as Sales of goods and services revenue received by the General Government (GG) sector and has now been reclassified to Other taxes on production. These changes bring the National Accounts in alignment with Government Finance Statistics as detailed in the April 2023 Government Finance Statistics 2021-22 annual publication.
Improvements to Finance industry estimates
The ABS has improved the treatment of personal and loan dwelling balances, offset accounts, “buy now, pay later” services and the International Investment Financial Intermediation Services Indirect Measured (FISIM) model in the Finance industry estimates, in addition to updated source data.
Reclassification of several software businesses
An individual business entity is assigned to an industry based on its predominant activity according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). The ABS routinely reviews the ANZSIC classification of business entities to ensure they are classified to the correct industry for statistical purposes. A targeted review of businesses in the software design and software publishing industries has resulted in a shift of economic activity between industry estimates in the National Accounts, particularly from ANZSIC 7000 Computer system design and related services (in Division M Professional, scientific and technical services) to ANZSIC 5420 Software publishing (in Division J Information media and telecommunications).
The suite of 2023 historical revisions appear in the following economic releases:
Australian System of National Accounts, 2022-23 - 27 October 2023
Australian National Accounts: State Accounts - 21 November 2023
Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, September quarter 2023 - 6 December 2023
Estimates of Industry Level KLEMS Multifactor Productivity, 2021-22 financial year– 15 November 2023
Estimates of Industry Multifactor Productivity, 2022-23 financial year – 13 December 2023
Updates to the HFCE rent series in the National Accounts will flow through to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Selected Living Cost Indexes (SLCIs) via the annual re-weighting process. The new weights will be implemented in the monthly CPI indicator in January 2024 and will apply from the March quarter 2024 for the quarterly CPI and SLCIs.