Australian Government, 2008‑09 Budget
Budget

Revisions to previously published data

Under the accrual GFS framework and generally under AAS, flows are recorded in the period in which they occurred. As a result, prior period outcomes may be revised for classification changes relating to information that could reasonably have been expected to be known in the past, is material in at least one of the affected periods, and can be reliably assigned to the relevant period(s).

The 2008‑09 Budget includes a number of changes to the presentation and measurement of historic series data, including:

  • the inclusion of revisions to historic series data by the ABS. This affects cash data up to 1998‑99;
  • back‑casting associated with changes to the accounting reporting framework resulting from changes to accounting policies in the 2008‑09 Budget;
  • deflating real spending growth by the consumer price index; and
  • improvements to the presentation of financial data by reporting historical net financial worth and including the goods and services tax as a Commonwealth tax.

These changes improve the accuracy and comparability of the data through time, increasing its relevance to users.

Revised Australian Bureau of Statistics data

The historic series data has been updated in the 2008‑09 Budget to include revisions by the ABS to cash data prior to the introduction of the accrual accounting framework.

Previously, cash data up to 1997‑98 was based on older ABS data measured under a cash accounting framework, which did not reflect revisions to the series made by the ABS in subsequent years. Cash data for 1998‑99 was based on data from a cash framework in the Final Budget Outcome 1998‑99. This data was not strictly comparable to the data for 1999‑2000 onwards, which was derived from the accrual framework.

The revised data eliminates the major differences between the calculation methodologies under the cash and accrual accounting frameworks through back‑casting, allowing more consistent comparisons to be made across years. The revisions affect all cash aggregates for the general government and non‑financial public sectors in the years up to and including 1998‑99. Accrual aggregates are not affected. The main changes compared to previously published data are:

  • the underlying cash balance has decreased slightly and payments and net interest payments have increased in most years up to 1998‑99 due to the inclusion of the interest component of superannuation related payments by the Australian Government general government sector in respect of accumulated public non‑financial corporations' superannuation liabilities, consistent with the treatment from 1999‑2000 onwards (for more information on this change refer to ABS cat. no. 5501.0.55.001 Government Financial Estimates, Australia, Electronic Delivery, 2002‑03);
  • non‑taxation receipts and payments have increased by equal amounts in all years up to 1998‑99 due to the 'grossing up' of receipts from sales of goods and services and sales of non‑financial assets, consistent with the treatment from 1999‑2000 onwards;
  • taxation receipts in 1998‑99 have decreased by $2.7 billion (and non‑taxation receipts have increased by the same amount) due to a reclassification of certain fees and fines from taxation to non‑taxation receipts, consistent with the treatment from 1999‑2000 onwards; and
  • net debt in 1998‑99 has worsened by $1.5 billion as a result of differences between the cash and accrual data collection methodologies.

Revisions due to changes to accounting policies in the 2008‑09 Budget

Under the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 (the Charter), the Government is required to prepare budget outcome financial statements based on two external reporting standards, being the ABS GFS and the AAS. The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has attempted to 'harmonise' their own standards with those issued by the ABS by releasing a new standard Whole of Government and General Government Sector Financial Reporting (AASB 1049) that the Charter requires the Government to apply.

Estimates for accrual aggregates have been revised due to the new accounting policy framework adopted in the 2008‑09 Budget. The major change is adopting defence weapons platforms as capital investment rather than expenses. This is consistent with AAS, and also represents an early adoption of the ABS's proposed revisions to GFS from 2009 in line with revised international standards (refer ABS cat. no. 5310.0.55.001 Information Paper: Introduction of revised international standards in ABS economic statistics in 2009). This has no impact on fiscal balance but improves net worth. The change has been back‑cast to 1999‑2000.

Further information on the revised accounting framework can be found at Appendix A of Budget Statement 3.

Deflating real spending growth by the consumer price index

The 2008‑09 Budget historic series shows real spending growth deflated by the consumer price index (CPI). Previously, the non‑farm GDP deflator was used.

The change from using the non‑farm GDP deflator to the CPI provides a more accurate depiction of real government spending growth, especially in the current economic climate. The increase in demand for commodities is leading to higher commodity prices and a higher terms of trade, causing the non‑farm GDP deflator to increase much more rapidly than the CPI. Therefore, deflating government spending by the non‑farm GDP deflator distorts trends in real spending growth.

For purposes of comparison, in the 2008‑09 Budget, real spending growth is calculated using both CPI and the non‑farm GDP deflator.

Improvements to the presentation of historic financial information

The 2008‑09 Budget includes further improvements to the presentation of historic financial information. These include:

  • the addition of net financial worth in the historic financial information. Net financial worth measures a government's net holding of financial assets, and is calculated as financial assets minus total liabilities. Net financial worth is a narrower measure than net worth as it excludes non‑financial assets, for example land and property. However, non‑financial assets are often less liquid and thus their exclusion provides a better indication of a government's financial position. It also avoids concerns inherent with the net worth measure about the valuation of some non‑financial assets and their availability to offset liabilities; and
  • the treatment of the goods and services tax as a Commonwealth tax as required by both ABS GFS and AAS.

Table 1: Australian Government general government sector receipts,
payments and underlying cash balance(a)

Table 1: Australian Government general government sector receipts, payments and underlying cash balance(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Receipts are equal to receipts from operating activities and sales of non‑financial assets.
  3. Payments are equal to payments for operating activities, purchases of non‑financial assets and net acquisition of assets under finance leases.
  4. Underlying cash balance is equal to receipts less payments less expected Future Fund earnings. For the purposes of consistent comparison with years prior to 2005‑06, Future Fund earnings should be added back to the underlying cash balance.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 2: Australian Government general government sector taxation
receipts, non‑taxation receipts and total receipts(a)

Table 2: Australian Government general government sector taxation receipts, non-taxation receipts and total receipts(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Receipts are equal to receipts from operating activities and sales of non‑financial assets.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 3: Australian Government general government sector net debt
and net interest payments(a)

Table 3: Australian Government general government sector net debt and net interest payments(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Net debt is equal to the sum of deposits held, advances received, government securities, loans and other borrowing, minus the sum of cash and deposits, advances paid and investments, loans and placements.
  3. Net interest payments are equal to the difference between interest paid and interest receipts.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 4: Australian Government general government sector revenue, expenses, net capital investment and fiscal balance(a)

Table 4: Australian Government general government sector revenue, expenses, net capital investment and fiscal balance(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Fiscal balance is equal to revenue less expenses less net capital investment.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 5: Australian Government general government sector net worth and net
financial worth(a)

 Table 5: Australian Government general government sector net worth and net financial worth(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Net worth is equal to assets less liabilities.
  3. Net financial worth is equal to financial assets less liabilities.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 6: Australian Government general government sector accrual
taxation revenue, non‑taxation revenue and total revenue(a)

Table 6: Australian Government general government sector accrual taxation revenue, non-taxation revenue and total revenue(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 7: Australian Government cash receipts, payments and surplus by institutional sector ($m)(a)

Table 7: Australian Government cash receipts, payments and surplus by institutional sector ($m)(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Receipts are equal to receipts from operating activities and sales of non‑financial assets.
  3. Payments are equal to payments for operating activities, purchases of non‑financial assets and net acquisition of assets under finance leases.
  4. These items exclude expected Future Fund earnings from 2005‑06 onwards. Expected Future Fund earnings are shown in Table 1.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

Table 8: Australian Government accrual revenue, expenses and fiscal balance by institutional sector ($m)(a)

Table 8: Australian Government accrual revenue, expenses and fiscal balance by institutional sector ($m)(a)

  1. Data has been revised in the 2008‑09 Budget to improve accuracy and comparability through time. See pages 10‑5 to 10‑7 for further information.
  2. Fiscal balance is equal to revenue less expenses less net capital investment. Net capital investment is not shown in this table.
  1. Estimates.
  1. Projections.

na  Data not available.

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