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Comparing Australian commonwealth, state and territory budget balance numbers

journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Graeme Wines, Helen ScarboroughHelen Scarborough
This article presents the findings from a case study of the 2004–05 annual budgets prepared by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments of Australia. The study examined the headline budget balance (general government sector surplus or deficit) announced in the budget papers and speeches of each of the nine governments. Findings indicate the adoption of varying measurement bases and a consequent lack of comparability in the headlined budget balance numbers. Accounting reforms have resulted in adoption of two different systems of accrual accounting by governments — the Government Finance Statistics (GFS) system and the professional Australian Accounting Standards (AAS) system — which provide significantly different measurements of the budget balance. However, there has been no prescription of the manner in which these alternative measures should be presented. This raises a number of questions from an accounting perspective.

History

Journal

Australian journal of public administration

Volume

65

Issue

3

Pagination

74 - 89

Publisher

Australian Regional Groups of the Royal Institute of Public Administration

Location

Sydney, N.S.W.

ISSN

0313-6647

eISSN

1467-8500

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, National Council of the Institute of Public Administration Australia

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