Australia - Public finance



The fiscal year begins 1 July and ends 30 June. After World War II, the Commonwealth government assumed greater responsibility for maintaining full employment and a balanced economy, as well as for providing a wide range of social services. Social security and welfare payments are the largest category of government expenditure. The central government has financed almost all its defense and capital works programs from revenue and has made available to the states money raised by public loans for public works programs. Deficits are common. In the latter half of the 1980s, however, five consecutive years of significant surpluses occurred as a result of expenditure restraints. The late 1990s also saw consistent surpluses. In 2000, the government implemented a 10% goods and services tax (GST) on all items, while income tax and corporate tax rates were cut.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2000/2001 Australia's central government took in revenues of approximately $86.8 billion and had expenditures of $84.1. Overall, the government registered a surplus of approximately $2.7 billion. External debt totaled $176.8 billion.

The following table shows an itemized breakdown of government revenues and expenditures. The percentages were calculated from data reported by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar amounts (millions) are based on the CIA estimates provided above.

Australia

REVENUE AND GRANTS 100.0% 86,800
Tax revenue 91.0% 78,983
Non-tax revenue 8.1% 7,044
Capital revenue 0.9% 773
EXPENDITURES 95.2% 80,088
General public services 6.7% 5,651
Defense 6.7% 5,606
Public order and safety 0.8% 697
Education 7.3% 6,118
Health 14.1% 11,862
Social security 33.8% 28,403
Housing and community amenities 1.2% 974
Recreation, cultural, and religious affairs 0.9% 780
Economic affairs and services 5.8% 4,878
Other expenditures 12.5% 10,544
Interest payments 5.4% 4,575

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