Reporting by function is an internationally recognised means of reporting government activities for comparison purposes. It provides a useful means of understanding government outlays as it allows for the reporting of expenses according to their purpose.
Reporting by function was established by the International Monetary Fund (International Monetary Fund (IMF) Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001). In Australia, the functional classification is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) fourteen major functions published in the Australian System of Government Finance Statistics â Concept, Sources and Methods 2005 (Catalog number 5514.0).
The fourteen major functions reported are:
- General public services;
- Public order and safety;
- Social security and welfare;
- Housing and community amenities;
- Recreation and culture;
- Fuel and energy;
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing;
- Mining, manufacturing and construction;
- Transport and communication;
- Other economic affairs; and
- Other purposes.
This classification differs slightly to the IMF who recognise ten major functions. The IMF has amalgamated five Economic major functions into a single Economic Affairs major function and established of an Environmental Protection major function.
Expenses by function are published in the Budget Papers and the Final Budget Outcome, as well as the Australian Government monthly financial statements. A list of function codes can also be found on the Central Budget Management System (CBMS) website.