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.
The functional classification used by the Australian Government is based on the ABS eleven major functions published in the ABS 2015 GFS manual. It comprises the following fourteen major functional categories disaggregated into sub-functional categories:
- 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
- other purposes.
This classification scheme differs slightly to the ABS which recognises eleven major functions. The ABS has amalgamated the following five economic major functions into a single economic affairs major function:
- agriculture, forestry and fishing;
- fuel and energy;
- mining, manufacturing and construction;
- communication; and
- other economic affairs.
In addition, transport and environmental protection are presented as separate major categories and social security and welfare is categorised as social protection.
Expenses by function are published in the Australian Government’s budget papers, final budget outcome and the monthly financial statements. Refer to functions and sub‑functions for a description of each function a list of what is included and excluded in each sub-function.