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Statement 8: The Public Sector

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Appendix A: Size and Structure of the Public Sector

This Appendix provides an overview of the size and structure of Australia's public sector, to assist in interpreting the trends discussed elsewhere in this statement.

Chart A1: Contribution of Public and Private Sectors

Total Employment,
December 1999

Domestic Demand,
December Quarter 1999

Chart A1:  Contribution of Public and Private Sectors - Total Employment, December 1999

Chart A1:  Contribution of Public and Private Sectors - Domestic Demand December Quarter 1999

As shown in Chart A1, the public sector directly accounts for around 20 per cent of civilian employment and 23 per cent of final domestic demand2. The State/local level accounts for 83 per cent of total public sector civilian employment, reflecting its major responsibilities for service delivery - for example in the areas of education and health - and for infrastructure.

There are significant differences in the roles and responsibilities of the two main levels of government. Major Commonwealth expenses include transfer payments in relation to social security, welfare, health and defence expenditure. The Commonwealth also has an important role in funding education and health services provided by the States and the private sector. Major State/local expenses are in the areas of education, health, transport, and public order and safety.


2 Transfer payments by the Commonwealth - for example, income support - are not included in public final demand.

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