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Statement 8: Trends in Public Sector Finances

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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 2000

Domestic demand,
December quarter 2000


Total employment,December 2000


Domestic demand,December quarter 2000

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 demand.1 The State/local level accounts for 83 per cent of total public sector civilian employment and 17 per cent of total employment, reflecting its major responsibilities for service delivery in the areas of education, health, transport, and public order and safety.

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.

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

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