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Financial Performance of Government Trading Enterprises 1994-95 to 1998-99

Performance monitoring report

This report was released on 12 July 2000.

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  • Media release
  • Contents

The Productivity Commission released a report today on the financial performance of 63 Commonwealth, State and Territory government trading enterprises. These businesses have a combined revenue of $47.8 billion or 8 per cent of GDP.

The results of the study indicate that, financial management has generally continued to improve over recent years. Most businesses are now required to recover costs and pay dividends, debt guarantee levies and tax-equivalent payments as a means of imposing financial market disciplines for good governance and to ensure competitive neutrality. Governments generally identify community service obligations and meet their cost.

However, many businesses are consistently under-performing and still not achieving an adequate rate of return — despite a decade of reform. This is particularly so in the urban transport and rail sectors.

The Commission noted that the continued poor financial performance of some government businesses may have adverse implications for the efficient use of community resources, as well as the position of private sector competitors, suggesting the need for a closer examination of the underlying causes. Where poor performance is industry-wide, there may be a case for reviewing governance arrangements.

The study forms part of a continuing program of research into the performance of economic infrastructure industries and the impact of micro-economic reforms. It is the successor to a series of broader reports by the Steering Committee on National Performance Monitoring of Government Trading Enterprises, with the Productivity Commission as secretariat.

Cover, Copyright, Foreword, Contents, Abbreviations, Key Messages

1 Introduction and findings
1.1 Background
1.2 Data
1.3 Performance indicators
1.4 Implications of financial reporting for transparency and accountability
1.5 Effectiveness of financial reforms

2 Electricity
2.1 Sector reforms
2.2 Market environment
2.3 Profitability
2.4 Financial management
2.5 Financial transactions
2.6 GTE performance reports

3 Water, sewerage, drainage and irrigation
3.1 Sector reforms
3.2 Market environment
3.3 Profitability
3.4 Financial management
3.5 Financial transactions
3.6 GTE performance reports

4 Urban transport
4.1 Sector reforms
4.2 Profitability
4.3 Financial management
4.4 Financial transactions
4.5 GTE performance reports

5 Railways
5.1 Sector reforms
5.2 Market environment
5.3 Profitability
5.4 Financial management
5.5 Financial transactions
5.6 GTE performance reports

6 Ports
6.1 Sector reforms
6.2 Market environment
6.3 Profitability
6.4 Financial management
6.5 Financial transactions
6.6 GTE performance reports

7 Commonwealth GTEs

A Participating enterprises, 1998-99

B Definitions of financial performance indicators


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