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Financial Performance of Government Trading Enterprises 1995-96 to 1999-00

Performance monitoring report

This report was released on 24 May 2001. The report provides valuable time series data on the financial performance by industry sector of Government businesses.

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  • Media release
  • Contents

The Productivity Commission has released a report on the financial performance of 63 Commonwealth, State and Territory government trading enterprises. In 1999-00, these businesses had a combined revenue of $51.1 billion and controlled assets valued at more than $133 billion.

The report provides valuable time series data on the financial performance by industry sector of Government businesses.

Governments have made substantial progress in creating a more commercial environment for government enterprises. Most businesses are now required to recover costs. They pay dividends, debt guarantee levies and tax-equivalent payments. This imposes financial market disciplines and ensures competitive neutrality. Governments generally identify community service obligations and meet their cost.

Notwithstanding progress towards a commercial basis of operation, the Commission found that many government businesses are earning low rates of return. Only railways and water enterprises have substantially improved profitability over the last five years - and even for these, profitability remains low. Commission Chairman, Gary Banks, said, 'The trends in financial performance suggest that it may be timely to review the objectives which governments have for their businesses and the appropriateness of the current governance and regulatory framework'.

This study forms part of a continuing program of research into the performance of economic infrastructure industries and the impact of microeconomic reforms.

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

1 Introduction and findings
1.1 Background
1.2 Data
1.3 Performance indicators
1.4 Performance measurement issues
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, 1999-00

B Definitions of financial performance indicators


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