Budget Treatment of Future Fund Earnings and Costs

The Future Fund's gross earnings were excluded from the underlying cash balance from its establishment in 2006 until 2012-13. Gross earnings were excluded on the basis that Future Fund earnings, while accounted for as Government receipts, were not available for recurrent spending but were instead quarantined and reinvested to meet the Government’s unfunded superannuation liabilities. 

While the Future Fund’s gross earnings were excluded from the underlying cash balance, its operational costs were included in the underlying cash balance. 

In the 2012-13 Budget, the Government announced a review of the budget treatment of the Future Fund regarding the issue of whether net earnings should be excluded from the calculation of the underlying cash balance. The review questioned whether both Future Fund’s earnings and costs should be excluded from the underlying cash balance. Previously gross earnings only had been excluded.

Following consultation with stakeholders, the Government announced in the 2012-13 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook that the Future Fund’s net earnings would be excluded from the calculation of the underlying cash balance. This was considered appropriate as the Fund’s earnings are required to be reinvested to meet future superannuation payments, and the Future Fund is required to meet all of its operating costs from its earnings. This means Future Fund earnings and costs are treated consistently in the calculation of the underlying cash balance.

As a result of this change in budget treatment, the historical series for the Australian Government fiscal aggregates was revised to account for Future Fund net earnings in the underlying cash balance.

A summary of the outcomes of the review conducted in 2012-13 is available at Budget Treatment of Future Fund Costs in the Australian Government Budget and Financial Documents [PDF 116KB].

From 1 July 2020, the net earnings of the Future Fund will be included in the underlying cash balance regardless of whether drawdowns to meet unfunded superannuation liabilities have commenced at that time. 

Contact information on this page: Financial Management Branch

Last updated: 12 October 2017