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Financial performance

The National Archives, like all other government departments and agencies, is not funded by government for the non-cash expenditure items of depreciation and amortisation. The National Archives’ financial statements are however prepared in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards, which require the recognition of depreciation and amortisation expenses. This means that the bottom line operating position of the agency will almost always show a net loss.

For 2019–20, excluding depreciation and amortisation, the agency had a surplus of $17.0 million; the National Archives has not overspent, has operated consistently with the Commonwealth Financial Framework and its overall business operations have not exceeded the funding received from government, augmented by own sourced revenue.

With the inclusion of unfunded expenditure in depreciation and amortisation the agency reported a net loss of $17.0 million, which compares to a $14.1 million loss in 2018–19. The increase in the net loss, of almost $3 million, can be attributed to a change in the Australian Accounting Standards with regard to leases which had a non-cash impact and does not reflect a change in the financial operations of the National Archives.

The notes to the audited financial statements explain the key numbers, in particular, the commentary on variances to budget highlight specific events and reasons that impacted on results.

Statement of comprehensive income


Total income for 2019–20 was $77.1 million, an increase of $4.3 million from $72.8 million in 2018–19.

The increase in income was primarily due to increased revenue from government of $5.1 million as a result of appropriation received to cover additional rental and property operating expenses for the Mitchell (Sandford Street) storage facility refurbishment in the ACT.

The increase was offset by reduced revenue from sales of goods and rendering of services ($0.7 million) predominantly as a result of delays in spending against externally funded projects, which the National Archives only recognises as revenue when funding is expensed.


Total operating expenditure increased $7.2 million to $94.1 million in 2019–20 from $86.9 million in 2018–19.

There was a $23.2 million increase in depreciation and amortisation expenditure to $34.4 million in 2019–20 from $11.2 million in 2018–19, and in finance costs of $12.0 million from nil in 2018–19. This was primarily due to the implementation of new Australian Accounting Standard AASB16 – Leases.

The increase was offset by a decrease of $23.4 million in supplier expenses to $13.5 million in 2019–20 as a result of the implementation of the new Accounting Standard AASB16 – Leases. All operating lease expenses have been eliminated and replaced by depreciation and interest expenses (finance costs). COVID-19 has also affected the agency’s business activities by causing delays in expenditure.

Employee expenses decreased by $3.7 million to $33.7 million in 2019–20 due to a voluntary redundancy program undertaken in 2018–19, a lower average staffing level and an increased capitalisation of employee costs compared to the previous year.

Balance sheet


At 30 June 2020, the National Archives’ assets had increased by $0.489 billion to $2.034 billion from $1.545 billion at 30 June 2019.

The increase was mainly due to a recognition of building right-of-use assets ($486.3 million) as a result of the implementation of the new Accounting Standard AASB16 – Leases as at 30 June 2019.


The National Archives’ total liabilities increased by $483.9 million to $512.7 million at 30 June 2020 from $28.8 million at 30 June 2019.

The increase was primarily due to the recognition of lease liabilities of $495.1 million offset by a decrease in supplier payables of $12.8 million, resulting from the application of the new Accounting Standard AASB16 – Leases.


The National Archives’ total equity increased by $4.8 million to $1.521 billion at 30 June 2020 from $1.516 billion at 30 June 2019.

The net increase was driven by an increase of $8.2 million in contributed equity (departmental capital budget), an increase of $13.6 million being the net adjustment resulting from the elimination of lease straight-lining and lease incentives, offset by the deficit of $17.0 million recorded in 2019–20.