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Budget 2012 Home Page Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2012

Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets

Contingent liabilities are costs that the Crown will have to face if a particular event occurs, or present liabilities that are unable to be measured with sufficient reliability to be recorded in the financial statements (unquantifiable liabilities).

Typically, contingent liabilities consist of guarantees and indemnities, uncalled capital and legal disputes and claims. The contingent liabilities facing the Crown are a mixture of operating and balance sheet risks, and they can vary greatly in magnitude and likelihood of realisation.

In general, if a contingent liability were realised, or the amount becomes sufficiently reliable to record as a liability, it would reduce the operating balance and net worth, and increase net debt. In the case of the contingencies for uncalled capital, the negative impact would be restricted to net debt because the cost would be offset by the acquisition of capital.

Where contingent liabilities have arisen as a consequence of legal action being taken against the Crown, the amount shown is the amount claimed and thus the maximum potential cost. It does not represent either an admission that the claim is valid or an estimation of the amount of any award against the Crown.

Contingent assets are possible assets that have arisen from past events but the amount of the asset, or whether it will eventuate, will not be confirmed until a particular event occurs.

Only contingent liabilities and contingent assets involving amounts of over $100 million are separately disclosed. Quantifiable contingencies less than $100 million are included in the “other quantifiable” total.

Some contingencies of the Crown are not able to be quantified. We have disclosed all unquantifiable contingent liabilities and contingent assets that are not expected to be remote.

Contingent liabilities and contingent assets have been stated as at 31 March 2012, being the latest set of reported contingencies.

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