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Budget 2014 Home Page Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2014

Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets

Contingent liabilities are possible costs that have arisen from past events, but the amount of the liability, or whether it will eventuate, will not be confirmed until 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 debt. In the case of contingencies for uncalled capital, the negative impact would be restricted to core Crown 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 aggregated in the “other quantifiable” total.

Some contingencies of the Crown are not able to be quantified. We have disclosed all unquantifiable contingent liabilities and unquantifiable contingent assets that are not expected to be remote.[14]

Contingent liabilities have been stated as at 31 March 2014, being the latest set of reported contingent liabilities.


  • [14]Remote is defined as being an item with less than a 10% chance of occurring.
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