The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

12 May 2009

NO.070

Government Announces Further Details of the Guarantee of State and Territory Borrowing

On 25 March 2009, the Rudd Government announced that it is taking action to support jobs and protect vital infrastructure development from the global recession by providing a time-limited, voluntary guarantee over state and territory government borrowing.

Today the Government is announcing further details of the Guarantee following consultations with the state and territory governments.

This important measure recognises that pulling back on critical nation building infrastructure investment now would hinder a recovery from the global recession, resulting in slower growth and higher unemployment into the future.

The global recession has severely constricted liquidity in state government bond markets. Supporting liquidity in these markets is critical to maintaining the capacity of state and territory governments to deliver on nation building investments.

Guarantee of State Borrowing

States and Territories will have 28 days from when they first apply to guarantee new issuances to decide whether to cover existing securities. This will allow States and Territories additional time to assess market conditions before determining whether they need to use the Guarantee.

The Guarantee will cover bond lines of a length up to 15 years including indexed securities and those that have cross default clauses. This will cover the majority of the States and Territories' actively traded stock and will support liquidity in the secondary bond market.

The fee for existing stock will be charged on the initial value of existing securities that are guaranteed, reduced each month based on the maturity profile of the stock when first guaranteed. This will allow States and Territories to support the secondary market by continuing to offer investors the ability to move along the yield curve by buying back existing securities and issuing replacement securities at no additional cost.

States and Territories will also be able to buy back guaranteed securities and either warehouse them without extinguishing the guarantee or extinguish both the securities and the guarantee over them.

Commencement

The Government will be introducing an appropriation bill into Parliament during the Winter sittings.

The Guarantee will commence once the bill receives Royal Assent and the Deed of Guarantee has been executed. This will provide confidence to investors and rating agencies that any potential claim under the Guarantee will be paid in a timely manner.

The Government is working closely with the state and territory governments to finalise the Deed of Guarantee and the Scheme Rules.

The Reserve Bank will administer the Guarantee and will publish and maintain information, including the Deed of Guarantee and Scheme Rules, on a website.

The Guarantee will continue in operation until market conditions normalise.

Further details on the Guarantee are provided in the Attachment.

CANBERRA
12 May 2009


ATTACHMENT

Details of the Guarantee of State and Territory Borrowing

The Commonwealth will execute a Deed of Guarantee in respect of the eligible borrowings of the States and Territories.  Details of the guarantee arrangements will be outlined in Scheme Rules.

As most States and Territories provide their own guarantee over the borrowings of their issuing entities, the Commonwealth will guarantee the obligations of the States and Territories in relation to the borrowings of their issuing entities, rather than the obligations of the issuing entities directly.

Where an issuing entity defaults, beneficiaries will therefore be required to make a claim under the State or Territory guarantee first.  Beneficiaries will be able to make a claim on the Commonwealth where the State or Territory has not paid out on a default by the issuing entity.

The guarantee of the obligations of the States and Territories in relation to the guaranteed borrowings of their issuing entities will be unconditional.  Legislation will be passed prior to the commencement of the Guarantee to provide a standing appropriation, enabling the Commonwealth to pay out immediately should there be a call on the Guarantee.

The States and Territories will be required to provide a counter indemnity in favour of the Commonwealth.

The Guarantee will be available for both existing and new issuances of securities, but will not extend to issuances denominated in foreign currencies.  The States and Territories will be able to apply for a guarantee over a bond line, rather than for each issuance of securities under a bond line.  They will then be able to issue securities into that bond line without a further application for the Guarantee until the Guarantee ceases to be available.

The Guarantee will cover bond lines of a length up to 15 years notwithstanding the length of Commonwealth Government Securities on issue.

The Guarantee will not cover securities which are deemed to be complex. Guidance on what will be considered complex will be provided on the Guarantee website.

However, the Guarantee will include indexed securities and those that have cross default clauses.

The Guarantee will not be able to be utilised for borrowings for non‑government owned entities.

The States and Territories will have 28 days to decide whether to cover existing securities from when they first apply to guarantee new issuances.

The Guarantee will continue in operation until market conditions normalise. The States and Territories will be able to continue to issue securities into guaranteed bond lines or to apply for a guarantee over new bond lines until this time.  The Commonwealth will determine when market conditions normalise and will provide notice to the State and Territories that the Guarantee will no longer be available for further issuances.

The Guarantee will continue to apply to securities that were issued under the Guarantee until those securities mature or are purchased back by the issuing entity and extinguished.

For long-term securities, the fee for existing stock will be charged on the initial value of existing securities that are guaranteed, reduced each month based on the maturity profile of the stock when first guaranteed.  This will allow the States and Territories to support the secondary market by continuing to offer investors the ability to move along the yield curve by buying back existing securities and issuing replacement securities at no additional cost.

The fee for short-term stock will be based on the value of securities outstanding and the number of days in the month it was on issue.

Credit Rating

Fee (existing stock)

Fee (new issuance)

AAA

15 basis points

30 basis points

AA+

20 basis points

35 basis points

If a State or Territory is downgraded below AA+, their existing fee structure will remain in place until a new fee is set.

States and Territories will be able to buy back guaranteed securities and either warehouse them without extinguishing the guarantee or extinguish both the securities and the guarantee over them.  The fee will continue to be payable on guaranteed securities which are warehoused, but the States and Territories will not be able to benefit from the Guarantee on holdings of their own securities.

The RBA will administer the Guarantee and will publish and maintain information, including the Deed of Guarantee and Scheme Rules, on the website www.stateguarantee.gov.au.

The Loan Council will provide an additional level of transparency and rigour to the operation of the Guarantee, as borrowing requirements will continue to be considered by the Loan Council through the Loan Council Nomination process. In particular, scrutiny via the Loan Council will ensure that the States and Territories have to account for their infrastructure spending.