1002.0 - Australian Statistics Advisory Council - Annual Report, 2002-03  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/11/2003   
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Contents >> Chapter 3 - The Year Ahead

Chapter 3 - The Year Ahead

2003-04 will be a challenging year for Council and for the ABS. The demand for statistics continues unabated and Council has a critical role in advising the Bureau on priorities in that regard.

During 2002-03 Council devoted some time to considering what are the big issues confronting society and policy makers and encouraging the ABS to look at available data sources and what new statistics might be needed to address those issues. Key issues identified by Council included:

  • social and economic impacts of Australia’s ageing population
  • factors influencing participation in the workforce
  • health and wellbeing
  • factors influencing productivity such as innovation, research and development and the knowledge based economy.

These issues will be high on the agenda for Council in 2003-04.

Many of the above issues are interrelated and it is in this regard that Council sees a key role for the development of IDPs, to the extent that they commence from the perspective of what are the key policy issues.

While Council recognises that there will be increasing demands on the ABS for relevant statistical information on these policy issues, it does not necessarily expect that the data needs will be met through new statistical collections conducted by the Bureau. In that regard, Council strongly supports the ABS’ role in developing a National Statistical Service. The concept of a National Statistical Service provides the potential to greatly increase the availability, accessibility and useability of information derived from key administrative and survey data sets. Council views it as being essential to sound policy formulation, research and decision-making. It is also essential that ABS provide strong statistical leadership in establishing the National Statistical Service.

In a similar vein, ASAC sees scope for the ABS to undertake analysis of a range of ABS and non-ABS datasets, and where appropriate the linking of data sets to provide deeper understanding of the data. Increasingly there will be a greater role for secondary data analysis and ABS efforts to support that will be closely monitored by Council.

The further development of IDPs and progress with the National Statistical Service will be topics of critical interest to Council during 2003-04.

During 2003-04 another key role for Council will be providing advice to the Statistician on the 2006 census. The census is the major statistical undertaking of the ABS. Given the comprehensive nature of the census there is inevitably more proposals for topics than can be accommodated within the resources available to the ABS. At the same time Council is mindful of the need to keep the workload imposed on the reporting public to reasonable levels.


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