1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2003-04  
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Contents >> Section 6 - Appendixes >> Appendix 11 - Freedom of Information

As required by section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the following statement is provided on the structure of the ABS, and how members of the public can gain access to information held by the ABS.

Establishment, organisation and functions

Chapter 2 and Appendixes 1 and 3 of this report provide details on the role, structure and functions of the ABS.

Powers

The decision making powers of the ABS and other powers associated with the discharge of its functions affecting members of the public are:

  • the power to collect statistics, including the powers to request, or direct, persons to provide information, and to enter into premises other than private accommodation for the purpose of collecting statistics
  • the power to initiate prosecutions against persons for failing to supply information if directed
  • the power to publish statistics and release information.

Consultative arrangements

The role of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council, which is the peak consultative body for the ABS, is described in Chapter 2.

Categories of documents in the possession of the ABS are:

Documents open to public access upon payment of a fee: the ABS does not hold any of these types of documents.

Documents available for purchase or customarily available free of charge: the ABS has a wide range of statistical publications available for sale through its bookshops. The ABS also provides free access to its key publications through ABS libraries and major public libraries and access to a vast array of census data and other statistical information through its web site.

Other documents in the possession of the ABS are:

Government and parliament: various policy-related documents, ministerial briefings, ministerial correspondence, replies to parliamentary questions, and tabling documents.

Conferences, etc.: agenda papers, submissions, and records of proceedings of internal and external conferences, management meetings and workshops.

Statistical and statistical service projects: research, development and evaluation papers, records of consultations with suppliers and users of data, statistical classifications, lists of businesses, maps, data collection, processing and publication manuals and instructions and mailing lists.

Administration and management: work program and planning documents, finance, staff and establishment papers and manuals, personnel files, files relating to recruitment, selection and promotion of staff, staff development and training papers, office services documents and tenders.

Privacy: a record of the extent and nature of ABS holdings of personal information, as contained in the Personal Information Digest published by the Privacy Commissioner.

General: correspondence, papers, etc. filed by subject, manuals on more general subjects, reviews and administrative circulars.

A significant part of ABS information holdings is information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This information is exempt from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

ABS Freedom of Information (FOI) Activities

Matters relating to the operation of the Act within the ABS are the responsibility of the Policy Secretariat Branch in Central Office, and authority for decision making under the Act has been delegated to the Deputy Australian Statistician, Population Statistics Group, and the First Assistant Statistician, Corporate Services Division. Policy Secretariat Branch staff attend meetings of the FOI Practitioners' Forum run by the Australian Government Solicitor's Office.

The following table provides details of FOI activities during the years 1999-2000 to 2003-04 inclusive. One request was made to the ABS under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 during 2003-04.

Table 11.1 Freedom of information activities, (number)
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04

Requests received for
Statistical information
-
1
-
-
1
Personal papers
-
-
-
2
-
Administrative documents
2
-
-
-
-
Total
2
1
-
2
1
Decisions made
Access granted in full
1
-
-
-
1
Access granted in part
1
-
-
2
-
Request transferred to another agency
-
-
-
-
-
Request withdrawn
-
1
-
-
-
Access refused
-
-
-
-
-
Documents not in existence
-
-
-
-
-
Total
2
1
-
2
1
Decisions outstanding at end of year
-
-
-
-
-
Review of decisions by principal officer
-
-
-
-
-
Appeals to Administrative Appeals Tribunal
-
-
-
-
-



Where to get information

Freedom of Information Inquiries

All inquiries concerning access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 may be directed to the Freedom of Information Contact Officer, Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABS House, 45 Benjamin Way, Belconnen, ACT, 2616 (Locked Bag 10, Belconnen, ACT, 2616); telephone 02 6252 5557.

General Information

The ABS offers an initial contact point for all information requests:

Telephone 1300 135 070

Email client.services@abs.gov.au

Facsimile 1300 135 211

Mail Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney, NSW, 2001.



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