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A key concern identified by stakeholders during the NASR project was the burden that survey activity places on respondents, particularly farmers, who take on this load in addition to a range of other regulatory and administrative requirements.
Farmers may receive multiple survey forms from a number of different organisations, with limited time to respond. Not only is this inefficient for farmers, it can impact on the survey quality as increased reporting burden can lead to increased disengagement from survey activity. This may result in lower response rates which impacts on the quality and usefulness of the statistics. The lack of quality data can then lead various agricultural organisations to undertake extra survey activity to fill the quality gap, further increasing the burden on farmers.
There was also a range of concerns identified in relation to the quality of statistics in the Australian agricultural statistical system, particularly accuracy and timeliness.
One of the main outcomes of the review was the Enduring Goals for Australian Agriculture Framework. These goals cover the economic, social and environmental aspects of Australian agriculture and they are designed to be stable - subject to minimal change - over the next twenty plus years.
The five goals for the agriculture statistics framework are:
A range of opportunities and innovations were identified in the review consultation, including:
THE NEXT STEPS FOR AUSTRALIA'S AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM
Overall, the review has been an extensive assessment of Australia’s agricultural statistical system, working with stakeholders across all sectors to identify the core information needs of Australia's agricultural industry, and assessing the ability of the system to meet these needs.
In undertaking the review, both ABS and ABARES gained an improved understanding of the statistics that each agency produces, respective processes and methods, and their roles in contributing to the Australian agricultural statistical system.
The research into current best practice in agricultural statistical systems has identified opportunities for establishing a modern, adaptive and responsive agricultural statistical system for Australia's future.
ABS and ABARES are now well-placed to lead the system towards this future vision. Both agencies will continue their collaboration, building on the findings of the review and further improving the collaborative relationships built with agricultural data stakeholders.
The ABS will work with ABARES and other stakeholders across the agriculture statistical system to address the issues identified through the NASR for the 2015-16 Agricultural Census.
The ABS acknowledges the input of the 40-plus government and industry organisations that participated in the review forums, as well as the ongoing support of ABARES in conducting this review.
'Three key outcomes from the review are the definition of the enduring goals as a conceptual framework, the paradigm shift of going to administrative data as a first port of call, and the focus on increased utilisation of technologies through the statistical cycle. In addition, the enthusiasm for much greater collaboration and coordination not only between ABS-ABARES but with the wider industry stakeholder group will lead to better outcomes for the system and its users.'
Dr John Sims, Senior Principal Scientist, ABARES, Department of Agriculture
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