The National Statistical System
The evolution of institutional and legal arrangements has resulted in a National Statistical System for Australia that recognises there are many providers or potential providers of statistical services and the ABS has a responsibility to coordinate or lead the ‘system’. The arrangements are set out in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. Key components of the institutional and legal arrangements are as follows:
Some other providers of information, at the Australian, and state and territory government levels, have their own institutional and/or legal arrangements.
- by law, the ABS is the central statistical authority, responsible for the provision of statistical services to the Australian, State and Territory Governments and the community more generally
- the Australian Statistician has been given independence with respect to the operations of the ABS
- among its prescribed functions, the ABS has responsibility for coordinating the statistical activities of official bodies to avoid duplication in the collection of data; to maximise the comparability and integration of official statistics; and to ensure the greatest possible reuse of statistical information
- an Australian Statistics Advisory Council has been established to advise the Minister and the Australian Statistician on statistical priorities and the improvement, extension and coordination of statistical services.
The National Statistical System can be thought of as the set of providers of statistical services and the institutional and legal arrangements which govern their operations. The ABS is at the centre of this System. Although it has the authority to lead the System, it must do it through collaboration rather than direction.