The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) establishes its work program in response to current and emerging statistical priorities of users, and within the context of the ABS mission statement, organisational objectives and overall strategic directions. The statistical demands of the Australian, state and territory governments, and the community as a whole, are broad ranging and increasing in both volume and complexity. As Australia’s national statistical agency, the ABS has a responsibility to respond to these demands in the context of its mission and resource constraints. The role of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) is to provide guidance on the directions and priorities of the ABS work program to the Australian Government, through the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, and to the Australian Statistician.
I wish to congratulate the ABS on reaching its centenary as Australia’s national statistical agency. It is a great achievement.
The ABS received additional funding in the 2005-06 Federal Budget process through the development of a proposal to ‘upgrade official statistics’. Council members were very pleased with this outcome, and it emphasised the support the Australian Government is of high quality statistical information. The ABS expressed thanks to Council at the May 2005 meeting for the guidance it provided to the ABS throughout the development of the proposal. However, even with the additional funding, the list of ‘priority’ spending proposals facing the ABS is well beyond available funds, and choices will have to be made. ASAC welcomes the challenge of assisting the ABS to decide its statistical priorities for the future.
Throughout 2004-05, ASAC has provided advice to the ABS on a range of key economic and social issues including: content for the 2006 Census of Population and Housing; issues surrounding the 2006 Census data enhancement project; developments in environment statistics, children and youth statistics, and crime and justice statistics; and future directions for ABS electronic dissemination. These issues are discussed in more detail in chapter 2.
I would like to welcome the newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon. Chris Pearce, MP, and thank his predecessor, the Hon. Ross Cameron, MP, for his support of ASAC.
ASAC now consists of a full complement of 22 part-time members, with the appointment of thirteen new members and the reappointment of three existing
members. I would like to welcome:
Professor Graeme Hugo, University of Adelaide
Professor Tony Barnes, Northern Territory Treasury
Dr James Moody, CSIRO
Mr Roger Beale, The Allen Consulting Group
Ms Leith Boully, Boully Pastoral Company
Ms Elaine Henry, The Smith Family
Mr David Parker, Australian Government - The Treasury
Mr Michael Potter, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mr Leigh Purnell, Australian Industry Group
Mr John Spasojevic, Commonwealth Grants Commission
Mr Vin Martin, Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance
Mr David Smith, Western Australia Department of Treasury and Finance
Mr Greg Philp, Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance.
My sincere appreciation is extended to non-returning Council members, Dr Steven Kates, Ms Betty Hounslow, Dr Martin Parkinson, Ms Anne Nolan,
Mr Chris Lock, Mr Haydn Lowe, Mr Peter Jones and Mr George Tomlins for their contribution to ASAC over their combined 36 years of service. Dr Kates and
Ms Hounslow have been particularly long serving members (14 years and 7 years respectively), and I wish to acknowledge their dedication and support to the ABS throughout their tenure.
I would like to convey my appreciation to Mr Dennis Trewin, the Australian Statistician, and his team for their positive approach to working with ASAC and to the advice we provided. Thanks also goes to the ASAC Secretariat, without whose excellent support ASAC simply could not function in an effective manner.
I trust you find the report informative.
Professor Sandra Harding