1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2014-15  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/10/2015   
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PROGRAM REPORTS - STATISTICAL PRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

The ABS work program aligns with the ABS's legislative mandate and regulations as determined by the Australian Parliament. The work program is developed in consultation with the Australian Statistics Advisory Council, stakeholders (Australian Government, state and territory governments and non-government users), and data providers.


NATIONAL ACCOUNTS

The National Accounts program provides data about the level of economic activity, the pattern of economic growth and the structure of the Australian and state economies. These statistics systematically and comprehensively summarise the economic transactions that take place within the Australian economy and between Australia and the rest of the world.

National accounts information is used to formulate and assess government macro economic policies, both fiscal and monetary; assist in allocating Australian government funds to state governments; formulate industry development policies; measure productivity; undertake financial and business planning; and facilitate international economic comparisons.

Key achievements in 2014-15

  • Publication of an expanded set of institutional sector income accounts commenced on a quarterly basis, accompanied by an expanded and improved set of capital and financial accounts. The publication of sectoral accounts allows users to undertake more timely analysis of the balancing items of the income account, the capital account and the financial account. It also informs users on the transmission of economic shocks, in particular, the linkages between the 'real' and financial economies.
  • Distribution of household income, consumption and wealth was published as a time series. These estimates provide a bridge between macro economic aggregate household estimates produced within the Australian System of National Accounts and the ABS household economics surveys' distributional analysis of household income, consumption and wealth.
  • Experimental estimates of mining multi-factor productivity accounting for changes in mineral and energy resources were published. This initiative improved the interpretability and overall fitness for purpose of productivity measures in the mining industry.

LABOUR

The Labour Statistics program provides evidence to support labour market, economic and social analysis through the provision of high quality labour statistics in a timely, efficient and effective manner. The program provides information about the structure and performance of the labour market including statistics on: labour force participation; employment; hours worked; unemployment and labour underutilisation; job vacancies; employment conditions and working arrangements; employee earnings and labour costs; and workplace relations.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • Substantial progress in responding to recommendations from the Independent Technical Review of the Labour Force Survey including the introduction of prior correction methodology for Labour Force supplementary surveys to improve the seasonal adjustment of the series.
  • Compilation of the first tranche of new content from the Labour Force Content review.
  • Release on time of over 45 monthly, quarterly, biannual, annual and less frequent aggregate sets of labour market statistics including:
    • Results from the 2013-14 Work Related Injuries released for the first time as a Table Builder product.
    • Results from the May 2014 Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours released earlier and with greater detail and improved analytical commentary.
  • Articles released on a range of topics to increase the understanding and use of labour market statistics.
  • Completion of a review to ensure the Industrial Disputes statistics remain relevant and meet critical information needs in a changing industrial relations environment.
  • Extensive support to the Fair Work Commission on their Australian Workplace Relations Study survey and publication.
  • Perturbation introduced as the default method to confidentialise aggregate estimates from household surveys.
  • Contribution to the early stages of the International Labour Organisation review of the International Classification of Status in Employment.

PRICES

The Prices program compiles a number of main economic indicators that measure changes in a set of prices over time. This includes the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Residential Property Price Index (RPPI), the Wage Price Index (WPI), and a range of Producer Price Indexes (PPIs) and International Trade Price Indexes (ITPIs). The program also produces Selected Living Cost Indexes for select household types, including the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).

The CPI is used: to produce volume estimates for components of the Australian national accounts; as a basis for indexing government payments, superannuation payments and government taxes and charges; as an input into salary and wage negotiations (the WPI is also used for this purpose); and for indexation of government bonds and business contracts (the PPIs and ITPIs are also used for indexation of contracts). RPPIs are used to analyse trends in the housing market and changes in the value of the housing stock. The PBLCI is used as a basis for indexing pensions and other payments to government benefit recipients.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • The supply of electronic transactions datasets directly from retail businesses was negotiated, to price a selection of products to compile the CPI. Transactions data is being used to price products that represent approximately 25% of the weight of the Australian CPI (as at the March quarter 2015). The use of transactions data is being further explored as it creates opportunities to enhance the CPI, such as producing the CPI at higher frequency and producing spatial price measures.
  • A review of the RPPI was undertaken in response to planned reductions in the ABS work program. The ABS is continuing to publish a core set of RPPIs, the total value of dwelling stock and related statistics. The timing of the calculation and release of the indexes and the total value of dwelling stock has been aligned with the Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0). The review outcomes were implemented in the March quarter 2015.
  • Significant contributions were made, through missions and technical assistance, to the development of statistics in Asia and the Pacific region, as part of work funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This included CPI and PPI technical advice to Timor-Leste, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia. Capability development of the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) in the region has been the focus of these missions.

2016 CENSUS PROGRAM

The Census of Population and Housing is the ABS's largest and one of our most important statistical collections. Its objective is to measure the number and key characteristics of people in Australia on Census night, and the dwellings in which they live, accurately and efficiently. This provides a reliable basis for the estimation of the population of each state, territory and local government area, primarily for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds.

The Census also provides the characteristics of Australian population and housing within small geographic areas, and for small population groups. Census data is used to support planning, administration, policy development and evaluation activities of government, businesses, researchers and others.

Censuses have been conducted in Australia every five years since 1961, with the most recent Census held on Tuesday 9 August 2011. Preparations are well advanced for Australia’s 17th national Census of Population and Housing to be held on Tuesday 9 August 2016.

The 2016 Census has undergone a major transformation and will be the first Census in our nation's history where most households will participate in the Census online, and field operations will be largely digitised with limited reliance on paper material. This digital transformation puts us at the forefront of international Census practice and sets the foundation for the future of all statistical collections undertaken by the ABS.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • In August 2014 we conducted the largest Census test in ABS history. This live field test involved approaching 100,000 dwellings across parts of South Australia and Western Australia. The test has given us confidence in our processes and in the infrastructure designed to support the digital-first approach for the 2016 Census.
  • We have almost completed the development of the Address Register. This register will be used to mail Census information to 80% of dwellings in the 2016 Census and support other statistical activities across the ABS in the future.
  • The topics and paper questionnaire to be used for the 2016 Census were finalised and print production commenced.
  • The ABS has continued to work collaboratively with international statistical partners who conduct traditional census activity. In 2014 Australia hosted the International Census Forum and remains an active participant in a range of international working groups focused on sharing experiences and fostering innovation in census taking activities around the world.

INTERNATIONAL AND GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS

The International and Government Financial Accounts program provides information on International Accounts and the Public Sector Accounts. The program provides statistics on Australia's Balance of Payments, International Investment Position, Merchandise Trade, and Trade in Services. The statistics are used to analyse Australia's external performance; formulate and evaluate macro economic policy (including trade policy, trade treaties and foreign investment policy); analyse trends in income, capital flows and patterns of investment into and out of the economy; and undertake international comparisons. The International Accounts are also inputs to the Australian national accounts.

The program also provides government finance statistics (GFS) in respect of the Australian Government, state and territory governments, local governments, and their public non-financial and public financial corporations. GFS are used to monitor the financial performance of governments, to inform on the economic impact of government activities, and as an important input to Australia’s national accounts. GFS are also used to assist in the distribution of Australian Government grants to state governments.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • Experimental quarterly state trade data on a Balance of Payments basis were published in response to significant demand from state users. This has demonstrated that the series can be meaningfully constructed and ongoing publication of this data will commence in 2015-16.
  • Estimation of iron ore prices in merchandise trade statistics was improved, bringing forward price adjustments from trade on a Balance of Payments basis into the merchandise trade series. These adjustments have significantly reduced the revisions to iron ore exports on a merchandise trade basis.
  • Quarterly balance sheets for the general government sector were introduced, improving the frequency and timeliness of information on the stock of assets and liabilities for general government. These data are published in the sectoral accounts of Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0).

POPULATION AND PLACE

The Population and Place statistics program provides estimates of recent and projected populations and information about fertility, mortality, migration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and demographic trends, births and deaths. It also provides statistics for over 3,000 regions.

In addition, the program provides services such as geographic classifications, spatial analysis, data management, mapping and research, Population Census support and land accounting, and supports social statistics through frameworks and international engagement.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • Quality overseas arrival and departures statistics were released during a period of disruption to the quality and timeliness of administrative data sources.
  • New annual series of regional internal migration estimates for 2006-07 to 2013-14 for Statistical Areas Level 2 and Local Government Areas were released.
  • Projections of the number of households, families and living arrangement types to the year were released.
  • Australian Historical Population Statistics, Australia was updated, presenting a wide range of historical demographic data going back to 1788.
  • Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, 2015 was released.
  • The Statistical Spatial Framework was developed and implemented, enhancing the consistent production of geo-statistics.
  • Australian Population Grid, 2011 was released, showing population in a gridded format.
  • ABS Geospatial Web Services User Guide, 2015 was released, providing access to statistical geography as web services.
  • A small area estimation team was established to produce small area health and disability estimates.
  • Progress was made on two new data integration projects on migrant outcomes, linking with personal income tax data and Census data.
  • The model for dissemination of causes of death unit record data was finalised and implemented in partnership with the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
  • The program co-authored with the Queensland Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages one chapter in the Proof of Birth publication regarding Australia's Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System and the extent of birth registration.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STATISTICS

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics program provides information essential for monitoring the social and economic circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The program also provides statistical leadership in the collection and analysis of data for and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Key elements of the program include commitment to: ongoing engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in ABS planning, collection and dissemination activities; assessing and improving the quality of statistics available from the Census of Population and Housing, surveys and administrative sources; analysis and reporting to explain and improve understanding of data; and developing strategies to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of data collection and reduce respondent burden on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Information is used by governments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations, and the general community, to inform policy development and evaluation and provide an understanding of the overall wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • The six-yearly National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey was successfully undertaken, with first results expected to be published in early 2016.
  • Further data from the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey was released, including information on biomedical results, physical activity levels and nutritional intake.
  • The review of the Indigenous Status Standard was completed, with outcomes and recommendations for further research published.
  • The program continued its commitment to local level facilitation and engagement that ensures the collection and production of high quality and relevant data for and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including by implementing strategies to return information collected in ABS surveys to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ENVIRONMENT STATISTICS

The Agriculture and Rural Environment Statistics program provides reliable, relevant and timely information on the agriculture industry and its contribution to the Australian economy, rural communities and natural resource management. The program provides data on: agricultural commodities produced on farms and their associated value; structural information including the number, size and main industry of farm businesses; natural resource and land management practices undertaken on farms; water used by farms for irrigation and sources of water; farmer demographics; and the level of foreign ownership of agricultural businesses, land and water assets.

Information from the program supports informed decision-making by Australian, state and territory governments, industry organisations, the academic sector and the wider community on issues important for agricultural policy determination at the national, state and regional levels. These issues include the productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture sector, food security and natural resource management.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • The ABS and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) jointly continued to progress the National Agricultural Statistics Review (NASR). The NASR was undertaken to assess all aspects of the Australian agricultural statistical system and its ability to inform decision-making. More information is available in the special article - The NASR - a framework for the future of of agricultural data.
  • Provider burden was reduced by combining the survey forms for two major surveys, the 2013-14 Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodity Survey and the 2013-14 Land and Management Practices Survey, enabling businesses selected in both surveys to report via a single form.

HEALTH AND DISABILITY

The Health and Disability Statistics program develops, compiles and disseminates information about the health of the Australian population from both administrative and survey based data sources.

Information is extracted and analysed from these collections to understand: patterns of health risk factors including obesity, physical activity, nutrition, smoking and alcohol use; health, mental health and disability service usage; health outcomes including causes of death; the experience of patients in using health services; and the pattern of disability and experiences of those with a disability in the community.

The information is used by the Australian and state and territory governments to identify public health and disability issues, assess their magnitude and distribution, assess health system performance, develop health policies and undertake program evaluation. The information is also used by academics to understand health outcomes of the population and their drivers; and by the general public, community groups and the media to understand health risks and issues.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • First release of nutrition and biomedical results for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
  • Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.008) was released with Food Standards Australia New Zealand. This was last updated in 1995.
  • Information about Australian Government-subsidised mental health service and medication information was integrated with Census data to improve understanding of the effectiveness of these services. More information is available in the special article - Unlocking the power of statistics: mental health services use and outcomes.
  • The 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers was developed.
  • The program engaged with the World Health Organizations to develop and assess the next revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY STATISTICS

The Innovation and Technology Statistics program provides information to assist in understanding the impacts of innovation and information communications technology (ICT) on economic growth, productivity and social wellbeing. Innovation is a key component in making Australia more productive and more competitive. ICT is an important enabler of innovation and contributes to productivity growth.

The program provides data on: innovation in Australian businesses; research and experimental development undertaken by businesses, governments, higher education institutions and private not-for-profit organisations; venture capital and later stage private equity activity; and the penetration and use of selected ICT for both businesses and households.

The program also produces the Business Longitudinal Database, a tool for understanding business activity and microeconomic drivers of business performance and productivity.

The program contributes to the work of national and international agencies through input to the review and development of statistical standards and frameworks in relevant fields of statistics.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • In partnership with the Department of Industry and Science the program expanded collection and analysis activities to assess new industry policy initiatives such as growth sectors. This included the creation of a new firm-level longitudinal business database to provide a richer source of information to undertake analysis on business performance, competitiveness and productivity.
  • In partnership with the Department of Communication's Bureau of Communications Research the program progressed a major review of Australian ICT and digital economy statistics to improve the quality of information available for decision makers.
  • The program supported and provided valued input into the work of key international organisations (such as the OECD) which are working in the field of innovation and technology statistics.

ENVIRONMENT STATISTICS AND INTEGRATION

The Environment Statistics and Integration program produces statistics on both the environment and business demography.

The program contributes to meeting the demand for comprehensive and coordinated information about Australia’s environment, focusing on key themes such as water, energy, and land management. It addresses the complex inter-relationships between the environment, society and the economy.

The program is also responsible for the provision of information about the structure, characteristics and performance of businesses in the Australian economy and conceptual developments regarding business definitions and classifications.

Use of these statistics is varied and includes the formulation of policies, economic analysis, research, forecasting and meeting international reporting obligations.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • The program contributed to the United Nations (UN) System of Environmental and Economic Accounting Applications and Extensions (SEEA-EA), the OECD SEEA Implementation Task Force, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization workshop on the development of SEEA – Agriculture, and the 20th Annual Meeting of the London Group on Environmental Accounting.
  • Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, June 2010 to June 2014 (cat. no. 8165.0) was released.
  • A range of environmental accounting publications were released in relation to water and energy.
  • The ABS’s first experimental land account was released, for the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The new publication, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 4631.0) was released.
  • A collaborative data integration project was undertaken with the Department of Agriculture, which included the secondment of an analyst to the ABS, in order to assess the impact of logging regulation on businesses.
  • Technical assistance on statistical business registers was provided to Indonesia and Bangladesh. ABS also contributed to a new international manual, Guidelines on Statistical Business Registers, which will be published in 2015.

SOCIAL CONDITIONS

The Social Conditions program provides statistical leadership, standards development and information for a broad picture of the economic and social wellbeing of the Australian population. Statistics from the program cover topics including income, expenditure, wealth, housing, superannuation, families, gender, violence, time use, work and family balance, volunteering, homelessness, culture, sport, leisure and social capital.

The program provides design, development, collection management and processing services to support the Growing Up in Australia Study (Longitudinal Study of Australian Children), in partnership with the Department of Social Services and the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The program's statistics are used to support policy development, program delivery and program evaluation of key government agencies involved in income support and other government assistance, taxation, housing, homelessness, community and family services, and issues related to older people, children, youth, men and women.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • Data processing was completed for the 2013–14 Survey of Income and Housing, which included detailed information on household income, wealth and housing for a range of household types, to be released later in 2015.
  • The combined Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing 2015–16 was developed, including a targeted sample to support calculation of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Cost of Living Index.
  • Fieldwork and data processing was finalised for the sixth wave of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
  • The seventh wave of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children was redeveloped, including new methods and content to maintain relevance during transition into adulthood.
  • The content and enumeration procedures for the development of the 2016 Personal Safety Survey were reviewed.
  • Reviews of family, housing and income statistical standards were completed.
  • The seventh and eighth editions of Gender Indicators, Australia compendium report were released, including significant redesign of the electronic release to improve accessibility.
  • The program contributed to international developments in gender, wealth and income statistics, through Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe processes.
  • Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 4177.0) and Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 4114.0) were released.

EDUCATION STATISTICS

The Education Statistics program produces statistics on early childhood education and care, schooling and further education. Key elements of the program include management of the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection and the National Schools Statistics Collection, and the regular conduct of surveys related to education, training and work. this information is used by Australian and state and territory governments for performance assessment and policy making, by organisations involved in educational research and analysis, and by the community to inform decision-making.

The program focuses on improving the relevance and quality of education and training statistics. In recent years, the program has collaborated with a range of data custodians and stakeholders to demonstrate how data integration can enhance the evidence base for social, economic and education policy in Australia.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • Results from the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection were published, including a Preschool Education microdata product. These results support assessment of the Australian Government's commitment to universal access to early childhood education for all children in the year before formal schooling under the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement.
  • Results from the annual National Schools Statistics Collection were published, providing data on schools, students and staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, for all Australian states and territories. The Collection supports a range of national education reporting.
  • The results from the annual Survey of Education and Work were released, with plans finalised to include historical time series of key indicators in 2015-16.
  • The results from the three-yearly Childhood Education and Care Survey were released.
  • The program completed the conduct and analysis of several projects integrating education administrative data records (school enrolments, vocational education and training (VET), Australian Early Development Census and data from the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) with the 2011 Census of Population and Housing to expand the range of data available and improve the education evidence base. The analysis provided new insights into factors that impact on child development and school student achievement, and the various pathways of young people participating in VET and their longitudinal post-school destinations and outcomes.

CRIME AND JUSTICE

The Crime and Justice Statistics program leads national statistical activity aimed at developing and improving the information available in this field. The user-funded components of the program include compiling and publishing national statistics on recorded crime, courts and corrections, and working in cooperation with statistical practitioners in the jurisdictions.

The ABS also oversees a survey program in the field of crime and justice statistics. This includes both special purpose surveys aimed at producing rates of victimisation for personal and household crimes, and information on the experience and consequences of crime, as well as more general surveys aimed at understanding the experience of crime within a broader social context.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • A new stakeholder engagement program was implemented, focusing on national data requirements to better understand current and emerging crime and justice policy needs. The ABS will incorporate feedback from stakeholders into the design and delivery of future statistical products.
  • Findings were delivered from the civil justice system data gaps project. This project examined existing data holdings across six civil justice agencies in the federal civil justice sector, finding that it is feasible to develop a stronger evidence base for the civil justice system.
  • Work commenced with the Department of Social Services to improve the evidence base for family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. The ABS worked with state/territory police agencies to establish experimental family and domestic violence statistics which will be published for the first time in September 2015.
  • Work was undertaken with the Attorney-General's Department to improve the evidence base for identity crime. The ABS is continuing to work with justice agencies to examine and improve identity crime recording and to establish a statistical framework for identity crime.

MACROECONOMIC INDICATORS

The Macroeconomic Indicators program compiles financial statistics; building and construction statistics; and business indicators. The program compiles statistics on the financial assets and liabilities of financial institutions, and on stocks and flows of finance for sectors of the economy, using ABS statistical surveys and other sources including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Taxation Office.

The program also compiles construction statistics on activity levels in residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction and building approvals data collected from approving authorities on expected construction of dwellings and expected construction activity.

In addition, the program is responsible for a range of sub-annual economic indicators which are essential inputs to the compilation of quarterly and annual national accounts and include: monthly turnover by selected retail industries and the takeaway food services industry; quarterly company profits inventories, sales and labour costs; quarterly actual and expected new capital expenditure; and quarterly actual and expected mineral and petroleum exploration.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • In collaboration with APRA, the superannuation industry was consulted on proposed improved collection of financial data, which is planned for implementation in 2016 and is compliant with revised international standards for the System of National Accounts and the Balance of Payments Manual.
  • The quality of statistics on loans to First Home Buyers, published in Housing Finance (cat. no. 5609.0), was improved with the design of a statistical model to adjust for under-reporting by some lenders.
  • A key relationship has been established with the Western Australian Building Commission for joint effort on collection of building approvals data aimed at reducing provider burden for approval authorities in WA and an increase in quality and coherence of WA building approvals data.
  • Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) was expanded to include a 'per capita' measure of domestic retail trade expenditure and experimental estimates of household expenditure on selected services.

STATISTICAL DATA INTEGRATION

The key objective of the ABS Centre for Data Integration is to build strong partnerships with data custodians, users and the Australian community in unleashing the full value of existing data sources to contribute to the evidence base needed to inform on a range of important social, economic and environmental issues.

Statistical data integration brings together existing data sources or collections to create new datasets for statistical, policy and research purposes. Integrated datasets provide increased access to government held data, an efficient way of meeting current and emerging information requirements as well as the opportunity to more effectively support policy development, research and discussion. There are a growing number of examples where the ABS is reusing existing data to replace direct collection from businesses and the community, thereby reducing respondent burden and cost to taxpayers. For these reasons, progressing statistical data integration is a high priority for the ABS.

The ABS Centre for Data Integration undertakes a range of data integration projects in partnership with data custodians and users. It supports best practice in conducting data integration projects through the development of infrastructure, resources and tools, and manages internal policy and governance arrangements. This ensures the ABS is able to innovate in the harvesting of existing data to contribute to the evidence base needed and is able to undertake high risk integration projects, including those involving the linkage of sensitive data.

In addition, the ABS also provides strategic and collaborative leadership through participation in the governance arrangements for data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes. The ABS provides the Secretariat for this important Australian Government initiative. Further information is available from the National Statistical Services (NSS) website: www.nss.gov.au.

Key achievements in 2014-15

The main outputs from the ABS data integration program include the integration of existing Census, survey, transactional and administrative data sources to deliver new insights on the inter-relationships between factors across social, economic and environmental domains.

During 2014-15, the ABS consolidated and progressed work on key flagship data integration projects, including the:
  • Business Longitudinal Database (BLD) which allows analysts to monitor and evaluate the impacts of policies and industry trends on Australian businesses at the individual business level for small and medium businesses (Microdata: Business Longitudinal Database, cat. no. 8168.0.55.001). User funding from the Department of Industry and Science has enabled the construction of an Expanded Analytical BLD, providing a firm-level foundational linked data asset to which other data can be added.
  • Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD), which links 2006 and 2011 Census records longitudinally and successive Censuses to build a picture of how social and economic pathways vary for a diverse range of population sub groups over the long term (Microdata: Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset, cat. no. 2080.0). A significant achievement has been the provision of greater access to the ACLD, including researcher access to an expanded ACLD with linked administrative data subject to data custodian approvals.

Other key achievements in 2014–15 included the Mental Health Services-Census Data Integration project which brought together for the first time the breadth of the 2011 Census data with administrative information on people accessing subsidised mental health- related Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medication. The power of data sharing and data integration in strengthening the evidence base to support stronger policy development, program delivery and research was also demonstrated through the recent development of a database (2009–10 Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset) that brings together administrative data from the Australian Tax Office, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Department of Social Services to provide detailed sources of personal income received by migrants.

In addition to these projects, the ABS works closely with Australian and state and territory government departments, breaking down barriers to data sharing, fostering trust and understanding, improving data management capability, and establishing a fertile environment for future cross-portfolio and cross-jurisdictional data integration projects. In 2014–15, the ABS played a key role in providing strategic and collaborative leadership through its role on the Commonwealth Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board.

Key achievements include:
  • completion of an independent review of the implementation of the Arrangements for Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes
  • accreditation of the Australian Institute of Family Studies as an Integrating Authority for Commonwealth data
  • release of the Guide for Data Integration Projects Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes, which provides conceptual and practical advice in understanding and implementing the framework for data integration projects.

INDUSTRY AND PRODUCTIVITY STATISTICS

The Industry and Productivity Statistics program provides information about the structure, financial operations, performance and production of Australian industries. This information is used to monitor the economy and the business cycle, and to support compilation of the Australian National Accounts and Environmental–Economic Accounts.

The program consists of an annual economy-wide financial statistics collection, a rolling collection program that covers specific industries in more detail, and modelling and analytical work covering specific industries or activities.

The program also provides statistics on transport and transport-related activities and tourism statistics, including the Australian Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).

In addition, the program undertakes macroeconomic statistics research, economic analysis and reporting, and economic integration functions. Analytical activities in the program include research projects to improve the accuracy, efficiency and coherence of existing economic statistics, and to develop new statistical products. The program compiles and publishes aggregate market sector and industry-level multifactor productivity (MFP) statistics and conducts research into the measurement and interpretation of these statistics.

Key achievements in 2014-15
  • A range of new tourism aggregates was introduced, including chain volume estimates (inflation adjusted), price indexes and a labour productivity index in the 2013–14 release of the TSA.
  • The first release of Information, Media and Telecommunications Services, Australia (cat. no. 8681.0) presented detailed national industry estimates of employment, major economic and financial aggregates.
  • ABS collaborated with the Clean Energy Regulator to unlock administrative data to reduce business provider load.
  • New experimental estimates of industry contributions to market sector labour productivity growth were introduced into the 2013-14 ABS industry MFP data cube.