The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is Australia’s national statistical agency. By providing trusted statistics and statistical leadership, the ABS supports public debate and helps Australians to make informed decisions. The need for official statistics to provide an independent evidence-base for government and the community continues to grow, and the ABS has an excellent track record in informing Australians.
In a dynamic and crowded information market, it is our ability to objectively and comprehensively measure the issues that are most important to Australians that sets the ABS apart. The ABS has built trust with Australians. We value and protect privacy, and we employ transparent, professional practices to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our statistics. This value base is one aspect of the ABS that will not change into the future. It is reinforced by the legislation that governs us, and ingrained in our organisational culture.
Along with other providers and users of statistical information, the phenomenon of big data has captured our imagination. Administrative, transactional, sensor, satellite and opinion data can provide new insights into society. As with any opportunity, big data also poses threats. Ensuring that datasets are used to inform important issues without threatening privacy or providing misinformation is a continuing focus for the ABS. A key initiative in this space is data integration, which involves bringing together two or more datasets to create a new, bigger and more informative dataset. The ABS provides leadership in data integration in order to achieve a safe and effective environment for statistical data integration involving Commonwealth data.
As the information market in which the ABS operates changes, so does the environment we aim to reflect in our statistics. Measuring emerging issues and providing insight into the connected elements of Australia's society, economy and environment is increasingly complex. In this context, innovation, collaboration and robust statistical systems are essential to our continued ability to provide high-quality statistical information.
To increase our ability to provide timely, relevant statistical information from any source, the ABS has commenced a strategic transformation program. The first multi-modal, primarily digital Census of Population and Housing, to be undertaken in 2016, will demonstrate the impact of the transformation program. The 2016 Census will improve efficiency, effectiveness, and data quality - and pave the way for increasingly dynamic data collection into the future. The lead up to the 2016 Census will also establish the tools, techniques and technology to enable the ABS to capitalise on the breadth of existing information in the Commonwealth and broader statistical system.
By transforming how we collect, collate, manage, use, reuse and release statistical information, our business model will better support standardisation, integration and improved information management. This will make the ABS more resilient to change. The foundations we establish over the next four years will enable emerging statisticians to produce data with optimum currency and relevance, with the continued values of integrity, professionalism and trust.
The intelligence of our response to the environment in which we operate, and our ability to continue to meet the changing expectations of our stakeholders, will be the measure of our success, as will our ability to continue to produce high-quality, trusted official statistics to inform decision-making, research and discussion. The programs for delivery presented in the ABS Forward Work Program describe how the ABS will respond to our environment to ensure we continue to provide a world-class statistical service for the benefit of all Australians.