The Australian Bureau of Statistics is Australia's official statistical organisation. We assist and encourage informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by leading a high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service.
The principal legislation determining the functions and responsibilities of the Australian Bureau of Statistics are the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 and the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 establishes the ABS as an independent statutory authority, defines the functions of the ABS, establishes the office of Australian Statistician and describes the terms under which the Australian Statistician can be appointed to, and removed from, office. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 also provides for the appointment of the staff of the ABS and establishes the Australian Statistics Advisory Council.
Census and Statistics Act 1905
The Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA) provides the Australian Statistician with the authority to conduct statistical collections, including the Census of Population and Housing, and, when necessary, to direct a person to provide statistical information. The Act requires the ABS to publish and disseminate compilations and analyses of statistical information and to maintain the confidentiality of information collected under the Act.
Section 13 of the CSA provides for the Minister to make determinations providing for the disclosure, with the approval in writing of the Statistician, of information included in a specified class of information furnished in pursuance of that Act. The Statistics Determination is such a determination and provides for the release of a very restricted range of information under special circumstances.
Section 9 of the CSA provides for the Statistician to collect such statistical information in relation to matters prescribed as he or she considers appropriate. Matters in relation to which the Statistician may collect statistical information are prescribed in the Statistics Regulations.
Section 8 of the CSA provides for the Statistician to take a Census every five years. For the purposes of taking the Census, the matters in relation to which the Statistician may collect statistical information are prescribed in the Census Regulations.
This page first published 18 January 2001, last updated 13 February 2015