ABS LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is Australia's official statistical organisation. 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 CSA 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.
Public consultation is now open to remake of the Statistics Determination 1983 (the Determination), due to sunset on 1 October 2018. The Treasury and ABS have prepared a consultation paper that proposes changes to modernise the Determination and improve access to business microdata for government decision makers, researchers and organisations. The consultation period is open until 16 February 2018. The public consultation paper and details on how to provide a submission is available on the Treasury consultation site.
The CSA also provides for Regulations relating to the creation of a variety of matters to assist the Statistician in performing his functions. These are contained within the Census and Statistics Regulation.