ABOUT THE INFORMATION PUBLICATION SCHEME
Under Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) the ABS has to publish information about what we do, the way that we do it, and how we use information. We also have to publish a plan for how we are going to meet these obligations. The information we release is referred to as our Information Publication Scheme (IPS).
OUR PLAN TO COMPLY WITH THE IPS
We have a plan for how we will comply with the IPS. The IPS Plan can be viewed from this link.
WHO WE ARE
The ABS is Australia’s official national statistical agency. It was established as the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, following enactment of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA). The agency became the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1975 with the passing of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (ABS Act). The ABS is led by the Australian Statistician – a statutory office established by the ABS Act. The Statistician is appointed under section 7 of the ABS Act. To read more about the current Australian Statistician, please refer to his biography.
The ABS’ statistical operations are divided into a number of groups. For more information on the ABS’ organisational structure, please refer to our Organisational Chart.
WHAT WE DO
The ABS Act established the role of the Australian Statistician and defines the functions of the ABS. Section 6 of the ABS Act states the role of the Statistician and the ABS is:
- to constitute the central statistical authority for the Australian Government and, by arrangements with the governments of the states, provide statistical services for those governments
- to collect, compile, analyse and disseminate statistics and related information
- to ensure coordination of the operations of official bodies in the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics and related information, with particular regard to:
- the avoidance of duplication in the collection by official bodies of information for statistical purposes
- the attainment of compatibility between, and the integration of, statistics compiled by official bodies
- the maximum possible utilisation, for statistical purposes, of information, and means of collection of information, available to official bodies
- to formulate, and ensure compliance with, standards for the carrying out by official bodies of operations for statistical purposes
- to provide advice and assistance to official bodies in relation to statistics, and
- to provide liaison between Australia, on the one hand, and other countries and international organisations, on the other hand, in relation to statistical matters.
The ABS Act also established the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) to provide input to the directions and priorities of the ABS work program.
Under the Statistics (Arrangements with States) Act 1956, Australian and state government statistical services have been integrated since 1958 (from 1924 for Tasmania). Although not covered by legislation, similar arrangements apply in both territories.
The Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA) provides the Statistician with the authority to conduct statistical collections and, when necessary, to direct a person or an organisation to provide statistical information. The Statistician's authority to direct people and organisations to provide statistical information are set out in section 10 and 11 of the CSA.
The ABS' surveys charter details what you can expect from the ABS when it is exercising its survey functions.
For information on other guidelines and policies that the ABS uses please refer to the Corporate information section of the About Us page.
OUR ANNUAL REPORTS
The ABS' annual reports contain a lot of information about the directions of the ABS. The ABS publishes these reports on our Annual Reports page.
The ABS publishes the information it releases to FOI applicants as part of its Disclosure log. To see the information that the ABS has released in response to FOI requests since 1 November 2010 please refer to the disclosure log.
When the ABS proposes new ideas or seeks public comments on its releases they will appear on our home page on the day they are released and will contain information about how to have your say. We value public feedback on all of publications, so if you would like to have your say on any any of our publications feel free to contact us.
This page first published 6 May 2011, last updated 10 February 2015