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December 2006


In December, 2002, the Australian Government adopted a formal cost recovery policy to improve the consistency, transparency and accountability of Australian cost recovery activities and to promote the efficient allocation of resources. The policy is contained in Australian Cost Recovery Guidelines for Information and Regulatory Agencies (Guidelines), re-issued in a revised format by the Department of Finance and Administration in July 2005.

This Cost Recovery Impact Statement (CRIS) results from the ABS’ review of its activities against these Guidelines and has been prepared in accordance with the cost recovery review schedule 2006-07. The ABS review determined those activities which should be funded by appropriation and those which should be charged for, including what to charge, and who to charge.

The review included:
  • a policy review of ABS activities, including both appropriation funded and cost recovered activities;
  • assessment of design and implementation issues to ensure that appropriate costs are recovered in the most effective and efficient manner, from users who benefit directly from such ABS activities;
  • calculation of the full costs of ABS activities to ensure that ABS prices recover the costs, as determined by the Guidelines, incurred in the provision of priced products and services; and
  • review of ABS prices to ensure that they accurately reflect the correct costs.

In developing its cost recovery policy, ABS consulted with major stakeholders, including the Australian Statistical Advisory Council (ASAC), key clients and the general public.

The ABS is committed to on-going monitoring and review of its costs and prices. It reviews both annually and is committed to a major review of pricing policy every five years. It will involve stakeholders in the major review.

Since December 2002, the ABS has greatly increased the content of its free Basic Information Set (BIS) through the budget process. The entire content of the ABS web site is now accessible free-of-charge via the Internet. When receipts from inter- and intra-government agencies, including universities, and from commercial activities are removed, the total revenue in scope of the test of significance ($5m) in the Guidelines is estimated to be $1.7m in 2006-07. The ABS will therefore no longer be needed to document compliance with the cost-recovery policy. However, the ABS will continue to apply the Government policy to guide its future cost recovery policies and practices.

Dennis Trewin
Australian Statistician
December 2006

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