2019-20 ASAC Statement of Intent
Purpose and Role of ASAC
The Australian Statistical Advisory Council (ASAC) was established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (the ABS Act).
The ABS Act (section 18) states that:
(1) The functions of the Council are to advise the Minister and the Statistician in relation to:
- the improvement, extension and co-ordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia;
- annual and longer term priorities and programs of work that should be adopted in relation to major aspects of the provision of those statistical services; and
- any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.
(2) Either the Minister or the Statistician, or both of them, may refer matters of the kind referred to in subsection (1) to the Council for the purpose of seeking the advice of the Council in relation to those matters
In line with its legislated functions, ASAC will represent government and community interests by advising the Minister and the Australian Statistician on Australia’s current and longer-term statistical priorities and how the ABS work program can deliver on them.
As an advisory forum to the ABS with broad membership and understanding of the wider environment, ASAC will:
- Advise the Minister and the ABS in relation to the ABS’ functions
- Provide input into the strategic directions, risks, priorities and key deliverables of the ABS
- Advocate for an effective national statistical system and support the ABS’ role within it
- Report annually to Parliament.
To help the ABS respond to issues and plan for the future, ASAC will:
- Provide the ABS with frank advice and feedback
- Draw on the expertise of ASAC members and seek input from stakeholders
- Raise risks and identify potential issues
- Provide guidance where needed to ensure the ABS remains a trusted and relevant data provider.
The Chairperson of ASAC will convey advice to the Minister and report back at ASAC meetings.
ASAC members are appointed for their ability to identify emerging needs and promote the value of data and its coordination within and across jurisdictions and sectors. They will have the seniority to navigate and help influence the decision-making environment and will ensure the Council retains a strategic focus.
Priorities for 2019-20
- Monitor and advise on implementation of ABS transformation initiatives, including broad organisational transformation and the Statistical Business Transformation Program (SBTP).
- Monitor and advise on 2021 Census preparation, including managing key stakeholder relationships and risks.
- Assist in clarifying ABS roles and responsibilities within an evolving institutional landscape, including the promotion of a coherent broader statistical system and shaping the data landscape across government and beyond.
- Advice on structuring an ABS Forward Work Program under significant resource constraints, including: strategies to support appropriate funding; identifying potential risks to ABS data and reputation; and the identification of the ABS’ ‘core’ assets and any associated strategy to guide investment in these assets.
- Building and maintaining trust and ‘social licence’, including advocacy in support of decisions that would help maintain trust of government and the community that privacy concerns have been addressed.
- ABS capability building, including advice on the ABS’ plans to strengthen its leadership role in data skills development and capability across governments and academia.
Three face-to-face meetings are planned for 2019-20: August 2019 (Sydney), November 2019 (Melbourne) and March 2020 (Canberra). Additional engagement outside meetings will be undertaken as appropriate.
Among other matters, meetings are to include a ‘workshop’ as input to the ABS 2025 strategy process and an internal review of ASAC’s operations.
In line with requirements prescribed in subsection 24(1) of the ABS Act, ASAC will continue to provide an annual report to the Minister.