1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics - Annual Report, 1999-2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/10/2000   
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  • ABS reports progress on regional statistics, benchmarking (Media Release)


October 05, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS reports progress on regional statistics, benchmarking

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has made significant gains in the areas of international and internal statistical benchmarking and improving the quality and availability of Australian regional statistics, the Bureau's latest Annual Report shows. The ABS Annual Report was released publicly today.

New ABS initiatives in regional statistics include creating more frequent regional indicators on both economic and social issues; providing new measures of income distribution in regional Australia, and providing statistical databases, and other services, to allow policy analysts to measure the impacts and outcomes of government policies and programs in regions.

The Annual Report says that while there is currently a wide range of information available from the ABS and other sources which bear on these questions, the ABS is also identifying where new statistical information on regions may be required to inform debate and policy development.

The ABS was working with other government agencies to make available a range of administrative data which can assist the understanding of regional Australia, and also investigating ways of increasing access to regional data already available.

On benchmarking, the report says the ABS has been instrumental in setting up a network of overseas statistical agencies, the National Statistical Agencies Benchmarking Network. The intended outcome is to understand and improve performance on the development, collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of statistical outputs.

Members of the network are Statistics New Zealand, the US Bureau of the Census, Statistics Sweden, and the Office for National Statistics in the UK (ONS), as well as ABS.

In 1998-2000 the network benchmarked three key statistical surveys: the Household Expenditure Survey, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Annual Manufacturing Survey. A second round of the studies has just commenced, and the scope of activities has been broadened.

The Annual Report says ABS has established a broad, systematic performance measurement system which highlights different aspects of ABS performance. The range of activities includes benchmarking within ABS and with external organisations such as other APS agencies IT consultancies as well as individual benchmarking activities with Statistics Canada and the UK ONS.

Details are in the ABS Annual Report (cat. no. 1001.0), available from ABS bookshops in capital cities.