1006.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics - Forward Work Program, 2019-20  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/10/2019   
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The focus of the ABS is to maximise public value across the dimensions of:

  • Provision of quality, timely national statistics;
  • Producing new statistical insights;
  • Enabling effective, safe use of ABS data;
  • Pursuing data capture that is efficient and less intrusive; and
  • Continuing to build ABS capability for the future.

Inevitably, we have to make choices between these five dimensions within the overall context of the ABS budget and staff capability.

The ABS continues to prioritise reliable, essential official statistics for the nation. Increased attention and resources have been focused on statistical risk management and quality assurance. Improvements have been made to the quality of a number of our key economic indicators including labour force estimates, the Consumer Price Index and population estimates. In 2019-20, no significant change to the current suite of statistical products is planned.

The ABS is measuring an economy, society and environment that are becoming more complex. Globalisation is challenging how we measure economic activity and international trade and we are working to enhance the measurement of growing sectors of our economy such as health, education and disability services. Productivity is a key policy and measurement conundrum that requires focused attention. Addressing mental health issues, providing a place based perspective on the socio-economic condition of communities in economic transition and population pressures are also emerging as measurement priorities.

The ABS data integration capability is underpinning the production of official statistics, informing economic assessments, and contributing improved understanding to significant policy questions such as firm dynamics, wage movements, education, health policy and mental health considerations.

The ABS is enabling improved yet safe access to our valuable statistical resources, especially our microdata. ABS data is part of our essential national infrastructure, available to inform important decisions by governments, business and the community. Importantly, greater access and use of ABS data is occurring while simultaneously ensuring the confidentiality of individuals’ and businesses’ information. This is core activity for national statistical offices.

The ABS wants to improve the experience for those who generously supply information to the ABS. New data acquisition systems are progressively enabling us to increase the level of on-line survey completion. We continue to assess opportunities to reduce the call we make on households and businesses. This includes developing opportunities to make better use of existing information.

While much has been achieved, there is more to do. The ABS transformation will be ongoing. In a world of constant change, particularly emerging data opportunities and risks, this is both inevitable and essential.

David W. Kalisch
Australian Statistician