ABS statistics now free online, 2005

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December 12, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS statistics now free online

From today all statistics on the ABS website, www.abs.gov.au, can be accessed free of charge.

The new policy was announced last Thursday by the Treasurer, The Hon. Peter Costello MP as an ABS Centenary tribute to the people of Australia. The Treasurer's speech can be viewed at www.treasurer.gov.au

The change means that all statistics, tables, spreadsheets and Census data are now available free to any member of the public with internet access.

ABS' past policy of charging for electronic publications was partly eased at the end of June this year as a result of additional federal government funding. The latest announcement extends free access to all statistics on the ABS website.

There are more than four million Australian households with internet access who will now be able to access as much ABS information as they wish.

In announcing this news, the Treasurer said the Government recognised the importance of access to official statistics in providing a reliable and up-to-date view of Australian society, the economy and the environment.

He said this initiative was in line with the Government's Backing Australia's Ability policy, and will ensure decision-makers within the Australian Government and state/territory governments, business and the community have readily available statistical information with which to make informed decisions.

ABS statistics show that internet access by Australian households has increased from 16% of all households in 1998 to 53% in 2003. The access rate by all businesses in 2004 was 74% - which represented more than 500,000 businesses.

Members of the public will still be able to use the ABS' e-commerce facility to buy their own printed publications if they prefer to receive them that way.