ABS welcomes Government investment in the ABS (Media Release)

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7 May 2015
ABS welcomes Government investment in the ABS

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today welcomed the Australian Government's announcement of a major investment in the organisation to set it up for the coming decades.

The Government will invest approximately $250 million over five years to help modernise infrastructure, systems and processes used to produce critical statistics. This is the largest infrastructure investment in the ABS in the ABS' 110 year history.

Australian Statistician, David Kalisch, said the investment would help maintain the integrity of the ABS' core services, and ensure it is well positioned to meet the information needs of today's dynamic economy and changing society.

"The ABS currently maintains more than 500 systems through our many business areas, and this investment will allow us to move to an efficient enterprise-wide approach," Mr Kalisch said.

"Some of our critical IT infrastructure components are over 30 years old. One in three applications have been classed as unreliable, with issues occurring daily or weekly, and one in six applications is no longer supported by the vendor due to the technology being outdated.

"Whilst our ICT staff have been working hard to maintain the existing systems, they have become increasingly vulnerable to failure and error.

"We welcome the confidence of Government in the ABS in making this significant investment to improve our capability and responsiveness, ensure continued delivery of trusted, world-class statistics, and provide infrastructure required to drive innovation.

"This investment will also deliver ongoing savings in the long term and reduce red tape for households and businesses that provide information to the ABS."

The announcement comes before next year's Census of Population and Housing, which Mr Kalisch said will deliver a snapshot of the nation in 2016, continuing the ABS' long-term commitment to the Census.

"The ABS has a long and proud history of Census taking in Australia, and with the continued support of all Australians, we will deliver a quality and predominantly digital Census in 2016," he said.

"The move to an online first approach will provide a faster, more efficient Census that is easier for people to complete."

"The ABS will continue to look for opportunities to integrate Census data with other data sets to increase the range of insights provided and ensure the Census delivers maximum benefit to governments and the community.

"We will also keep evaluating our broader statistical program in order to produce the information that Australia needs into the future," Mr Kalisch added.

"We will progress innovations to transform our social and economic statistics over coming years to take advantage of 21st century opportunities such as advances in technology, big data and use of administrative data for statistical and research purposes."

The Government's investment will also see the ABS make better use of its office space, while maintaining an ABS presence in Canberra and all State and Territory capital cities, and explore new sources of revenue from commercial and sophisticated users of data.

For more information see Government Investment in the ABS on the ABS website.