ABS user charging policy

The ABS User Charging Policy aligns with the Australian Government Charging Framework and enables efficient, effective, transparent and sustainable service delivery.

Community Service Obligations

The ABS’s Community Service Obligations (CSOs) for basic information on the economic and social condition of Australia and its population are met through the Basic Information Set (BIS) as determined by the Australian Statistician, in accordance with government guidelines.

The BIS is provided free of charge and currently consists of the following services:

  • Collection activities, statistical analysis and processing of surveys to final unit record file, including microdata files;
  • Contents of the ABS website (except where otherwise specified that charges apply);
  • Customer Assistance Service, formerly the National Information Referral Service (NIRS); and
  • Secure lock up services

ABS user charging principles

The principles underpinning the ABS User Charging Policy are set out below.

Principle 1:

The ABS encourages open access to and use of official statistics, while recovering the costs involved in providing services to meet the needs of particular users.

Principle 2:

The ABS provides free access to the Basic Information Set (BIS) as funded by appropriation and/or to meet community service obligations (CSOs).

Principle 3:

The ABS should recover the costs associated with services produced outside of the BIS.

Principle 4:

Charging for ABS services must be:

  • consistent with the Australian Government Charging Framework;
  • consistent with government policies, in particular the Public Data Policy Statement and CSOs; and
  • appropriate, acceptable, and reflect ABS effort to undertaking the work.
Principle 5:

The following seven principles should guide the decision as to whether to undertake a charged service:

  • the request is aligned with ABS strategic directions and priorities;
  • the ABS has the capability to undertake the work;
  • the ABS has the capacity to undertake the work;
  • the service or solution is consistent with the ABS’s legislative mandate and APS values;
  • the service or solution benefits public policy choices;
  • the service or solution does not place an unacceptable burden on providers; and
  • the service or solution does not put the ABS’s appropriated activity at risk.
Principle 6:

The ABS will use simple and efficient corporate cost models, tools, and systems in order to:

  • apply agreed costing and pricing models; and
  • record activity, invoice and attribute revenue in alignment with effort using corporate systems.
Principle 7:

Waiving of charges or discounting charged services is an exception and must have written approval from all impacted General Managers (with clear and consistent justification documented).


For further information, submit an online query using the Contact us form.

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