Information Publication Scheme

About the Information Publication Scheme

Under Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) the ABS has to publish information about what we do, the way that we do it, and how we use information. We also must publish a plan for how we are going to meet these obligations. The information we release is referred to as our Information Publication Scheme (IPS) Entry.

Our plan to comply with the IPS

We have an Information Publication Scheme Agency Plan for how we will comply with the IPS. 

Who we are

The ABS is Australia’s official national statistical agency. It was established as the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, following enactment of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (C&S Act). The agency became the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1975 with the passing of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (ABS Act). The ABS is led by the Australian Statistician (the Statistician) – a statutory office established by the ABS Act. The Statistician is appointed by the Governor-General under section 7 of the ABS Act.

Information on the ABS’ organisational structure can be found in our Organisation Chart.

What we do

The ABS Act establishes the role of the Statistician (section 5) and defines the functions of the ABS (section 6): 

  • to constitute the central statistical authority for the Australian Government and, by arrangements with the governments of the states, provide statistical services for those governments
  • to collect, compile, analyse and disseminate statistics and related information
  • to ensure coordination of the operations of official bodies in the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics and related information, with particular regard to:
    • the avoidance of duplication in the collection by official bodies of information for statistical purposes
    • the attainment of compatibility between, and the integration of, statistics compiled by official bodies
    • the maximum possible utilisation, for statistical purposes, of information, and means of collection of information, available to official bodies
  • to formulate, and ensure compliance with, standards for the carrying out by official bodies of operations for statistical purposes
  • to provide advice and assistance to official bodies in relation to statistics, and
  • to provide liaison between Australia, on the one hand, and other countries and international organisations, on the other hand, in relation to statistical matters.

The ABS Act also establishes the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) to provide input to the directions and priorities of the ABS work program. Current membership of the Council can be found on the ASAC website page.

The C&S Act provides the Statistician with the authority to conduct statistical collections and, when necessary, to direct a person or an organisation to provide statistical information. The Statistician's authority to direct people and organisations to provide statistical information are set out in section 10 and 11 of the C&S Act. The Statistician or an authorized officer may also, at reasonable times, enter certain types of premises prescribed by the Act, for the purpose of supplying persons with forms, collecting forms that have been supplied, and making enquiries for the purposes of the Act.

The ABS' Surveys Charter details what you can expect from the ABS when it is exercising its survey functions.

For information on other guidelines and policies that the ABS uses, please refer to the Legislation and policy page on the ABS website.

Our Annual Reports

The ABS' annual report provides a detailed description of the ABS' activities during each financial year, reporting against planned outcomes.

The ASAC annual report provides information about the Council's activities for each financial year.

Requested information

The ABS publishes the information it releases to FOI applicants as part of its Disclosure log. To see the information that the ABS has released in response to FOI requests since 1 November 2010, please refer to the disclosure log.

To make a request to access information not available on the website please refer to the Freedom of Information page.


When the ABS proposes new ideas or seeks public comments on its releases, they will be released as media statements and appear on our home page on the day they are released and in the ABS media centre. The statements will contain information about how to have your say.

Contact us

For more information about access to the ABS' information or documents under the FOI Act please email  The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

The ABS values public feedback on our publications and website, so if you would like to have your say on any of our publications feel free to contact us through

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