Policy on Pre-Release Access to ABS Statistics and Publications

To provide equality of access, the ABS releases its content to all users at the same time via our website. In general, this occurs at 11.30 am (Canberra time) on the day of release. Before this all ABS statistics are confidential and are under embargo.

Embargoed access to ABS content may be granted to selected stakeholders where either:

  • The interpretation of content is complex
  • On the day of release an Australian government minister, official or agency is likely to provide public comment on the release.

For selected government agencies, a secure "lockup" facility is provided for pre-release access to both market sensitive and estimated resident population statistics and publications. This enables authorised government officials and ministerial staff time to analyse the release and develop briefings for relevant ministers. The ABS does not provide pre-release access to seek comments on these finalised statistics and publications.

Authorised persons attending a lockup:

  • Will remain in a secure room managed by ABS staff.
  • Are prohibited from communicating to anyone outside the room until the embargo is lifted.
  • Sign a security undertaking with penalties for breaching the conditions of the lockup.

ABS-hosted lockups are approved for the following content:

  • Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (quarterly)
  • Labour Force, Australia - (monthly) with Average Weekly Earnings (half yearly)
  • Consumer Price Index, Australia (quarterly)
  • Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (quarterly)
  • Australian National Accounts: State Accounts (annual)
  • Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia (quarterly)
  • Retail Trade, Australia (monthly)
  • Wage Price Index, Australia (quarterly)
  • Business Turnover Indicator (monthly)

Approved Commonwealth Treasury officials are also granted access to Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product in the afternoon of the day before its release.

In exceptional circumstances, approval may be given for additional ad hoc lockups for other key statistical releases. Where possible, a public notice of intention to hold such a lockup will be published on the ABS website.

In addition to secure lockups, the ABS uses an Application Programmable Interface (API) to provide key economic data to approved wires agencies. The ABS Indicator API makes data available only when the embargo is lifted at 11.30 am (Canberra time). Access to this service will only be granted to approved wires service providers.

The following Wires service providers access the ABS Indicator API:

  • Associated Press
  • AAP
  • Bloomberg News
  • Dow Jones Newswires
  • Market News International
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Selerity

Prior to COVID, the Wires Preparation Service allowed access to a limited range of embargoed key statistical products to authorised Wires service representatives in a secure environment at the ABS NSW office.