The primary functions, duties and powers of the ABS are set out in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 and the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 establishes the ABS as an independent statutory authority and legislates its main function as the central statistical authority for the Australian Government and provider of services for state and territory governments.
- The Census and Statistics Act 1905 empowers the Australian Statistician to collect statistical information on a broad range of demographic, economic, environmental and social topics and contains strong provisions to maintain the confidentiality of information collected under the Act.
- The Census and Statistics (Information Release and Access) Determination 2018 enables the Statistician to release information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 when specific conditions are met.
The ABS must comply with the governance and accountability system defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The ABS must also comply with a range of legislation including the Public Service Act 1999, the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Privacy Act 1988 and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.
To inform Australia’s important decisions by delivering relevant, trusted and objective data, statistics and insights.
The ABS is Australia’s national statistical agency. It provides trusted official statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters of importance to Australia.
The ABS has leadership roles in maximising the use of public data for statistical purposes and improving the Australian Government’s data and statistical capabilities. The ABS advises official bodies on producing and using data and statistics, formulates standards, works with Australian States and Territories and liaises internationally.
The Australian Statistician articulates ABS strategic priorities to ensure activities planned and executed are coherent, complementary and coordinated.
The ABS currently has five enterprise-level strategic priorities:
Priority 1: Produce high quality statistics
Priority 2: Generate timely new insights
Priority 3: Exercise leadership in the data landscape
Priority 4: Reduce burden on data providers
Priority 5: Enhance organisational capability, resilience and adaptability.