About the ABS

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ABS Corporate Plan
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Our Purpose

To inform Australia’s important decisions by delivering relevant, trusted, and objective data, statistics, and insights.

Our Role

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 a leadership role in enhancing the use of public data for statistical purposes and improving the Australian Government’s data and statistical capabilities. It works in partnership with other organisations to expand and improve the quality of statistical data and information available to governments and the community. The ABS advises official bodies on producing and using data and statistics, formulates standards, works with states and territories, and liaises internationally with other national statistical organisations.

The ABS also leads the Australian Public Service (APS) Data Professional Stream to build the data capabilities of the APS workforce.

Our Legislation

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 has 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, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, the National Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2022, and the Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022.

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