At the invitation of former Minister, Hon Michael Sukkar MP, I assumed the role of the Chairperson of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) in February 2022, succeeding Dr Gary Banks AO. On behalf of members, I thank Dr Banks for his leadership of the Council over the past five years and wish him well for the future. His efforts are widely acknowledged to have raised the profile of the Council and improved its capacity to advise the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) during a challenging period.
The Council has an important role in assisting the ABS to enhance its effectiveness as a public institution. The ABS aims to deliver timely and relevant data to inform decision-making across the private and public sectors of the Australian economy. Better decisions based on better data make for steady improvement in the welfare of all Australians.
The Council connects the ABS to its key constituents, including state and territory governments, public sector agencies and representatives of private industry. This assists the ABS to set priorities among the competing demands for its services, and to ensure that its decisions are accountable to major users of public data.
The past year has seen the return of face-to-face meetings of the Council. These have been welcomed by members, especially the opportunity to gather informally over dinner on the evening prior to the Council meeting itself. Relationships formed in this way assist materially in building rapport among Council members, as well as mutual understanding of the challenges faced in different parts of the country and in different sectors of the economy.
This annual report provides a brief account of ASAC’s activities over the past year and identifies future areas of focus. I thank Council members for their warm welcome to me as incoming Chairperson and for their active engagement with the business of the Council at each meeting. On behalf of the Council, I would also like to thank members of the ASAC Secretariat for their logistical and technical support of the Council’s affairs.
Professor Ian Harper AO