This report marks my first as Chairperson of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (the Council). I have replaced Professor Sandra Harding, who retired from the position in February this year, and I would like to acknowledge and thank her for her contribution and leadership of the Council during the last five years.
The role of the Council is to provide guidance to the Minister and the Australian Statistician on the directions and priorities of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) work program.
Aspects of the proposed forward work program for the period 2007-08 to 2009-10, and resource estimates were considered by the Council at the November 2007 meeting. Following analysis of the advice received from the Council, the ABS then finalised the statistical work program for 2007-08 to 2009-10.
The largest statistical collection conducted by the ABS for 2006-07, the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, was launched on 24 July 2006 by the Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello, MP. The Treasurer also launched the first release of the 2006 Census data on 27 June 2007. The Council, which had received regular updates on the progress of the 2006 Census, were appreciative of the support provided by the Treasurer to this very important collection conducted by the ABS.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Chris Pearce, MP, addressed the Council at its June 2007 meeting and joined in the discussion on a range of issues. The Parliamentary Secretary advised the Council that he was impressed by the leadership shown by the ABS, and the quality of its work. He expressed a keen interest in the work of the Council, and felt that the Council could play an important role in talking through ideas and innovations, and assisting the ABS in putting forward new ideas to government. I would like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary for his support of the Council, and for the opportunity to meet with him and discuss statistical priorities.
The Council continues to have a full complement of members, and I acknowledge the valued contribution of all members. The work done by Council members to support the activities of the ABS, including membership of other ABS advisory groups, is also appreciated.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Adam Graycar for his contribution to the work of the Council as he resigned in June 2007 to take up a position overseas. I would also like to welcome his replacement, Mr Ben Wilson.
I am looking forward to working with the new Australian Statistician, Mr Brian Pink, who joined the Council in March 2007, during the remainder of my tenure as chair of the Council. I would also like to convey my appreciation to Mr Pink and his team for their positive approach to working with the Council, and to the advice we have provided during the year. Thanks also go to the ASAC Secretariat, without whose support the Council could not function in an effective manner.
I look forward to working with the Council, the ABS and the Minister, to continue the provision of an effective and responsive national statistical service.
This report will be available on the Council web site (www.asac.gov.au) which also contains information about the Council, including its functions and membership, together with meeting agendas.