2018 ASAC Statement of Intent
Purpose and Role of ASAC
The Australian Statistical Advisory Council (ASAC) was established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (the ABS Act).
The ABS Act (section 18) states that:
(1) The functions of the Council are to advise the Minister and the Statistician in relation to:
- the improvement, extension and co-ordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia;
- annual and longer term priorities and programs of work that should be adopted in relation to major aspects of the provision of those statistical services; and
- any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.
(2) Either the Minister or the Statistician, or both of them, may refer matters of the kind referred to in subsection (1) to the Council for the purpose of seeking the advice of the Council in relation to those matters.
In line with its legislated functions, ASAC will represent government and community interests by advising the Minister and the Australian Statistician on Australia’s current and longer-term statistical priorities and how the ABS work program can deliver on them.
As an advisory forum to the ABS with broad membership and understanding of the wider environment, ASAC will:
- Advise the Minister and the ABS in relation to the ABS’ functions
- Provide input into the strategic directions, risks, priorities and key deliverables of the ABS
- Advocate for an effective national statistical system and support the ABS’ role within it
- Report annually to Parliament.
To help the ABS respond to issues and plan for the future, ASAC will:
- Provide the ABS with frank advice and feedback
- Draw on the expertise of ASAC members and seek input from stakeholders
- Raise risks and identify potential issues
- Provide guidance where needed to ensure the ABS remains a trusted and relevant data provider.
The Chairperson of ASAC will convey advice to the Minister and report back at ASAC meetings.
ASAC’s membership is balanced to ensure varied community and government representation while remaining of a manageable size. Members are appointed for their ability to identify emerging needs and promote the value of data and its coordination within and across jurisdictions and sectors. They will have the seniority to navigate and help influence the decision-making environment and, by understanding the key aspects and drivers of the statistical system, will ensure the Council retains a strategic focus.
Priorities for 2018
- Preparation for 2021 Census – content of the Census to be re-examined as topics have remained unchanged since the 2011 Census; the Council can assist both in suggesting and reviewing potential changes, as well as advising on managing public expectations and input.
- ABS transformation – provision of ongoing monitoring and advice to ensure that goals are realised for both the Statistical Business Transformation Program and broader transformation activities.
- Data integration and access - advise on data integration activities that can improve the national evidence base for decision-making, and on the ABS’s role in the Data Integration Partnership for Australia. ASAC to help promote the benefits of this work. ASAC may also advise on issues for the ABS raised by the Government's response to the Productivity Commission report on Data Availability and Use.
- Resourcing key collections – ASAC’s 2016-17 Annual Report noted the risks to ABS national collections posed by current funding arrangements. ASAC to provide guidance to the Minister/Government and the ABS about key statistical collections and resourcing implications.
Three face-to-face meetings are planned for 2018, with further opportunities for engagement as required between meetings. In addition to the Canberra meeting in February, meetings will be held in Melbourne (August) and Sydney (November).
In line with requirements prescribed in subsection 24(1) of the ABS Act, ASAC will continue to provide an annual report to the Minister.