2021–22 ASAC STATEMENT OF INTENT
PURPOSE AND ROLE OF ASAC
1. The Australian Statistics 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:
a. the improvement, extension and co-ordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia;
b. 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
c. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 the Parliament.
4. 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.
5. The Chairperson of ASAC will convey advice to the Minister as appropriate and report back to the Council.
6. ASAC 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 have the seniority to navigate and help influence the decision-making environment and to ensure the Council retains a strategic focus.
PRIORITIES FOR 2021–22
- Advise on the ABS work program under resource constraints to ensure the ongoing needs of government and stakeholders for quality data can be met in a timely, efficient and effective manner.
- Assist in clarifying ABS roles and responsibilities within an evolving institutional landscape, including data integration and access, strengthening data security, and in the promotion of an effective national statistical system.
- Assist in building and maintaining community trust, including through supporting ABS activities, identifying potential reputational risks and advising on stakeholder engagement.
- Advise on opportunities to enhance statistical capabilities across the public sector and beyond.
- Monitor and advise on the 2026 Census program in light of lessons from the 2021 Census including potential innovations in the conduct of the Census, and longer-term possibilities for the Census.
1. Three meetings are planned for 2021–22: August 2021 (virtual), November 2021 (Sydney) and March 2022 (Canberra), noting COVID-19 may affect these planned dates and locations. Additional engagement outside formal meetings may be undertaken as appropriate.
2. To meet the requirements prescribed in subsection 24(1) of the ABS Act, ASAC will provide an annual report to the Minister in line with the tabling guidelines issued by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.