1376.0 - Local Government and ABS, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/03/2012   
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This document was added or updated on 31/10/2012.


The ABS Rural Environment and Agriculture Statistics Branch (REASB) collect a wide range of agriculture and land management practices data via annual and sub-annual collections. Intermittent surveys and the established statistical program is designed to respond to existing and emerging information needs, they also contribute to other statistical programs undertaken by the ABS, for example the compilation of the National Accounts that provides a summary of national economic activity. The REASB survey program has four main objectives:

  • To determine and analyse the contribution of the farm sector to the Australian economy;
  • To support the determination and monitoring of rural environment and agriculture policies, for example drought relief, food security, water and natural resource policies as they relate to agriculture;
  • To support decision makers involved in producing, supplying, marketing and trading agricultural commodities and water used by the agricultural sector; and
  • To support the monitoring of issues affecting Australian rural communities.

To ensure the statistical program objectives and subsequent outcomes remain relevant, the ABS has undertaken a review of its Rural Environment and Agriculture Statistical Program. Drivers of the statistical review include rapidly evolving policy around environmental issues such as the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), which is encompassed by the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Futures program. Other national and international drivers including the release of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics – United Nations February 2010 (international), and Essential Statistical Assets for Australia – National Statistical Service May 2012 (national), have helped inform the statistical review to ensure the ABS continues to respond to emerging information.The Survey Program Review (SPR) was initiated through the release of a discussion paper: Discussion Paper: Environment and Agriculture Survey Program Review, 2011-12 (cat. no. 7105.0.55.001), on 11 October 2011. The REASB sought comment via the discussion paper on key rural environment and agriculture policy issues relevant to stakeholders to assist in understanding current and emerging policy directions and information needs. The key messages received from the submissions were:
  • A critical continued need for agricultural data, especially at low level geographies;
  • An increasing emphasis on rural environment and land use and land practice data;
  • A need for consistent data to be collected over time; and
  • A survey program that is able to remain flexible and relevant to meet the changing policy environment.

The main outcome of the SPR has been the development of the 2012-2016 statistical forward work program. The details of this program will be available to the public in early 2013. In 2013 the SPR will continue, with investigation of potential new areas of data collection not already in scope of the program. Possible introduction of these new areas into the work program will be considered alongside consultation with key stakeholder groups. The REASB engagement program will also help to facilitate collaboration and discussion among key stakeholders in the rural environment and agriculture statistical community in the determination of priority information requirements.

For more information on the REASB statistical program, please contact Katie Hutt (03) 6222 5866 or Nicole Lehmann (03) 6222 5785.