1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2014-15  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/10/2015   
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Unleashing the power of statistics for a better Australia


The ABS is Australia's official national statistical agency. The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics was established over 100 years ago, following enactment of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This agency became the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1975 with the passing of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. This Act also established the role of the Australian Statistician and defined the functions of the ABS.


The ABS is a trusted provider of information for Australia. It maintains the confidentiality of the individuals and businesses whose information is collected while it strives to make statistics as accessible and useful as possible.

The ABS provides statistics on a wide range of economic, population, social, and environmental matters, covering government, business and the community. It also has an important coordination function with respect to the statistical activities of other official bodies, both in Australia and overseas.


The ABS has eight offices, located in each state and territory capital city. All state and territory offices have primary responsibility for the delivery of statistical services to their state or territory. These offices have ongoing engagement with state and territory governments on statistical services and priorities, generally through state and territory committees set up for that purpose.


The ABS Corporate Plan can be found on the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au. The plan presents the ABS's vision, strategic direction, strategic priorities and objectives, as well as the ABS's transformation agenda.


The ABS is an agency under the Treasury portfolio. During 2014-15, the Hon. Steven Ciobo MP, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and Federal Member for Moncrieff, had responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Statistics from July to December 2014.

In December 2014 the Hon. Kelly O'Dwyer MP, Federal Member for Higgins, took over ministerial responsibility for the ABS when she took office as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer.


The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the Statistician with the authority to conduct statistical collections and, when necessary, to direct a person or an organisation to provide statistical information. The Act imposes obligations on the ABS to publish and disseminate compilations and analyses of statistical information, and to maintain the confidentiality of information collected under the Act.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 sets out the functions and responsibilities of the Statistician and the ABS:

(a) to constitute the central statistical authority for the Australian Government and, by arrangements with the governments of the states, provide statistical services for those governments;

(b) to collect, compile, analyse and disseminate statistics and related information;

(c) to ensure coordination of the operations of official bodies in the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics and related information, with particular regard to:

      (i) the avoidance of duplication in the collection by official bodies of information for statistical purposes;

      (ii) the attainment of compatibility between, and the integration of, statistics compiled by official bodies; and

      (iii) the maximum possible utilisation, for statistical purposes, of information, and means of collection of information, available to official bodies;

(d) to formulate, and ensure compliance with, standards for the carrying out by official bodies of operations for statistical purposes;

(e) to provide advice and assistance to official bodies in relation to statistics; and

(f) to provide liaison between Australia, on the one hand, and other countries and international organisations, on the other hand, in relation to statistical matters.

Under the Statistics (Arrangements with States) Act 1956, Australian and state government statistical services have been integrated since 1958 (from 1924 for Tasmania). Although not covered by legislation, similar arrangements apply in both territories.

There were no amendments made to the Census and Statistics Act 1905 or the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 during 2014-15.


The Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) is the ABS's key advisory body and was established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. It provides valuable input to the directions and priorities of the ABS work program and reports annually to Parliament. The Council meets at least twice a year.

As set out in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975, the role of the Council is to advise the Minister and the Statistician in relation to:

    1. the improvement, extension and coordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia
    2. 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
    3. any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.

The Chairperson of the Council is Mr Geoff Allen AM, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting. ASAC members include nominees from each of the state premiers and the territory chief ministers. The other members are appointed by the minister responsible for the ABS, and are chosen to represent a broad cross-section of perspectives, including business, government, academic and community interests.

The Australian Statistics Advisory Council's mission

The Council's mission, in keeping with its statutory charter, is to ensure the advice furnished to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and the Statistician in relation to the collection and dissemination of statistics has due regard to the relative priorities, is objective, relevant, timely, constructive and practical, and is sensitive to the needs of both suppliers and users of statistical data.

Further information on the Australian Statistics Advisory Council can be found at http:\\www.asac.gov.au or by contacting the Secretariat by mail to:
ABS Locked Bag 10 Belconnen ACT 2616.

The Council's annual report can also be found on its website.


ABS outcome

In the Portfolio Budget Statements 2014-15, the ABS has one outcome: Informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments and the community by leading the collection, analysis and provision of high quality, objective and relevant statistical information.

ABS program

Within the context of the Portfolio Budget Statements, Program 1.1 (Australian Bureau of Statistics), the ABS produces and disseminates statistics to meet the above outcome.

Economic statistics are produced predominantly from the ABS business survey program. They include an extensive range of statistical outputs relating to the structure and performance of the Australian economy.

Population and social statistics are produced mainly through the ABS household survey program. They include statistical information relating to the Australian population, including census and demographic statistics, as well as information relating to the social and economic wellbeing of the population.

Program 1.1 – Australian Bureau of Statistics – provides an objective source of information that is used by governments and the community to inform their decisions. The provision of statistics involves extensive data collection through censuses, surveys and from administrative data sources.

The ABS statistical programs are supported by service and infrastructure areas that deliver assistance and advice on statistical methods, data and metadata management, information technology, client management, dissemination, human resources and other corporate services.

Organisational structure

The ABS is led by the Australian Statistician - a statutory office established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

As at 30 June 2015, the ABS produced and disseminated statistics under two broad programs: Economic and Environment Statistics; and Population, Labour and Social Statistics. These areas of statistics involve extensive data collection through censuses and surveys and from administrative data sources. The statistical programs are supported by services which deliver assistance and advice on statistical methods, data, and metadata arrangements, information technology, data acquisition and collection, client management, dissemination, human resources and other corporate services.

The full version of the Annual Report available under the 'downloads' tab shows the ABS organisation chart as at 30 June 2015. For the current organisation chart please refer to the ABS website: http:\\www.abs.gov.au


Entity resource statements and resources for outcomes

To view the independent auditors report and related financial statements for the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the 2014-15 financial year please refer to the pdf of the Annual Report 2014-15 Australian Bureau of Statistics pages 99-157 (available via the downloads tab for this product).

The Entity Resource Statement 2014-15 and Expenses for outcomes are provided in Tables 2.1 and 2.2.

Entity resource statement
Table 2.1: Entity resource statement

Entity resource statement 2014–15
Actual available appropriation for 2014–15

Balance remaining


Ordinary Annual Services
Prior year departmental appropriation
63 304
63 304
Departmental appropriation Act 1
319 735
269 238
50 497
Departmental appropriation Act 5
1 726
1 726
S74 Retained Revenue Receipts
40 724
40 724
S27 Repayment to the Commonwealth
1 995
1 995
Departmental appropriation Act 1 – Capital Budget (DCB)
21 309
17 873
3 436
Total ordinary annual services
448 793
393 134
55 659
Other services
Departmental non-operating
Prior year departmental appropriation
Equity injections
5 328
5 328
Total other services
5 552
5 465
Total net resourcing and payments for Australian Bureau of Statistics
454 345
398 599
55 746


Table 2.2: Resources for outcomes

Expenses for Outcome 1 a
Actual Expenses

Outcome 1
Informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments and the community by leading the collection, analysis and provision of high quality, objective and relevant statistical information
Outcome 1
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation (Appropriation Bill No. 1 and 5)
362 185 (b)
364 552
(2 367)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year
32 709
29 484
Total Expenses for Outcome 1
394 894
394 036
Average staffing level (number) (c)
2 637
2 641

(a) The ABS has one outcome and one program, therefore this table should be used for both outcome and program purposes.
(b) Budget Source: 2014–15 Portfolio Budget Statements. Departmental appropriation combines ‘Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1, 3 and 5)’ and Retained Revenue Receipts under section 74 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
(c) Excludes the Census Data Processing Centre, interviewers and Census field agents.