1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics - Annual Report, 2018-19  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/10/2019   
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Corporate governance


As an agency of the Australian Government, the ABS is accountable to the Parliament, and ultimately to the public, through the Treasury ministers, the Parliamentary committee process, and the tabling of its annual report.

As the Accountable Authority for the ABS, the Australian Statistician is required to establish and maintain an appropriate system of risk oversight and management for the ABS. This includes an appropriate system of internal controls which sets out corporate governance structures and processes. These controls assist ABS staff members to undertake their responsibilities in a way that meets community expectations of public accountability, probity and transparency.

Corporate governance arrangements ensure the effective operation of the ABS, including transparent decision-making, accountable leadership, sound risk management, and effective planning and review processes.

Governance fora

An important feature of ABS corporate governance is the role played by governance boards, councils and committees. These fora provide critical avenues for decision making, seeking and providing advice, and facilitating consultation. Activities undertaken by ABS governance committees include: developing policies and strategies, identifying ABS priorities, assessing and responding to risks, and monitoring performance.

In November 2018 the Executive Board reviewed the effectiveness of the governance model implemented in mid-2017. The Board endorsed updates to membership and responsibilities of each forum to further strengthen the governance structure that enables effective and efficient decision making within the ABS.

Following the review, internal ABS governance fora are now more clearly defined within one of three categories:

1. primary governance boards: principal decision-making bodies that support the Australian Statistician
2. advisory committees: some decision-making powers in line with delegation from primary governance boards
3. engagement fora: no decision-making powers; provides advice and facilitates engagement with internal and external stakeholders.

The major governance fora in place for 2018–19 are outlined in Table 6.1.

Table 6.1: Governance fora 2018–19
Primary governance boards
Executive Board
The Executive Board is a decision-making board, chaired by the Australian Statistician, to provide leadership and strategic oversight of the ABS. It provides advice to the Australian Statistician in order for him, as the authorised decision maker under the PGPA Act, to determine direction, policy, priorities, and to ensure the efficient, economical and ethical operations of the ABS.
Audit Committee
The ABS Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Australian Statistician on financial and performance reporting responsibilities, risk oversight and management, and the system of internal controls, including those applied to ensure legislative compliance and the execution of ABS functions. The current Chair of the ABS Audit Committee is Ms. Jennifer Clark.
Sub-Committees to the ABS Executive Board
Data Innovations and Statistical Strategy Committee
The Data Innovations and Statistical Strategy Committee is an advisory committee that guides the strategic direction of the statistical program and drives data and statistical innovation in the ABS. It assists with the prioritisation of ABS data and statistical futures, consistent with the ABS strategic priorities and directions as set by the Executive Board. It also ensures data and statistical assets of the ABS are sustained and enhanced for the future.
People Committee
The People Committee is responsible for providing cross-group engagement and effective input on the monitoring, prioritisation and operational decisions associated with people, capability and partnership functions. It includes representatives from each of the ABS diversity networks.
Security Committee
The Security Committee is responsible for ensuring the ABS complies with its legal and legislative requirements related to security. Its purpose is to ensure there are adequate internal policies, guidelines and effective practices which meet the security and privacy related requirements of relevant government policy i.e. the Protective Security Policy Framework, and the Information Security Manual.
Resource Prioritisation Committee
The Resource Prioritisation Committee is responsible for ensuring cross-group engagement on the planning, prioritisation, and allocation of resources. The Committee provides advice on strategic and key issues impacting the financial stability of the ABS; it oversees the effective planning and allocation of resources and monitors allocations and expenditure to ensure rigour, discipline and transparency. In addition, the Committee advises on adjustments to resource allocations in response to high priority in-year and emerging issues, supports effective risk management frameworks, and provides feedback and advice on relevant policies.
Advisory committees
Australian Statistics Advisory Council
The Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) is the ABS’ key advisory body and is established under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. ASAC provides independent advice to the Minister responsible for the ABS and the Australian Statistician on improvement of statistical services, longer-term statistical priorities, and other relevant matters. It also reports to the Parliament annually. The chairperson of ASAC is Professor Gary Banks AO.
Statistical Business Transformation Program Executive Board
The Statistical Business Transformation (SBT) Program is the flagship transformation initiative of the ABS. This advisory board was established to provide high-level and independent advice and guidance to the Australian Statistician. The Board has overarching visibility of the SBT Program and is responsible for advising on investment decisions and associated commitments to government, ensuring the ongoing alignment of the SBT Program with the strategic direction and goals of the ABS.
2021 Census Executive Board
The 2021 Census Board, chaired by the Australian Statistician, provides advice around achievement of 2021 Census Program objectives, and monitoring the planning, development, operation, and delivery phases of the 2021 Census Program.
2021 Census Delivery Committee
The 2021 Census Delivery Committee, chaired by the Census Senior Responsible Officer (SRO), is responsible for providing advice, and monitoring and reviewing preparations for the 2021 Census, including but not limited to the following: adherence to the agreed design principles; determining whether delivery elements are within the agreed scope and budget; monitoring risks and response plans; securing the input and agreement of senior stakeholders to ensure progress of the program; assuring operational stability and effectiveness; and monitoring privacy and security plans.
Disclosure Review Committee
The Disclosure Review Committee (DRC) advises the Chief Methodologist on the disclosure risks and mitigation strategies associated with the dissemination of microdata and, on an exception basis, aggregate statistics. The Committee may also initiate reviews to continuously improve procedures, processes and policies, or undertake investigations where warranted or where directed by the Executive Board.
Statistical Business Transformation Program Delivery Board
The Statistical Business Transformation Program (SBTP) Delivery Board is responsible for driving the program and delivering outcomes and benefits. This includes, but is not limited to: formulating the yearly program and recommending the program to the SBT Program Executive Board; defining the acceptable risk profile and risk thresholds for the program; and ensuring that the program delivers within its agreed boundaries.
National Health and Safety Committee
The National Health and Safety Committee (NHSC) is the forum at which the ABS, its workers and their representatives discuss organisational health and safety matters and issues. It plays a key role in our work health and safety (WHS) governance by: receiving and considering information and issues; making decisions and recommendations on organisational WHS matters; and identifying safety matters for appropriate decision-making by the People Committee.
Methodology Advisory Committee
The Methodology Advisory Committee (MAC), chaired by the Chief Methodologist, is an expert advisory group of statisticians and data scientists drawn mainly from, but not restricted to, universities across Australia and New Zealand. The function of the Committee is to provide expert advice to the Chief Methodologist on selected methodological issues that arise across the production of national statistics e.g. survey design, data linkage, analysis, confidentialisation and dissemination.
Economics Statistics Advisory Group
The Economic Statistics Advisory Group (ESAG) is an advisory committee to the Deputy Australian Statistician, Statistical Services Group. It is an important mechanism through which the user community can provide feedback on current and planned ABS developments in the field of economic statistics. This Group nurtures the interaction between senior ABS executives and key user groups including influential researchers, policy advisors and decision makers who have a sound appreciation of the use and value of economic statistics.
Population and Social Statistics Advisory Group
The Population and Social Statistics Advisory Group (PSSAG) is an advisory committee to the Deputy Australian Statistician, Statistical Services Group. It is an important mechanism through which the user community can provide feedback on current and planned ABS developments in the field of population and social statistics. This Group nurtures the interaction between the ABS and informed users of population and social statistics to gain valuable input from their knowledge and expertise.
State Statistical Forum
The State Statistical Forum (SSF), chaired by the Deputy Australian Statistician, Statistical Services Group, is an information sharing and engagement body. It supports effective interaction between the ABS and the states and territories to address common statistical issues.

Changes to governance fora during 2018–19:
    • creation of the Data Innovations and Statistical Strategy Committee, formed through the merger of the Statistical Strategy Committee and the Data Integration Sub-Committee
    • cessation of the Service Improvement Steering Committee, Statistical Strategy Committee, and Data Integration Sub-Committee
    • change of name from Resource Prioritisation and Finance Committee to Resource Prioritisation Committee.

Australian Statistics Advisory Council

The Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC, the Council) is the ABS’ key advisory body and was established under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. In line with its legislated functions, ASAC represents government and community interests by providing independent advice to the Minister responsible for the ABS and to the Australian Statistician on the improvement of Australia’s current statistical services and longer-term statistical priorities. The Council also reports annually to Parliament.

The Chairperson of the Council is Professor Gary Banks AO, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. ASAC members are drawn from a broad cross-section, including the Australian Government, state and territory governments, business and academia. The Council’s diversity helps shape the advice it provides on the ABS’ strategic management and transformation. ASAC also provides valuable input into the directions and priorities of the ABS work program. The representation of all states and territories on the Council is critical to achieving whole-of-government support for improvements to the statistical system.

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:
a) the improvement, extension and coordination 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
c) any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.

Australian Statistics Advisory Council – March 2019

ASAC's mission

The mission of the Council is to contribute to the effective development of Australia’s statistical assets, by providing the Minister and the Australian Statistician with independent, relevant and timely advice on national priorities.

Further information on ASAC, including its annual report, can be found at www.asac.gov.au.

Changes in Council membership

The past year saw a number of changes to the Council’s membership.

The Council welcomed the appointment of the following senior state/territory government representatives in the second half of 2018: Mr David Braines-Mead, Deputy Under Treasurer (Northern Territory); and Mr Alistair Jones, Executive Director (Economic Business Unit), Department of Treasury (Western Australia).

Community representation on the Council also increased in the first half of 2019, with the appointment of Mr Adam Boyton, Chief Economist (Business Council of Australia), and Ms Meghan Quinn PSM, Deputy Secretary, Macroeconomic Group (The Treasury). In addition, two members of the Council accepted re-appointment: Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, Professor of Economics (The University of Sydney), and Dr Luci Ellis, Assistant Governor (Reserve Bank of Australia).

Risk oversight and management

The ABS implemented a new Risk Management Framework in 2018–19. While risk management continues to centre on the vigilance and initiative of staff and managers, the ABS has adopted a layered approach to risk that ensures an appropriate level of monitoring and oversight at both the business unit and enterprise levels. While our most complex projects and business critical functions adopt a very active stance on risk, other aspects of our business that are less exposed to irregular and uncertain environmental forces adopt a less intensive model that is, nevertheless, equally fit-for-purpose.

Our new Risk Governance and Accountability Arrangements have established a comprehensive set of responsibilities and accountabilities for staff and managers and allocated clear roles to specialist subject-matter committees for close oversight of relevant risk categories. The Terms of Reference for all internal committees have been reviewed and updated as necessary to ensure risk management responsibilities are both prominent and unambiguous. The ABS uses 11 risk categories, with tailored risk appetite levels, to give structure to our risk analyses and reporting.

The ABS continues to apply the ‘3 Lines of Defence’ model for our risk management, which combines: suitably trained and attentive business-unit level staff and managers; appropriately skilled and accessible corporate risk advisors and third party consultants; and independent expert external auditors. This proven model is further reinforced for our high-risk projects, such as Census 2021, with dedicated staff and advisors who can facilitate and sustain a level of focused risk management appropriate to the activity.

The Executive Board has continued to play an active role in shaping and overseeing the strategic risk appreciation process. In addition to quarterly routine risk reports, the Board actively solicits risk ‘deep dives’ for areas of significant or emerging risk. This is further reinforced through the use of senior executive level project boards that maintain active oversight of major project risks. As in past years, the Executive Board has been active in communicating the importance of improved risk consciousness within the business. In ‘town hall’ presentations to the organisation, and in Group-level gatherings, individual members of the Board have routinely stressed the importance of continuing to work on further maturing our risk capability.

The ABS Audit Committee has also played a critical role in sharpening the focus on risk assessment and management. This injection of external independent advice continues to provide the ABS with insight into better practice and is a trusted source of positive critique for the Australian Statistician and the wider Executive Board on the effectiveness of our risk management framework and risk culture.

Fraud control

The ABS has a Fraud Control Plan in line with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017 and requirements of Section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (the Fraud Rule). It includes strategies for ensuring all reasonable fraud control measures are taken and provides the framework and associated guidance for fraud prevention, detection, investigation or otherwise dealing, reporting, and procedures that meet the specific needs of the ABS and broader government obligations. This includes activities to build on fraud awareness and guidance for staff on reporting fraud through appropriate mechanisms. It is also supported by a fraud risk assessment which records identified fraud risks, treatment strategies, responsibilities, dates for implementation and reporting obligations.

The ABS Fraud Control Plan is reviewed and updated biennially. The fraud risk assessment is reviewed every two years or more frequently where the ABS has identified significant changes to fraud risk exposure. The ABS Audit Committee has oversight of ABS fraud control activity.

A fraud control assessment was conducted by an independent assessor in the December 2017–January 2018 period. This assessment found that ‘Compared to 2016, the ABS’ residual fraud risk has decreased due to increased oversight of existing controls and the implementation of new controls in key areas’. Nonetheless, changes in the nature of fraud risk mean that the ABS must continue to be alert to the potential for fraud. The fraud risk assessment specifically pointed to the growing use of flexible working arrangements and the risk posed by third parties as aspects of ABS operations that require close attention in future.

Compliance with finance law

Sections 17AG and 17BE of the PGPA Rule require that Commonwealth entities’ annual reports must include a statement of any significant issues or instances of non-compliance in relation to the finance law. Entities must also notify the responsible Minister under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act during the reporting period and outline the actions taken to remedy the non-compliance. As the Finance Minister has responsibility for the finance law, accountable authorities should also provide a copy of their notifications of significant non-compliance with the finance law to the Finance Minister.

The ABS has not identified any instances of significant or systemic non-compliance in 2018–19.


Security of information provided to the ABS is key to maintaining the high levels of trust that enable the ABS to operate effectively and fulfil its mission. In June 2019 the Information Security Branch was merged into a new Security and Infrastructure Branch to bolster the operational governance of the ABS computer network.

The ABS’ statistical work programs rely on information technology (IT) systems, and the ABS invests in significant security controls and risk assurance functions to support these systems. The Security and Infrastructure Branch collaborates with relevant business areas to ensure systems monitoring, security assessments and management of IT-related risks are consistent with the ABS’ operational and risk management requirements. Security controls and risk assurance functions are supported by a regular testing regime, informed by expert security services including Australian Government cyber intelligence entities.

All ABS premises are physically secured against unauthorised access. Entry is through electronically controlled access systems, activated by individually coded access cards and monitored by closed circuit television. Areas of the ABS producing particularly sensitive data, such as market sensitive statistics, are subject to further protective security assurances including additional personnel security background checks.

The ABS computer network has a secure gateway which allows connection to internet services including the ABS website. The secure gateway was established in accordance with Australian Government guidelines and is reviewed bi-annually by an accredited independent assessor endorsed by the Australian Signals Directorate. Access to ABS computing systems is based on personal identifiers and strong authentication services. Databases are accessible only by approved users. The computer systems are regularly monitored and usage is audited. There were no unauthorised access incidents into ABS computing systems during 2018–19.

The ABS is taking a strong approach to ensure the security of the upcoming Census in 2021. Drawing on the MacGibbon Review of the incidents surrounding the Census in 2016, and other insights, the ABS has enacted additional security governance measures, ensuring security is built into all systems that will support the taking of the Census in 2021.


As an Australian Government agency, the ABS must comply with the Privacy Act 1988, including the Australian Privacy Principles. These govern the way personal information about any person – including staff, customers and respondents – should be collected, stored, used and disclosed. The ABS’ Privacy Policy is published on the ABS website.

In 2018 the Australian Government amended the Privacy Act 1988 to further protect the privacy of Australians. The amendments introduced the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2017 on 22 February 2018 and the Privacy (Australian Government Agencies – Governance) APP Code 2017 (Privacy Code) on 1 July 2018. The ABS has not had a notifiable data breach and was compliant with the requirements of the Privacy Code from date of commencement (July 2018).

The ABS has a Privacy Officer and a Privacy Champion, both of whom are active in promoting privacy in the ABS. They provide leadership and advice on privacy issues and promote a positive privacy culture that values and protects personal information, while also assisting the ABS to meet the legislative requirements of the Privacy Code. The ABS participated in, and was a sponsor of, Privacy Awareness Week in 2018–19 to promote awareness of privacy within the ABS.

Protecting the privacy of Australians

The continued trust and support of our survey respondents and information providers is critical to the ABS. We maintain the secrecy of the information provided to us, as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905, while also ensuring that we meet the additional requirements of the Privacy Act 1988, the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme and the Privacy Code.

The ABS continues to take a strong ‘privacy by design’ approach to protecting the privacy of Australians. As planning and preparation for the 2021 Census of Population and Housing ramps up, so does its privacy program to ensure the information provided by people participating in and working on the Census is kept private. Preparation of a privacy impact assessment of the 2021 Census is underway. It will be undertaken by an independent service provider and will be published on the ABS website 12 months before the Census is held in August 2021.

Information Publication Scheme

As an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), the ABS is required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS).

Each agency must display a plan on its website showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements.

The ABS’ IPS plan is available on the ABS website.

External scrutiny

Australian National Audit Office reviews

The ANAO published two performance audits in 2018–19 that examined aspects of ABS business.

The first of these was the Report on Statistical Business Transformation Program – Managing Risk which began in late 2017 and was finalised in August 2018. This review identified areas of improvement in the oversight of risk that have been comprehensively addressed through the finalisation of the new Enterprise Risk Management Framework.

The second review of relevance was the Closing the Gap report which looked at the arrangements for monitoring, evaluating and reporting progress towards ‘Closing the Gap’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. The review found that the ABS had successfully collated and reported data to the support agencies with program oversight responsibilities. The ABS has accepted, and is implementing, the recommendation that quality assurance checks and approvals are more systematically documented.

Statistical Business Transformation Program – Gateway Reviews

The ABS has been the subject of five Gateway Reviews of the Statistical Business Transformation Program (SBTP), the most recent being in January 2019. These reviews are conducted on behalf of the Department of Finance.

The January 2019 review looked at the Program in relation to: policy context and strategic fit; business case and stakeholders; risk management; review of current phase; assessment of intended outcomes and benefits; and readiness for next review phase. In addition to a comprehensive review of program documentation, the review team interviewed senior staff from across the ABS. The ABS received positive feedback from the review team about the commitment and professionalism of all the staff interviewed.

The ABS has accepted and is addressing the six recommendations made by the Gateway Review Team.

The next mid-stage review of the Program is scheduled for mid-November 2019.

Other reviews

There were no other external reviews in 2018–19 that had a significant effect on the operations of the entity, with no reports issued by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner issued a decision (AICmr 7) on 25 February 2019 where part of the ABS’ decision to withhold information under s55K of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 was set aside and a new decision was made by the Information Commissioner. There were no other individual or administrative review decisions of significance to the ABS.

There were no adverse comments or findings relating to the ABS from the Auditor-General, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, or courts or tribunals during 2018–19.

Submissions to parliamentary committees

Table 6.2: Submissions to parliamentary committees, 2018–19

Committee/Inquiry Description of submission/information provided

Independent Review of the Australian Public ServiceIn July 2018, the ABS provided a submission to the Committee of the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service headed by David Thodey and further wrote to Mr Thodey on 14 March 2019.

United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of LibertyIn July 2018, the ABS contributed to the Attorney-General's Department request for input into the United Nations' Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

Senate Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education Following on from the ABS’ submission to the Senate Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education in June 2018, two ABS staff participated in in a panel discussion with members of other Commonwealth agencies on 7 September 2018.

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit – Inquiry into Australian Government contract reporting In November 2018, the ABS provided a response to a question from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit's Inquiry into Australian Government Contract Reporting regarding contracts with the 'big four' consulting firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC) in the last five years.

Norfolk Island Inter-Departmental CommitteeIn December 2018, the ABS provided a brief update on ABS services and activities on Norfolk Island to the Norfolk Island Inter-Departmental Committee.

Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee – The framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia In February 2019, the ABS provided input to the Department of Human Services response to a Question on Notice from the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into industrial death rates.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and SafetyOn 12 February 2019, Program Manager, Health and Disability Branch appeared as a witness to give evidence on behalf of the Australian Bureau of Statistics regarding data sources related to health and ageing.

Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs – The effectiveness of the current temporary skilled visas system in targeting genuine skills shortagesIn March 2019, the ABS provided a response to a Question on Notice from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee inquiry into the effectiveness of the current temporary skilled visa system in targeting genuine skills shortages.

NSW Government – The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’In March, and again in May 2019, the ABS provided submissions to the NSW Government's Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’.

SA Government – Economic and Finance Committee’s inquiry into the economic contribution of migration to South AustraliaIn June 2019, the ABS provided a written submission regarding data availability in support of a scheduled appearance before the committee on 3 July 2019.


ABS procurement and contracting activities are undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. These rules are applied consistently to procurement activities through the Accountable Authority Instructions, supporting operational guidelines and procurement framework.

Information on procurements expected to be undertaken are advertised in an annual procurement plan, available from the AusTender website. This plan is reviewed and updated throughout the year.

No contracts with the value of $100,000 or greater (inclusive of GST) were let during 2018–19 that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Initiatives to support small business

The ABS supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website.

ABS procurement practices support SMEs by adopting whole-of-government solutions to simplify interactions. This includes using the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000.

The ABS recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Department of the Treasury website.


The ABS engages consultants when it requires specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Decisions to engage consultants during 2018–19 were made in accordance with the PGPA Act and related regulations, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policy.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

During 2018–19, 38 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $3.5 million. In addition, 29 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $4.2 million (Table 6.3).

There were two major drivers of the ABS’ continued use of consultancy services in 2018–19:

  • The ABS’ Statistical Business Transformation Program (SBTP) – the nature and stage of this project have necessitated that the ABS work closely with the ICT industry and other stakeholders, utilising both consultants and contractors, to deliver the transformation program and provide independent assurance services to the program.
  • The establishment of the 2021 Census Work Program and related consultancy services such as independent assurance and continued assistance with the Program Management Office.

Table 6.3: Number and expenditure on consultants, 2018–19
No. of new contracts entered into during the period
Total actual expenditure during the period on new contracts (incl. GST)
No. of ongoing contracts engaging consultants that were entered into during a previous period
Total actual expenditure during the period on ongoing contracts (incl. GST)

Exempt contracts

During the 2018–19 financial year the ABS did not exempt any contracts or standing offers from publication on AusTender on the basis that they would disclose exempt information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Asset management

The ABS’ asset management policies are set out in the Accountable Authority Instructions and supporting financial management procedures, which is in accordance with relevant accounting standards and Department of Finance requirements. Further details on the ABS’ asset policies are contained in note 2.2 of the Financial Statements.

An asset register records details of all assets held by the ABS. An annual stocktake is conducted to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information held on the register. The capital management plan sets out the ABS’ longer-term asset requirements and funding sources for ongoing asset replacement and investment. The capital budget process is integrated with strategic planning and is conducted in conjunction with the annual operating budget process.

Advertising and market research

Under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the ABS is required to disclose payments over $13,800 (GST inclusive) for advertising and market research in the annual report.

During 2018–19, the ABS’ total expenditure for advertising and market research over the reporting threshold was $798,448 (GST inclusive) (Table 6.4), the vast majority of which was expended on explorative research on public attitudes and behaviours towards Census and media monitoring services.

Further information on these advertising campaigns is available at www.abs.gov.au and in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance’s website.

Table 6.4: Advertising and market research payments over $13,800, 2018–19
Expenditure ($, GST inclusive)

Market research organisations
Night Parrot Pty Ltd2021 Census Communication Review
Taylor Nelson Sofres Australia Pty LimitedExplorative Research on public attitudes and behaviours to Census
Insight Analytics Pty Ltd2021 Census Behavioural Research

Advertising (Campaign and non-campaign advertising)
Universal McCann2018-19 General Recruitment Advertising
Universal McCannNational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) Radio Advertising
Dentsu Mitchell Media Australia Pty Ltd2018-19 General Recruitment Advertising
Universal McCann2018-19 Graduate Recruitment Advertising
Australian Public Service Commission2018-19 Graduate Recruitment Advertising

Public relations organisations
2B Advertising and DesignLongitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) Product Suite Graphic Design
Isentia Pty LtdMedia Monitoring Services

Total Payments over $13,800 (GST Inclusive)