The ABS has provided statistics to inform key decisions for over 100 years. Each year the ABS releases around 500 statistical products covering the economy, society, environment and the population with over 15 million visits to our website.
We are now one year into an ambitious five year transformation program while continuing to deliver quality, timely information that meets a range of user needs.
In 2015, the Government issued the ABS with a Statement of Expectations. In response, we have outlined our intent to be more open in our engagement with stakeholders, strengthen partnerships, and be responsive to the statistical needs of governments and the community within the constraints of available resources.
The ABS does not have the resources to undertake all the activities that fall within our legislative mandate that our users would like. This is why the ABS consults with key users on our work program, to ensure that the resources provided by the Australian Government are used to deliver the set of statistics that deliver the maximum public value.
The ABS also receives additional funding from other government agencies for specific activities, still consistent with our legislative mandate, but which could not be funded within our limited budget appropriation. This funding allows the ABS to produce statistics in important areas where there is significant government outlay or where there is significant public policy interest. We are really grateful for this support.
Four broad strategic priorities have been identified for 2016–17: delivery of the Census of Population and Housing; delivering and maintaining the quality of key statistics; progressing microdata access and integrated data; and transforming ABS for the future.
More difficult decisions around prioritisation of statistical products from 2017-18 may be required, and the ABS will consult with key stakeholders in making these decisions.
I encourage you to take the time to read through this Forward Work Program to gain a fuller understanding of what the ABS expects to deliver, and the magnitude of the changes that are planned for the ABS.
David W. Kalisch