1006.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics - Forward Work Program , 2017-18  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/10/2017   
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The ABS is focusing on three strategic priorities for 2017-18:

    Priority 1: Providing high quality official statistics.
    Priority 2: Transforming the ABS for the future.
    Priority 3: Delivering new statistical solutions to maximise the value of public data.


The ABS will deliver high quality official statistics to enable informed decision making by governments, business and the community. In doing so, the ABS will continue to work with its stakeholders including its strategic advisory groups and technical reference groups.

Key statistical deliverables for the ABS include Estimated Resident Population and associated demographic information, and the main economic indicators of Consumer Price Index, Labour Force Survey, National Accounts and the critical statistical inputs into these indicators.

An important deliverable in 2017-18 is statistical outputs from the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, to be released on 15 November 2017.

The ABS has also prioritised statistics that inform significant public policy questions and significant government spending decisions, most notably in the areas of health, disability and carers, welfare, education and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In addition, the ABS environmental economic accounting work informs public debate about energy and water policy.

The planning and preparations for the 2021 Census has begun. The Census is a major exercise, with planning, development, testing, implementation and delivery spanning at least six years. The ABS is building on learnings from the 2016 Census experience (including findings from the MacGibbon Review, the Senate Inquiry and the Census Independent Assurance Panel established by the ABS) to deliver a 2021 Census which is easy for the general public, provides security of information and produces high quality data.

The 2021 Census Executive Board, chaired by the Australian Statistician, has been established to provide strategic guidance to the program. The Board includes two experienced, external members who bring insights from other major programs both within and outside of the public service.

Priority goals for 2017-18 are to:
    • deliver the agreed ABS Statistical Forward Work Program to a very high standard in accordance with the ABS release schedule;
    • improve the relevance of statistical outputs by driving innovative solutions, ensuring compliance with standards and improving coverage and coherence;
    • work collaboratively with stakeholders to improve analytical capability and capacity, and take advantage of data development opportunities; and
    • build and maintain strong relationships with data providers; across business, households and all governments.


The ABS transformation program is a key enabler to ensure the organisation continues to meet Australia’s information requirements. The program is ongoing, as the ABS needs to be able to adapt to meet the changing information requirements of governments, business and the community now and into the future. The transformation program focusses on the following six dimensions:
    • Environment - collaboration with stakeholders to understand and respond better to the current and future external environment.
    • Strategy - strategies enabling rigorous statistics, strong partnerships, and effective use of resources.
    • Governance - governance supports responsive decision making, prioritisation and management of enterprise risk.
    • People - a diverse, expert, motivated and agile workforce.
    • Culture - high performing, aligned, engaged, innovative and accountable.
    • Infrastructure - our infrastructure is effective, efficient and adaptable.

Priority goals for 2017-18 are to:
    • improve the quality of our stakeholder engagement, further enhance the awareness, coverage and use of ABS statistical information and insights across a wide range of users;
    • improve workforce awareness of and preparedness for transformation;
    • improve our workplace flexibility and productivity, capability and culture;
    • update our risk management and privacy frameworks, policies, and processes;
    • complete the development of key statistical infrastructure to enable the ABS to better manage data, metadata and workflows across all aspects of a statistical cycle;
    • deliver re-engineered data collection capabilities to improve the experience of businesses and households providing information to the ABS;
    • improve data dissemination capabilities that will make it easy for clients using our services to access and use ABS information, including through machine-to-machine access to ABS data;
    • deliver automated data processing capabilities and enhanced data analysis capabilities; and
    • prepare to bring on line the first statistical programs to the new more robust ABS statistical infrastructure.


The information needed for research, policy, planning and targeting of government services and evaluation is becoming increasingly complex. In response, the ABS is creating new statistical solutions in collaboration with stakeholders. For example, the ABS will be leading the technical support for the Data Integration Partnership for Australia (DIPA) to provide integrated data assets and support access to data. This will enable the delivery of new statistical insights using integrated data and/or modelling techniques.

An important role that the ABS will continue to play is building public awareness, trust and support about the use of data. Greater use of administrative data and/or integrated data will reduce respondent burden and improve ABS efficiency and timeliness. The ABS will increase stakeholder engagement on the value and security of data integration.

Priority goals for 2017-18 are to:
    • continue to work with partners to make better use of existing public sector data for policy analysis, research, and statistical purposes through the DIPA by:
      • delivering high priority data assets for DIPA and providing appropriate access to analysts;
      • expanding the utility of existing key integrated data assets to provide new public policy insights from the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project, Business Longitudinal Analytical Database Environment, and Linked Employer-Employee Database data assets; and
      • continuing to ensure safe and secure access to integrated data assets for statistical and research purposes.

    • maximise the value of 2016 Census data, by releasing the:
      • Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset updated with 2016 Census data; and
      • updated Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset.