7100.1 - Agricultural Census: Nature and Content, 2015-16  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/02/2016  First Issue
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ABS recognises the critical importance of high-quality agricultural statistics to support informed decision-making in relation to agricultural policy and planning, and consequently embeds quality management throughout all aspects of collection development, processing, and output. The Agricultural Census will similarly employ a range of quality measures to ensure the quality of the collection across all dimensions of the ABS Data Quality Framework. These include:

    • Ensuring the relevance of the collection by aligning content to the highest priority policy needs of government and industry, as represented by the Enduring Goals of Australian Agriculture Framework and through incorporating feedback from the consultation process outlined in the section on Content;
    • Ensuring accuracy through strategies to clean, edit, validate and quality assure the Agricultural Census data. Additional strategies are also undertaken to validate the data against real-world expectations and trends, through the use of industry analysis and confrontation against other data sources from government and industry. Critical to this is engagement with the farming sector (both industry bodies and directly with respondents) to maximise response rates to improve data quality, and continue to build awareness of the value of Agricultural Census data. While the Agricultural Census typically achieves a very high response rate, a small level of non-response is inevitable. Non-response will be accounted for in the processing of Census data, and relative standard errors accompanying published data will provide an indication of the accuracy of the estimates;
    • Improving the timeliness of the data through leveraging efficiencies gained through web form enhancements and the reduction in scope, with the first release of data expected to be up to 6 months earlier than the 2010-11 Agricultural Census. (Further details on the outputs and the output schedule can be seen in the Outputs section);
    • Ensuring the coherence of Agricultural Census data with other datasets through the use of common standards and classifications, including standard industry and geographic classifications (ANZSIC and ASGS), and updating the scope to enable coherence between the Agricultural Census and ABARES Farm Surveys;
    • Providing supporting material to enable the interpretability of the data and improving users’ understanding of the data, such as through the provision of information papers, explanatory notes and improving the presentation of the data; and
    • Improving accessibility of data by making Agricultural Census data available on the ABS website in a range of formats (see Output), and engaging with data users across government, industry and the wider community to raise awareness of Agricultural Census outputs and maximise their use.
    The ABS are currently identifying and acquiring alternative data sources in partnership with industry to ensure data from the Census is of the highest quality. Alternative data sources including administrative data will be used to quality assure the frame and to complement and enhance the final data released by ensuring data is reflective of events occurring in the agricultural industry in 2015-16.