7105.0.55.004 - National Agricultural Statistics Review - Final Report, 2015  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/07/2015  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


Agriculture, fisheries and forestry in Australia are diverse and vibrant industries that underpin the nation’s prosperity. They contribute to economic growth and international trade, domestic and global food security, the employment, viability and vitality of communities, and to the management and sustainability of our natural resources.

Australia’s farmers, fishers and foresters work in a complex environment of growing demand for food and fibre, increasingly competitive global markets, shifting consumer preferences, and structural changes within industries and communities. They face variable weather patterns, challenging biosecurity risks and increasing competition for scarce natural resources.

The importance of these industries and the array of challenges they face demand that management and monitoring, investment and policy development be based on sound evidence. The importance of high quality statistics to enable evidence-based decision-making is well recognised by stakeholders. Globally, demand for agricultural statistics is increasing in recognition of the importance of agriculture in addressing a number of contemporary global challenges, including food security and sustainable development1. In Australia, improving the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of the farming industry is a focus of both government and industry and is seen as essential if Australia is to make the most of opportunities presented by the rising demand for food and fibre in Asia2. This is reflected in the increasing demand for high quality, comprehensive, reliable, up-to-date, accessible and consistent agricultural statistics by government and industry decision makers.

While demand for agricultural statistics has been increasing, there has been criticism however that the current Australian agricultural statistical system is deficient in providing quality, timely data to meet these needs. In Australia, increased pressures on official sources to meet the increasingly complex data demands of agricultural statistics users within existing resources has led to a range of non-government stakeholders stepping in to conduct statistical collections of their own. The result has been the development of an increasingly fragmented and decentralised agricultural statistical 'system' that is characterised by inefficiencies, duplication and a growing survey burden on respondents. In an environment of fiscal constraint, it is vital to ensure that the datasets produced within Australia's agricultural statistical system are targeted at the highest priority needs and are used in the most effective and efficient manner.


1 World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) 2011, Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, Report No. 56719-GLB, Washington, DC: World Bank.
2 Commonwealth of Australia 2014, Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper, Canberra; National Farmers’ Federation and Sefton and Associates 2013, Blueprint for Australian Agriculture 2013-2020.