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(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; and
(c) any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.
Subsection 24(1) of the ABS Act provides that: the Council must, as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year, prepare and submit to the Minister, for presentation to the Parliament, a report relating to matters connected with the operation of this Act.
The ABS Act enables both the relevant Minister and the Australian Statistician to seek advice from the Council on these matters. The Australian Statistician keeps the Council informed of key developments related to the ABS. The Chairperson meets with the Minister and Australian Statistician as appropriate to ensure relevant advice and assistance from the Council are made available to them.
Role and operations of the Council
ASAC contributes to ABS decision-making regarding statistical priorities and helps inform its assessment of risks and appropriate strategies, as well as being an advocate for a national statistical system that is adequately resourced and effectively managed.
The ABS Act provides that the Council shall consist of a part-time Chairperson, the Australian Statistician (ex officio), and between ten and twenty-two part-time members, including a senior official from each State and Territory nominated by the Premier or Chief Minister. In addition, the Council includes representatives from academia, business and community sectors. Council members are appointed for their ability to identify emerging issues and assist in promoting greater coordination nationally.
During 2018-19, the Ministers responsible for the ABS and ASAC were the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer (until late August 2018), who was then succeeded by the Hon. Stuart Robert MP, Assistant Treasurer. The Minister appoints the Council Chairperson and members, for five and three years respectively. Members are eligible for reappointment when their terms expire.
As at 30 June 2019, the Council membership totalled fifteen, including the Chairperson, Professor Gary Banks AO. The names and positions of those serving during the year are detailed in the 'Membership of ASAC' appendix.
The Chairperson receives an annual fee as set by the Remuneration Tribunal, with other members serving in an honorary capacity. Members receive a prescribed travel allowance, where applicable, to support their attendance at meetings.
The Council meets in formal session three times a year, in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne (by rotation) as well as interacting out of session on any specific matters requiring its attention.
The office of the ASAC Secretary is held by Stephen Collett, Program Manager, Indigenous and Social Information Branch. Costs associated with the operations of ASAC are met from the ABS budget, and secretariat services are provided, as part of their wider duties, by ABS staff. Council secretariat services include: arranging and supporting meetings; administering ASAC activities and membership; and, preparation of its Annual Report and any submissions, correspondence or papers to be issued under its authority or that of the Chairperson.
The Statement of Intent outlining the role of ASAC and its areas of focus in 2018 is provided in the '2018 ASAC Statement of Intent' section. Henceforth, the Statement of Intent will be produced on a financial year basis, to align with the Council’s annual report. The Statement for 2019-20 that was finalised following the Council’s March 2019 meeting is provided in the '2019-20 ASAC Statement of Intent' section.
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