1002.0 - Australian Statistics Advisory Council - Annual Report, 2019-20  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/10/2020   
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To contribute to the effective development of Australia's statistical assets, by providing the Minister and the Statistician with independent, relevant and timely advice on national priorities.

ASAC was established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (the ABS Act). Under subsection 18(1) of the ABS Act, the Council is to advise the Minister and the Australian Statistician on:
    (a) the improvement, extension and co-ordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia;

    (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.


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 2019–20, the Minister responsible for the ABS and ASAC was the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP, Minister for Housing, Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Deakin. 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 2020, the Council membership totalled fourteen, including the Chairperson, Professor Gary Banks AO; the names and positions of members are detailed in the 'Membership of ASAC' section.

The Council typically 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. During 2019–20, formal meetings were adapted to meet the requirements of COVID-19.

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 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 assisting with preparation of its Annual Report and any submissions, correspondence or papers to be issued under its authority or that of the Chairperson.

Future areas of focus for the Council are outlined in the '2020–21 ASAC Statement of Intent' section.