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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1. The Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) was established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 (the ABS Act).

          The ABS Act (section 18) states that:
          (1) The functions of the Council are to advise the Minister and the Statistician in relation to:

          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.

          (2) Either the Minister or the Statistician, or both of them, may refer matters of the kind referred to in subsection (1) to the Council for the purpose of seeking the advice of the Council in relation to those matters.

2. In line with its legislated functions, ASAC will represent government and community interests by advising the Minister and the Australian Statistician on Australia’s current and longer-term statistical priorities and how the ABS work program can deliver on them.

3. As an advisory forum to the ABS with broad membership and understanding of the wider environment, ASAC will:
  • advise the Minister and the ABS in relation to the ABS’ functions
  • provide input into the strategic directions, risks, priorities and key deliverables of the ABS
  • advocate for an effective national statistical system and support the ABS’ role within it
  • report annually to the Parliament.

4. To help the ABS respond to issues and plan for the future, ASAC will:
  • provide the ABS with frank advice and feedback
  • draw on the expertise of ASAC members and seek input from stakeholders
  • raise risks and identify potential issues
  • provide guidance where needed to ensure the ABS remains a trusted and relevant data provider.

5. The Chairperson of ASAC will convey advice to the Minister as appropriate and report back at ASAC meetings.

6. ASAC members are appointed for their ability to identify emerging needs and promote the value of data and its coordination within and across jurisdictions and sectors. They have the seniority to navigate and help influence the decision-making environment and ensure the Council retains a strategic focus.

  • Advise on the ABS work program under resource constraints and in an environment of global uncertainty to ensure the ongoing needs of government and stakeholders for quality data can be met in a timely and effective manner.
  • Monitor and advise on 2021 Census preparation, including: communication strategies and the building of external support, and any recommendations from the ANAO Audit: Planning for the 2021 Census.
  • Assist in clarifying ABS roles and responsibilities within an evolving institutional landscape, including data integration and access, strengthening data security, the promotion of a coherent broader statistical system and shaping the data landscape across government and beyond.
  • Advise on capability building opportunities across the public sector and beyond.
  • Assist in building and maintaining community trust, including advocacy in support of ABS decisions and activities, identifying potential reputational risks and advising on stakeholder engagement.


1. Two meetings are planned for 2020–21: November 2020 (Melbourne) and March 2021 (Canberra), noting COVID-19 may affect these planned dates. Additional engagement outside formal meetings may be undertaken as appropriate.

2. In line with requirements prescribed in subsection 24(1) of the ABS Act, ASAC will continue to provide an annual report to the Minister.