1002.0 - Australian Statistics Advisory Council - Annual Report, 2016-17  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/10/2017   
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Purpose and Role of ASAC

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 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 to ensure the ABS remains a trusted and relevant data provider.

5 The Chairperson of ASAC will provide advice to the Minister and report back to ASAC meetings.

6 ASAC’s membership will be balanced to ensure varied community and government representation while remaining of a manageable size. Members will have the seniority to navigate and influence the political and data environments, and by understanding the key aspects and drivers of the statistical system, will ensure ASAC retains a strategic focus.

Potential Priorities for 2017

1 Build trust in the quality of 2016 Census results and the important role of name and address retention in supporting data integration initiatives.

2 Help position the ABS to respond to a dynamic operating environment, advising the Statistician on emerging risks and statistical needs while seeking opportunities to promote the full range of ABS expertise.

3 Help the ABS to strengthen its relationships with stakeholders, draw upon external expertise and become a more connected and responsive partner.

4 Monitor ABS progress against its Transformation goals to ensure the ABS maximises opportunities, manages risk and operates as a high-performing organisation — e.g. in the areas of corporate governance, cultural change and the Statistical Business Transformation program.

5 Take an active role in shaping the Australian statistical system and its priorities.

2017 Directions

1 Three face-to-face meetings are planned for 2017, with further opportunities for engagement as required between meetings. In addition to the Canberra meeting in March, it is proposed to hold meetings this year in Melbourne (August) and Sydney (November).

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.