4914.0.55.001 - Age Matters, Jun 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2008   
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Image: WelcomeWELCOME

Introduction and News
Changes to ABS Survey Program for 2008-09
2011 Census Topic Consultation
Pre-Embargo Access to ABS Statistical Releases


Welcome to another edition of Age Matters. At the beginning of May I commenced as the new Director of the Family and Community Statistics section. Most recently I have been working as the ABS outposted officer to the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Before that I had many years experience working in the ABS, particularly in the field of social statistics.

This newsletter provides information on the latest ABS news, releases on age-related statistics, latest findings and upcoming events.

I hope you enjoy Age Matters.

Graeme Thompson
Family and Community Statistics

Mr Brian Pink, the Australian Statistician, recently announced that the ABS has been facing a tightening financial situation as the costs of conducting survey programs have been rising, and like other agencies has been asked to deliver an additional two per cent efficiency dividend.

In response, a number of savings initiatives for 2008-09 have been identified in consultation with clients, to ensure the ABS can deliver its work program within its allocated budget. In total these initiatives represent savings of around $22M in 2008-09.

Savings have been identified across the organisation including both statistical and administrative areas, and will involve a reduction in staff of around 180 people, which will be achieved primarily through a combination of natural attrition, a temporary recruitment freeze and redeployment.

The ABS will continue to provide a very wide range of statistics of high quality and integrity, which are used by governments, businesses and individuals in planning and decision making. Further information can be sourced from the ABS Website.2011 CENSUS TOPIC CONSULTATION

The impact of the 2008-9 savings initiatives on the Census program is that the questions for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing will not change from those asked in the 2006 Census. This action will not compromise the integrity and quality of ABS Census data. We are not expecting changes or disruption to the ongoing output schedule of products and services from the 2006 Census. ABS thanks all who have made topic submissions for the 2011 Census. These submissions will be reconsidered as part of the consultation process post 2011.

For further information please telephone 1300 175 070 or email 2011.census@abs.gov.au. PRE-EMBARGO ACCESS TO ABS STATISTICAL RELEASES

In order to ensure impartiality and integrity of ABS statistics, it is standard ABS policy and practice to make all ABS statistical releases available on our website to all government, commercial and public users of our statistics, simultaneously from 11.30 am (Canberra time) on the day of their release. Prior to 11.30 am, all ABS statistics are treated as confidential and regarded as 'under embargo'.

However, given the high level of market and community interest in some statistical series, it is important from a 'public good' perspective that key Ministers are able to respond in an informed manner to requests for early comment on the released statistics from the media, thereby avoiding any inadvertent misinterpretation.

New pre-embargo access arrangements, known as 'lock ups', were put in place on 1 February 2008 for market sensitive and a small number of other complex key ABS statistical releases, to give government officials and Ministerial staff time to analyse the releases and to develop a briefing to be provided to relevant Ministers after lifting of the embargo.

Details of the products that are provided to authorised persons via ABS hosted lockups on the morning of the day of their release are listed on the web page that explains the ABS Policy on Pre-Embargo Access to ABS Statistical Releases.