Products and services
Building on the ABS mission ‘We assist and encourage informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by leading a high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service’, the ABS objective is to increase the informed uses and users of ABS information. The ABS seeks to utilise leading edge communication and dissemination technology and aspires to showcase ‘best practice’ communication of official statistics.
ABS releases comprise monthly, quarterly, annual, biennial and less frequent as well as irregular publications and products. In each year, there are over 800 statistical releases. The full range of publications and products are available through the ABS website and a small number of publications are available in paper format.
Electronic products and data services
The ABS’s principal means of releasing statistical information is through the ABS website. The ABS’s electronic services include:
- the ABS website, which provides free access to the full range of electronic publications and ABS statistics, as well as news, media releases, directories, technical material and information about the ABS
- Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs), which are compiled from ABS surveys and released on CD-ROM for analysis by researchers
- the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL), which provides access to more detailed data than can be made available on CD-ROM for analysis of ABS data by researchers, while ensuring the confidentiality of individual survey respondents
- international trade services, which provide detailed, customised trade data on both an ad hoc and regular subscription basis
- database products, which provide large volumes of detailed statistical data such as Census data packs, Census Table Builder and Survey Table Builder
- a free email notification service providing details of, and access to, ABS daily releases in subject areas nominated by clients
- a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) news feed allowing subscribers to access ABS statistical headlines from their desktop
The ABS conducts user-funded surveys that are consistent with its role as a national statistical agency. User-funding enables the ABS to extend the national statistical service, in line with the functions stipulated in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975
, to meet important needs of users and to improve the quality and comparability of statistical data used by other organisations. User funded statistical services are therefore an important element in providing a responsive statistical service. Survey results are publicly disseminated, not just made available to the client providing the funding.
National Information and Referral Service
The National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) is the main professional entry point to the ABS for basic telephone, email, and facsimile enquiries from clients. NIRS also provide a referral service to clients, referring inquiries that cannot be met by NIRS or self-help facilities to other parts of the ABS for servicing. Contact NIRS.
Information Consultancy Services
More detailed statistics than those initially released on the website or in our database products are available on request. Requests for additional statistical data or analysis/enhanced data presentation are met through the Information Consultancy Service which is provided on a cost recovery basis.
The Statistical Consultancy Service provides assistance to government departments and statutory authorities in areas such as survey design, questionnaire design, sampling techniques and data analysis.
Statistical Literacy Program
The ABS Statistical Literacy Program provides leadership and coordination for the development and delivery of activities and strategies for improving the statistical literacy outcomes of Australians. The program develops initiatives and uses innovative approaches to build awareness about the range of statistics available; promote recognition of the importance and relevance of statistics for informed decision making; and develop the statistical skills and knowledge of key target groups within the community.
The program focuses on building statistical literacy amongst five key target groups, including: school students; tertiary students (including university students, and teachers/lecturers); opinion leaders (including journalists); decision makers (including Members of Parliaments and staff from agencies in all levels of government); and the general community (including small business owners and community groups). Specific strategies are also developed for advancing the statistical literacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the five target groups.
The Statistical Literacy Program develops and implements activities and strategies to assist these groups to access, understand, analyse and communicate statistical information based on the content and context of their statistical literacy needs. The development of these skills is vital for understanding the complex social, economic and environmental dimensions of an issue and transforming statistics into usable information for informed decisions.
The ABS provides training services on a cost recovery basis on a broad range of topics, including the ABS website, key statistical concepts and processes with programs targeted at developing the statistical skills of people using statistics, or working, managing or conducting surveys. The ABS can also provide customised statistical training programs on request.
ABS employees are outposted to other government agencies to support strategic engagement between the ABS and those agencies. Outpostings also occur on a project basis to provide advice on statistical issues.