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Outcome and Objectives
Organisational Structure and Senior Management
The ABS is headed by the Australian Statistician - a statutory office. Appendix 3 lists the senior management team which supports the Australian Statistician, and their program responsibilities.
The Statistical Operations of the ABS are divided into two groups: the Economic Statistics Group and the Population Statistics Group. Each group is headed by a Deputy Australian Statistician. These two groups represent the key dichotomy of ABS statistics between economic statistics and, population and social statistics.
Each of the Deputy Australian Statisticians is supported by a First Assistant Statistician, one for the Economic Accounts Division, and one for the Social and Labour Division. Other First Assistant Statisticians are responsible for the Technology Services, Methodology, Information Management, and Corporate Services Divisions, all of which support the statistical operations.
The ABS has a central office in Canberra and eight regional offices - one in each State and Territory. The regional offices have operational responsibility for particular statistical collections, but overall program responsibility remains in central office. Regional offices have a key role in maintaining close contact with State clients, particularly State government agencies, and ABS data providers.
The ABS maintains close contact with its users through a variety of mechanisms, including advisory committees, user groups, outposted statistical officers, conferences and seminars, and day-to-day contact in the course of disseminating statistical information. The Australian Statistician determines which statistics are to be collected, after full discussion with users, clients and the Australian Statistics Advisory Council, and makes the results widely available. The independent status of the Australian Statistician is specified in law, and the ABS has always received strong Parliamentary and community support.
In order to provide official statistics, the ABS undertakes a large number of collections. These include the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing, monthly and quarterly surveys that provide current economic indicators, and less frequent collections from industry and households that provide detailed information on specific economic and social issues. The ABS also devotes considerable effort, in close cooperation with Commonwealth, State and Territory administrative agencies, to producing statistics as a by-product of administrative systems. The ABS also works to ensure that its statistical standards and concepts are applied as widely as possible to ensure that statistical outputs from all agencies are consistent and of good quality.
In releasing statistics, the ABS adheres to long established principles that results of statistical collections should be made available as soon as practicable and should be available to all users at the same time. Most Australians find out about official statistics through the media. Over 92,000 copies of ABS publications were provided at no cost to media organisations in 2000-01, and the principal results from ABS publications were highlighted daily in the print and electronic media, and via the ABS website. A large core set of statistics was made available through public, technical and tertiary libraries across Australia, and around 14,000 complimentary copies of ABS publications were provided to members of Parliament. The ABS@ and AusStats subscription services provided users with ready access to ABS material in electronic format, including all ABS publications and a range of multi-dimensional datasets.
Under the Statistics (Arrangements with States) Act 1956 , Commonwealth and State statistical services have been integrated in all States since 1958 (in Tasmania since 1924). Although not covered by the Act, similar arrangements apply in both Territories. In Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania, the Regional Director administering the ABS Office is also the State Government Statistician. A government statistical coordination and consultative mechanism operates in most States and Territories. There is regular consultation with State and Territory governments on statistical priorities.
Major documents providing additional information on the operations of the ABS include:
These documents are available on the ABS website or on request.
A wide range of additional information is available on the ABS website including statistical data, news releases, and conceptual and technical information. More detailed information can be accessed by users through our subscription services including ABS@ and AusStats.