The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) purpose is to inform Australia’s important decisions by partnering and innovating to deliver relevant, trusted, and objective data, statistics and insights.
The information environment and the economy and society are constantly changing. The ABS, therefore, needs to continue to adapt to meet the changing information needs of governments, business and the community, while delivering rigorous official statistics within a constrained resource environment.
To meet Australia's contemporary and emerging statistical needs, the ABS is focusing on continuing to provide high quality official statistics on the economy, our population, society and environment. This information is critical to decision making, informing significant public policy and investment decisions, as well as our democratic institutions.
The ABS is also prioritising the delivery of new statistical solutions, particularly through data integration, that will enrich the information available to inform significant public policy issues and evaluate the effectiveness of government programs.
The ABS was directed by the Treasurer on 9 August 2017 to undertake the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. ABS is required to publish results from the survey by 15 November 2017.
And, finally, the ABS is prioritising its infrastructure modernisation, and workforce and organisational transformation, to ensure it can meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.
The ABS does not have the resources to undertake all the activities that our customers demand, and this has more than likely been the case for at least the last decade. I noted in the Forward Work Program for 2016-17, that we would be reviewing our work program, in consultation with governments and other key stakeholders in order to prioritise our product and service offerings.
That review has confirmed that the ABS is using its available resources for the highest priority statistics and there is very little scope for reducing the statistical program. Significantly, some of our important statistical information, especially some key social statistics, are only possible through significant user funding. The ABS is grateful for this financial contribution and support.
The review also confirmed the importance of continuing to invest in enhancements to economic statistics. This includes the annual re-weighting of the CPI, improving measurement of labour and productivity, and enhancing measurement of the non-market and service sectors.
To ensure the ABS has sufficient resources for these enhancements while maintaining core statistical outputs within our diminishing budget, we have had to make some choices regarding the statistical work program.
I encourage you to take the time to read through this Forward Work Program to gain a fuller understanding of the comprehensive program the ABS expects to deliver in 2017-18 and some of the changes we will be making.
David W. Kalisch