ABS Media Statements - Clarification on ABS financial position

Media Statement
Released
16/10/2019

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is committed to operating within the funding provided by the Australian Government. In the 2018-19 financial year the ABS made a cash operating loss of $0.6 million.

Media reports citing a larger operating loss of more than $46 million are misleading. This $46 million includes unfunded depreciation and amortisation, impairment of assets and asset revaluation, which is non-cash and unfunded by Government appropriation ($38.9 million) and the non-cash impact of bond rate changes on the leave provision ($6.7 million). Losses due to unfunded depreciation and asset write down, and the impact of recent low bond rates, are experienced by all APS agencies, not just the ABS.

The ABS is always looking to improve the public value we deliver from the funding we receive. In recent years we have introduced a range of efficiencies including through the use of technology such as building upon use of scanner data and web scraping to update price movements, moving to online surveys, using administrative data wherever possible to replace more costly direct collection methods, and reducing our property footprint through activity-based working and sharing accommodation with other government agencies.