Deregulation at the ABS

Through our Deregulation Program we aim to reduce the survey burden on Australian businesses by 50,000 hours each year by exploring opportunities to streamline reporting of business data to the ABS and reusing data across government agencies.

The program has commenced and will run until early 2021/22 when we will report back to the Australian Government our findings and recommendations for further investment.

Consultation has now ended

Thank you to all the businesses that have provided feedback in the consultation regarding the use of accounting software as well as those who participated in the EY Sweeney market study. The information you have provided will go towards a report back to Government which will continue to inform burden reduction strategies.


Who can I contact about the ABS Deregulation Program?

If you would like to discuss the program with an ABS representative, please email the ABS (deregulation@abs.gov.au) with your contact details and someone will get back to you promptly.

Am I still going to get survey forms from the ABS?
The ABS will continue to run business surveys. However, fewer businesses will receive survey forms, and surveys will be less onerous on businesses in terms of less data requested and ease of reporting.

How much time is this going to save my business?
Savings will vary from business to business depending on factors such as the size and frequency of the surveys selected in. Most ABS surveys currently take between one and three hours to complete. The ABS aims to reduce provider burden by 50,000 hours per year.

What are the additional statistics the ABS will produce?
The ABS will investigate the potential to increase the availability of data from these initiatives. This data will help improve decision making by business and government.

New proposal to cut regulatory burden for businesses - Infographic

Deregulation Proposal


The following section describes the visual summary presented above.

Headline of infographic reads: Exploring ways to reduce business burden. ABS Deregulation Proposal.

Top left section headline reads: TODAY – Big reporting burden on business

  • Time consuming, complex & manual
  • Same data provided multiple times equals duplication
  • Many reporting channels and collection methods.
  • Lagged info, slow to reflect change.

Top right section headline reads: ANNUAL BURDEN – Many hours tied up in reporting
  • SMEs - 270,000 hrs
  • Large businesses – 88,000 hrs
  • Out-of-hours inconvenience burden
  • Up to 850 forms completed p.a.

Middle section headline reads: Three trials have been designed to demonstrate what’s possible:

1: Use natural SME business systems
  • Convenient & less time involved
  • Automated digital reporting
  • Less red tape
  • Data from accounting software

2: Streamline large business reporting
  • Consolidated ABS data request
  • Map from natural business systems
  • Ask once, use many times
  • Tailored reporting via a digital channel

3: Report once to government
  • Re-use of data reported to ABS
  • Fewer requests from agencies
  • Better alignment of data
  • ABS as data gateway for government

Bottom left section headline reads: EXPECTED RESULTS – Proof points we are looking for:
  • Easier and cheaper for large business
  • Easier and more convenient for SME’s
  • Data reported to ABS is re-used in government
  • ABS statistical quality is maintained (or improved)

Bottom right section headline reads: THE FUTURE PRIZE – Turn proofs into lasting benefits for business
  • 50,000 hrs reduction p.a.
  • 70% effort reduction p.a.*
* Average effort reduction for each in-scope respondent

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