7103.0.80.002 - Agricultural Census: ABS Views on Content and Procedures, 2010-11  
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In formulating a content proposal for the Agricultural Census, the ABS has categorised topics as ‘essential’, ‘possible’ or ‘other’.

Essential’ refers to the body of content proposed for funding by the ABS according to affordability, taking into account all costs associated with the collection, processing, quality assurance and output of the Agricultural Census.

Possible’ and ‘other’ refers to content which has a high level of support from the user community but is currently unable to be included in the ABS funded component.

‘Essential’ items represent the proposed topics to be funded by the ABS, and will be included on the Agricultural Census form unless a strong case is made to the contrary. These are proposed on the basis of either being a requirement for the production of the National Accounts, or the existence of strong demand for small geographic area data with a significant public good element at the national or state level.

Corresponding data item detail for these topics is presented in Appendix A. Should ABS funding, or user demand for other topics, restrict the collection of all commodity items included on this list, an item’s contribution to the national and state value of agricultural commodity production (VACP) will be used to rationalise the commodity list.

Users are invited to submit comments on the proposed ‘essential’ items, including statements in support of the inclusion of additional topics in this component. The ABS will assess the priority of submissions relative to the criteria used to determine essential content described in this paper.

The ABS relies on industry associations and other organisations to inform the ABS of any emerging commodities that have increased their output to the extent that they may be significant contributors to VACP. This factor will be a significant consideration in the assessment of any submissions for additional content.

‘Possible’ items represent topics which the ABS recognises have support among users of Agricultural Census data. However the ABS believes these topics are relatively lower in priority compared with topics included in the ‘essential’ list, and therefore have not been included in the ABS’ essential proposal.

Users are invited to submit comments outlining the requirement and relative importance for any of the topics in this category, with reference to the information need the supply of data would address.

In addition to the ‘essential’ and ‘possible’ topics described in this chapter, users are invited to submit other topics to be considered for inclusion on the 2010-11 Agricultural Census questionnaire on a ‘user funded’ basis. An outline of the type of data required and the information need the data would address should be included in the submission.

User funded content is subject to the availability of space on the survey form and will be considered on merit. Such content can be a mixture of the ‘possible’ data items and other high priority questions to be identified by users. The topics and content of these questions will be decided in consultation with key users of agriculture statistics.

Users can either fund questions from their own resources or form a consortium of interested users to fund a particular topic. It is the users’ responsibility to organise any consortiums relating to funding of questions. The ABS requires written commitment of payment for such questions prior to them being included on the questionnaire.

New questions would require extensive testing prior to being included on the questionnaire.