1015.0 - Information Paper: Transforming Statistics for the Future, Feb 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/02/2016  First Issue
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DATA INTEGRATION INITIATIVES

Better utilisation and integration of existing datasets will be a key focus during the ABS transformation. By combining information from existing surveys, administrative collections and censuses, a more complete picture of the circumstances of individuals, households and businesses can be seen. Integrated datasets also have the flexibility to be combined with additional point in time, and/or longitudinal information, and provide an opportunity to better assess the effectiveness of policies and programs.

Statistical data integration developments rely on partnering with the government, research and private sector. The ABS is building capability through new and existing partnerships with data custodians to improve accessibility to public information and maximising its use for statistical purposes.

A key example of these partnerships is the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP). The partner agencies for the MADIP are:

  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Human Services
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
The purpose of the MADIP is to create an enduring, linked, publically accessible research dataset, which is on hand to help government agencies and researchers respond to nationally important policy and service delivery questions.

Through contributing to Australian Public Service wide initiatives, the ABS recognises that this is the starting place for supporting the increased availability of data and developing greater capacity to create ‘on demand’ integrated datasets. The ABS also recognises the importance and opportunity to link data from other levels of government and the private sector to fully capture efforts in key areas such as health, education and infrastructure.

Improving our ability to link, combine and repurpose data will offer users of statistics the following benefits:
  • increased options - for responsive and cost effective additional solutions (utilising data integration, modelling, increase use of administrative and transactional data)
  • improved measurement - in particular, of outcomes for population groups of interest, including key life cycle transitions and pathways
  • maximising new approaches - to sourcing and creating datasets
  • richer statistics - by integrating components of datasets with a wide range of non-ABS data held by governments and organisations.
Some notable data integration achievements include:

Table detailing notable data integration achievements


Case Study

Migrant Personal Income Tax Data Integration

To improve the relevance and quality of migration statistics, the ABS worked in partnership with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Social Services to create the Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset.

This was done by integrating existing migrant data from two non-ABS datasets: the Australian Taxation Office Personal Income Tax records and the Department of Social Services Settlement Database. By better utilising these administrative sources, the project effectively had no data collection costs, and added no burden on the community.

The integrated dataset provided, for the first time, information on the personal income of migrants based on their visa stream (e.g. humanitarian, skilled or family stream). The ABS' partners in this project have recognised the value of this data in supporting government policy making, program management and service delivery. Through this partnership, the ABS will continue to produce the Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset on an annual basis.
      “Reliable data like this will be of ongoing importance to policymakers, given the prominence of migration in shaping future economic and population growth.”
David Smith, Director of the Economic Analysis Unit, Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

There is more work to be done in undertaking one of the biggest changes in the ABS’ history and with the ongoing support of our stakeholders, we are confident we can achieve our vision of unleashing the power of statistics for a better Australia.