REVIEW OF THE ABS FORWARD WORK PROGRAM
Elements of the ABS work program are classified into four components (see Appendix 1). This prioritisation informs resource allocation and risk management decisions.
In 2016-17, the ABS consulted with stakeholders on the shape of the statistical forward work program. Consultations occurred with the Australian Statistics Advisory Council, the Economic Statistics Advisory Group, the Population and Social Statistics Advisory Group, relevant Commonwealth agencies and the states and territories. The advisory groups are comprised of academics, private sector representatives, and other Commonwealth and state and territory public service agencies.
The review confirmed that the ABS is focusing its funding from Government on the priority economic, demography and household expenditure and income statistics, as well as on statistical infrastructure used to support the various programs. Significantly, some important statistical information, especially key social statistics, are only possible through significant user funding. This support allows the ABS to produce information on important areas of public interest and significant government investment.
There is also high demand for statistics in a number of other areas, such as time use and mental health, that are not able to be undertaken within existing ABS resources.
Stakeholders were advised that the ABS will need to cease, change or seek user funding for some of the lower priority statistics. The Australian Statistics Advisory Council endorsed a general principle of user funding for lower priority statistics (classified as tier 3 statistics in Appendix 1).