Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home > About Us
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
ABS Pricing Policy

Community Service Obligation (CSO)
Pricing Practices
ABS Pricing Principles
Products and Services Included in the Basic Information Set
More information
Revisions to the ABS Pricing Policy


Open access to official statistics on the economic and social condition of a country and its population is an essential element of a democracy. The ABS attaches considerable importance to easy and widespread access by all levels of governments, and the community generally, to the statistics it compiles.


ABS Pricing Policy follows the latest government guidelines on cost recovery by information agencies, currently contained in Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines, July 2005 (Guidelines)

(Please note that the links below will take you to documents on the Department of Finance and Deregulation website:

Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines
(Financial Management Guidance No. 4)

Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines PDF version [462 KB]
Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines RTF version [3.5 MB]

and Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Guidelines for Managers, February 2004 (CNG).

Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Guidelines for Managers
(Financial Management Guidance No. 9)

Competitive Neutrality Guidelines PDF version [587 KB]
Competitive Neutrality Guidelines RTF version [1.9 MB]
Competitive Neutrality Guidelines ZIP version [163 KB]

Corrigendum issued on 30 April 2004 regarding the example on page 20

Corrigendum regarding the example on page 20 PDF version [50 KB]
Corrigendum regarding the example on page 20 RTF version [64 KB]

Community Service Obligations (CSO)

To meet its CSO for statistics, publications, either in HTML or PDF format, and associated publication tables, are available via self service at no charge on the ABS web site.

More detailed Census data is also available via self help at no charge from the ABS web site. Simple inquiries for ABS data are handled free of charge. These free products and services comprise the ABS Basic Information Set.

Back to top

Pricing Practices

Users wanting information or services that are beyond that provided by the Basic Information Set are required to pay relevant costs, including overheads, incurred beyond the costs of collection and production of clean unit record files from which the information is produced.
ABS Pricing Policy provides for three bases for setting prices:
  • pricing based on marginal costs for the additional dissemination of the Basic Information Set;
  • pricing based on incremental costs for products and services additional to the Basic Information Set; and,
  • "commercial" pricing, based on competitive neutrality principles, for products and services which could compete with similar products provided by the private sector.

Back to top

ABS Pricing Principles

The principles underpinning ABS Pricing Policy are set out below.

Principle 1

ABS is committed to open access to official statistics by all levels of governments, and the community generally.

Principle 2

ABS will provide free access channels to the Basic Information Set funded by appropriation.

Principle 3

The ABS will recover the costs of accessing the Basic Information Set via non-free access channels (e.g. print on demand) on a marginal cost basis.

Principle 4

Where cost effective to do so, the ABS will recover the costs of producing and providing information products and services that are additional to the Basic Information Set, including salaries, operating and capital costs and associated overheads, from users.

Principle 5

The ABS will recover the costs of products and services provided in addition to the Basic Information Set, on an incremental cost basis for those which only the ABS can provide (e.g. due to confidentiality considerations), and on a commercial cost basis, for those which may compete with products and services provided by other suppliers.

Principle 6

The ABS will set its pricing policy, in conformity with Government guidelines on Cost Recovery and Competitive Cost Neutrality, with a view to :
  • relieving the general taxpayer of those elements of the cost of the statistical service which have a specific and identifiable value to particular users;
  • enabling the demand for ABS products and services to be used as one indicator of how ABS resources should be used; and
  • encouraging users to address their real needs for ABS statistical products.

Principle 7

The ABS strongly encourages secondary provision of ABS data. We will recover the cost of creation and provision of customised data dissemination and product creation from on providers of ABS information. The ABS releases most data, including customised data, under the AusGOAL open licensing framework in compliance with Australian Government's commitment to provide open access to Public Sector Information.

Principle 8

The ABS provides technical assistance to international agencies and other countries. Wherever possible it will use the applicable AusAID pricing schedule, which approximates charging on a marginal cost basis. Exceptions apply in the following situations:
  • where the work is tendered in a competitive situation, the ABS will quote on a commercial cost basis;
  • where international agencies have their own standard rates, the ABS may choose to apply those rates; and
  • consistent with our international policy, ABS may partially recover, or waive, its costs for statistical work associated with international engagement if it is a strategically important initiative that the ABS has decided to support, and/or there are important staff development opportunities .

Principle 9

The Australian Statistician or his delegate may, where public interest issues are involved, decide to charge products and services on other bases.

Principle 10

In all cases where costs are recovered, the ABS will charge "efficient costs" i.e. the minimum costs necessary to deliver products and services that are fit for purpose.

Principle 11

ABS will use simple and cost effective pricing schedules and administrative systems.

Back to top

Products and Services Included in the Basic Information Set

Back to top

More information

For further information, contact the Director, National Client Services.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2016

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.