7 May 2015
Media Release - #2015039, 2015

New investment to modernise the ABS

Joint media release
with the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer today announced a major investment in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to ensure the ABS is better positioned to meet the information needs of today’s dynamic economy and changing society. 

In recognition of today’s changing information environment and the needs of government, business and community, the Government has invested approximately $250 million over five years in the ABS for critically urgent upgrades to its ICT systems.

This significant Government investment will provide the infrastructure required by the ABS to continue delivering timely and quality economic, environmental, demographic and social statistics for Australia.

This is vital to retaining confidence in ABS data, and equipping the ABS to drive innovation in the digital age.

The former Labor Government stripped $45 million of funding from the ABS while in office, impacting on important statistical programs. 

A recent ABS assessment found the current ICT infrastructure is highly vulnerable to failure and error, and the ability of ICT staff to maintain the existing systems is becoming increasingly compromised.

Critical IT infrastructure has components that are over 30 years old. One in three applications are classed as unreliable, with issues occurring daily or weekly, and one in six applications are no longer supported by the vendor due to outdated technologies.

Today’s announcement will start a digital transformation that will provide the ABS with a modern IT system, make more effective use of taxpayers’ funds and reduce red tape for households and businesses.

The Government also affirmed that the 2016 Census is on track to provide Australia with a snapshot of our nation, including very high quality small area and small population data.

The 2016 Census will be Australia’s first truly digital Census with more than two-thirds of citizens expected to complete their forms online.

Our investment in the ABS is part of our commitment to maintain the integrity of other ABS core services.  The package of measures also includes:

  • A new ABS Survey Management Centre of Excellence in Geelong, Victoria, with jobs for up to 250 people, as previously announced
  • Exploring new sources of revenue from sophisticated and commercial users of data and through better data services, while continuing to provide free access to a wide range of official statistics on the ABS website, mobile devices, and via social media.