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Committee on integration of data systems

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Press Statement No.

30 April 1974


The Prime Minister today released the Report prepared by the Committee on Integration of Data Systems. -J-"

The Prime Minister recalled that in December 1973 he had appointed a Committee to advise on the general principles and administrative arrangements which would enable the Government to integrate the various departmental data systems servicing related areas of its social and economic policies. The membership of the Committee comprised Professor L.F% Crisp (Chairman), Mr. B. Brogan, Mr. K.L. Brown, Mr. R. Jolly and Professor C.S. Wallace.

The Prime Minister outlined in brief some of the major . recommendations put forward by the Committee. These included the recommendations that:

1. The Australian Bureau of Statistics should be established as a central statistical authority ยท and be administratively autonomous with the Statistician having the status and power of

a Permanent Head;

2. the Bureau should be responsible to, and the Statistician should make an annual report to Parliament through the Treasurer;

3. the Bureau's continuing program and planned priorities should be subject to annual scrutiny by a representative National Statistics Advisory Council which should have the duty of advising ' the Treasurer concerning them. The Council will

include representatives of various groups, such as Trade Unionists, Employers, Universities and Civil Liberties organisations. The Chairman of the Council should be independent both of the Public Service and organised economic or social interests;

4. the membership and functions of the existing annual Conference of Federal and State Statisticians should be extended to improve it as a vehicle for articulation of State statistical needs and priorities;

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5. the Bureau should be equipped with adequate, up-to-date computing facilities and have a sufficient complement of professionally and technically skilled staff to give essential services to users;

6. the 1 secrecy1 provisions of the Census and Statistics Act should be amended to provide maximum access to statistics consistent with fully safeguarding the confidentiality of

information about individual persons and businesses.

The Prime Minister said that careful consideration would be given to the recommendations of the Committee. The Prime Minister noted that the Committee in paragraph 130 of the Report had recommended that the Income Tax Assessment Act be amended to permit

the Statistician full access to the records of tax paying businesses and individuals. The Prime Minister stated that the Government will not accept this recommendation but instead will be exploring ways of having better co-ordination between the Taxation Office and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, so far as the provision of

statistical information is concerned, without giving the Statistician access to taxpayer returns.

The Prime Minister said that he had expressed his appreciation to the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Crisp, for the substantial time and effort given by Committee members in preparing the report within the short period of time available to them. The Prime Minister

commented that the Committee had carried out a useful task in exploring the deficiencies of the existing official data system and itn setting- out the characteristics of a data system which the Committee believed would meet the Government's objectives.

Additional copies of the Report may be obtained by mail from Mail Order Sales, Australian Government Publishing Service, P.0. Box 84, Canberra, A.C.T., 2600; or over the counter from the Australian Government Publishing and Inquiry Centres at

Industry House, 12 Pirie Street, Adelaide; 113 London Circuit, Canberra City; 347 Swanston Street, Melbourne; Ground Floor, Mt. Newman House, 200 St. George's Terrace, Perth; and 309 Pitt Street, Sydney.