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New investment to modernise the ABS

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HON J. B. HOCKEY Treasurer

HON KELLY O’DWYER Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

Media Release

Thursday, 7 May 2015


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


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


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longer supported by the vendor due to outdated technologies.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.