The Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) is the ABS’s key advisory body and was established under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975. In line with its legislated functions, ASAC represents government and community interests by providing independent advice to the Minister responsible for the ABS and to the Australian Statistician on the improvement of Australia’s current statistical services and longer-term statistical priorities. The Council also reports annually to Parliament.
The Chairperson of the Council is Professor Gary Banks AO, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. ASAC members are drawn from a broad cross-section, including the Australian Government, state and territory governments, business and academia. The Council’s diversity helps shape the advice it provides on the ABS’s strategic management and transformation. ASAC also provides valuable input into the directions and priorities of the ABS work program. The representation of all states and territories on the Council is critical to achieving whole-of-government support for improvements to the statistical system.
As set out in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975, the role of the Council is to advise the Minister and the Statistician in relation to:
a) the improvement, extension and coordination of statistical services provided for public purposes in Australia
b) annual and longer-term priorities and programs of work that should be adopted in relation to major aspects of the provision of those statistical services
c) any other matters relating generally to those statistical services.
The mission of the Council is to contribute to the effective development of Australia’s statistical assets, by providing the Minister and the Australian Statistician with independent, relevant and timely advice on national priorities.
Further information on ASAC, including its annual report, can be found at www.asac.gov.au.
Changes in Council membership and Secretary
The past year has seen a number of changes to Council membership and the appointment of a new Council Secretary.
The Council welcomed the appointment of a new senior representative from the government of the Australian Capital Territory – Mr Stephen Miners, Deputy Under Treasurer. Community representation on the Council increased with the appointment of Mr David Byers (Minerals Council of Australia) and Professor Abigail Payne (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research), and the reappointment of Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM (Western Sydney University) in April 2018.
In June 2018, Dr Phillip Gould stepped down as Secretary after two years in the role. Dr Gould has left the ABS to take up a position in the new Office of the National Data Commissioner within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Dr Gould was replaced by Mr Stephen Collett, who is the Program Manager of Education, Crime & Culture Statistics, Head of the ABS’s Melbourne Office and an ABS Reconciliation Champion.
Australian Statistics Advisory Council - February 2018