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External Scrutiny

Judicial and administrative decisions

There were no individual or administrative review decisions of significance to the ABS.

Statistical Business Transformation Program – Gateway Reviews

The ABS was subject to mid-stage Gateway Reviews of the Statistical Business Transformation (SBT) Program in June 2016 and November–December 2017. Both these reviews, conducted on behalf of the Department of Finance, resulted in a Delivery Confidence Assessment (DCA) of Green/Amber, with the December 2017 report recognising the Program’s proven track record in the timely delivery of technically complex mid-term deliverables, its commitment to continuous improvement in its program management and delivery, and the quality of its planning for the next stage. A Green/Amber DCA indicates that ‘Successful delivery of the Program to time, cost, quality standards and benefits realisation appears probable however constant attention will be needed to ensure risks do not become major issues threatening delivery’.

The December 2017 report included six recommendations, of which two were essential and one critical. The essential recommendations in the December 2017 report focused on statistical risk management and engagement with external stakeholders, while the critical recommendation focused on the resourcing of the Program.

The ABS is currently addressing the December 2017 recommendations. The next Gateway Review of the SBT Program is planned for January 2019.

Judicial decisions

There were no adverse comments relating to the ABS from courts during 2017-18

Administrative tribunal decisions

There were no adverse comments relating to the ABS from tribunals during 2017-18

Australian Information Commissioner decisions

There were no reports issued by the Australian Information Commissioner during 2017-18

Reports on the operations of the entity

There were no other external reviews in 2017-18 that had a significant effect on the operations of the entity, with no reports issued by the Australian Information Commissioner or the Commonwealth ombudsman.

Reports by Auditor General

There were no adverse comments relating to the ABS from the Auditor-General during 2017-18

Reports by Commonwealth Ombudsman

There were no reports issued by the Commonwealth ombudsman and no adverse comments relating to the ABS from the Commonwealth Ombudsman during 2017-18.

Submissions to parliamentary committees

ABS submissions to parliamentary committees in 2017–18


Description of submission/information provided

Senate Standing Committees on Finance and Public Administration, Arrangements for the Marriage Postal Survey

On 17 August 2017, the ABS provided an initial submission to the inquiry into the arrangements relating to the collection of statistical information on the views of all Australians on the electoral roll on whether or not the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry, as announced by the Government (the postal survey). Two supplementary submissions were made on 7 September 2017 and 30 January 2018. The ABS also appeared before the Committees’ public hearings on 17 August 2017, 7 September 2017 and 15 September 2017. There were no findings for ABS in the Inquiry Report

Senate Committee Report on Gender Segregation in the Workplace and its Impact on Women’s Economic Equality

In September 2017, the ABS was asked to comment on the draft Government response to Recommendation 9 from the Report:

Recommendation 9: The committee recommends that the ABS Time Use study recommence on a regular basis.

ABS responded that the Government’s response was consistent with its submission

Parliament of New South Wales Committee on Children and Young People

In September 2017, the ABS provided a submission to the Inquiry into the prevention of youth suicide in New South Wales. This submission related specifically to data collection about the incidence of youth suicide and attempted suicide. ABS also attended the inquiry on 12 February 2018.

Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers, Inquiry into the Future of Work andWorkers

In January 2018, the ABS provided a submission to the Inquiry which reported on the impact of technological and other changes on the future of work and workers in Australia.

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, Australian Government Contract Reporting Inquiry

In February 2018, the ABS provided a response based on ANAO Report No.19 (2017–18) Australian Government Procurement Contract Reporting. The Committee requested the ABS provide details on the ABS’s use of contractors and consultants over the past five years. The ABS attended a private hearing in March 2018 with regards to the submission.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, Inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities

In March 2018, the ABS provided a private briefing to the Committee providing insights across a broad range of data relating to cities in general, as well as major regional centres, with an emphasis on graphic representation of the following:

  • population trends in capital
  • cities and regional centres
  • data relating to journey to work time and distance
  • wage data on a city and regional basis
  • relevant 2016 Census data.

Senate Select Committee, Stillbirth Research and Education Inquiry

In June 2018, the ABS provided a submission to the inquiry on the future of stillbirth research

and education in Australia, with particular reference to the consistency and timeliness of data available to researchers across states, territories and federal jurisdictions.