CAMD notes with concern that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has announced that it will cease funding the collection and analysis of social, cultural and sports statistics in order to reduce expenditure. The impact on research and publications will be as follows:
- the ABS Cultural and Leisure Statistics section is being disbanded and will not be available to work with the Cultural Ministers Statistical Working Group (SWG);
- Amongst other titles, the following reports/publications will no longer be produced:
– Cultural Funding by Government
– Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia
– Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview
– Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities
– cultural tourism statistics
– statistics on participation in sport;
- the newly established Cultural and Creativity Activity Satellite Accounts will be produced for 2013-14 (to be published in December 2014) but will not be funded by ABS beyond that date;
- the ABS contribution to the development of the Vital Signs: National Cultural Indicators will cease.
As you know, the ABS ceased funding the Museum Industry Survey in 2009. The changes mentioned above will only exacerbate the existing shortfall in data about museums. It is understood that the Cultural Ministers and the SWG are discussing how some of this data collection might be picked up at the state/territory level.
CAMD will discuss this issue with other members of the Museums and Galleries Australia Alliance with the aim of raising concerns as a group to the Minister for the Arts and the Committee of Cultural Ministers.
The ABS Media Release is included below:
ABS Media Release
5 June 2014
ABS announces planned changes to future work program
The acting Australian Statistician, Jonathan Palmer, today announced planned reductions to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) work program.
The ABS must reduce expenditure by about $50m over three years. While the ABS has been able to implement efficiencies in its operations, these are insufficient to meet the expenditure target. As a result, the statistical work program will be reduced from 2014-15.
Mr Palmer said the revised work program, developed after consultation with key Australian Government agencies, will continue to meet Australia’s core statistical needs.
“Our highest priority was to maintain activities that are critical to effective government decision making and deliver the most public benefit.
“While the revised forward work program retains core statistical elements and outputs, we have had to discontinue or reduce outputs in areas that are valued by the users of those statistics. If funding is provided for the work we are ceasing, we will reinstate it.
“The quality, integrity and relevance of our statistics are critical to informing effective decision making and we must not lose sight of that as we plan for the future,” Mr Palmer said.
The work program changes, which will be implemented from 1 July 2014, are:
- Environment collections from Australian Households
- Waste Account
- Measures of Australia’s Progress
- Australian Social Trends
- Survey of Tourist Accommodation
- ABS funded component of Culture, Sport and Recreation statistics
- Industry statistics research, development and reporting in selected areas
- Social conditions statistics research, development and reporting in selected areas
- State and territories statistical services engagement and analysis activities
- Regional statistics analysis and development
- Macroeconomic research and development engagement in international activities
- National information and referral services response times
- External statistical education development programs
- Review the House Price Index, with the view to discontinuing it pending identification of alternative sources to meet the Australian National Accounts and other requirements
Further details of the work program changes will be advised to affected users in due course.
As Australia’s national statistical agency, the ABS provides official statistics on a wide range of topics relevant to government, business, and the Australian population.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Media requests: ABS Communications Section 1300 175 070