ABS turbulence comes from Treasurer's neglect

A lot of Australia's economic and financial forecasting relies on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. So it's worrying to see what's happening at the bureau under Joe Hockey's watch.

MEDIA RELEASE

ABS TURBULENCE COMES FROM TREASURER'S NEGLECT

The troubles at the Australian Bureau of Statistics are a direct result of the Abbott Government’s decision to hack millions from its budget, while also leaving the bureau languishing without a permanent head for almost a year now.

Comparing the Coalition’s May budget with Labor’s 2013-14 numbers shows it has slashed the bureau’s funding by $62 million over the next four years. 

As a result, the bureau has been forced to discontinue data collection on major statistical projects like the Australian Social Trends series and Measures of Australian Progress. The bureau has also been criticised for releasing unreliable jobs figures, leading to an announcement today that it will review its data modelling processes.

These problems are hardly surprising given the bureau has been without a permanent head since the Australian Statistician, Brian Pink, resigned in December 2013 shortly after the Coalition came to office.

Since then, the agency has been overseen by two acting heads while the government has stalled on finding a permanent replacement.

Despite his government’s own negligence clearly creating problems at the agency, Treasurer Joe Hockey has been flailing about this morning trying to find someone else to blame.

It is an utter joke that M Hockey would be trying to shirk responsibility for what’s happening at the bureau over a year after his team took over.

Rather than blaming Labor, the bureau’s computers and any other straw he can clutch at, Joe Hockey should get to work on finding a new Australian Statistician and re-building the bureau his government has run down.     

THURSDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856


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