by Byron Connolly

Government to tip $250M into ABS to modernise IT

May 07, 20152 mins

The Federal Government will invest around $250 million over five years to modernise IT infrastructure and statistical analysis processes at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This is the largest infrastructure investment in the ABS’ 110-year history.

Australian statistician, David Kalisch, said the ABS currently maintains more than 500 systems through its many business areas, and the investment will allow the organisation to move to an efficient enterprise-wide approach.

“Some of our critical IT infrastructure components are over 30 years old. One of three applications have been classed as unreliable, with issues occurring daily or weekly, and one in six applications is no longer supported by the vendor due to technology being outdated,” he said.

“Whilst our ICT staff have been working hard to maintain the existing systems, they have become increasingly vulnerable to failure and error.”

Kalisch said the investment would deliver ongoing savings in the long term and reduce red tape for households and businesses that provide information to the ABS.

The ABS plans to deliver a predominantly digital Census in 2016 and the move online will provide a Census that is easier to complete.

“The ABS will continue to look for opportunities to integrate Census data with other data sets to increase the range of insights provided and ensure the Census delivers maximum benefits to governments and the community,” Kalisch said.

Kalisch added that the ABS will innovate to transform its social and economic statistics over the coming years to take advantage of big data and the use of administrative information for statistical and research purposes.

The new technology infrastructure will deliver millions of dollars in regulatory burden savings – about $13 million in 2021 compared to 2016, the government said. New online forms, to be introduced by 2021, will reduce the time it takes to complete the Census by 10 minutes.

“As there will be over 10 million households in Australia in 2021, and three-quarters of these households are expected to complete the form online, this adds up to significant savings,” the government said.

“When population growth is taken in account, the reduction in regulatory burden is almost $24 million.”

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