ABARES overhaul responds to criticisms of stats systems

ABARES stats system overhaul

National Issues
ABARES will draw on findings from the National Agricultural Statistics Review to improve its statistical systems.

ABARES will draw on findings from the National Agricultural Statistics Review to improve its statistical systems.


Reform to improve agricultural industry statistics


THE Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics is rolling out a plan to modernise its statistics systems.

ABARES is using the National Agricultural Statistics Review, completed in 2015, to provide the blueprint for its ‘roadmap to improve the agricultural statistics system’.

Farmers, government, industry and researchers provided feedback for the review, which found a number of failings in the quality of data and collection of information.

Farmers reported to the review they had ‘survey fatigue’ from the number of data collection initiatives run by ABARES and listed significant concerns about the quality and availability of statistics.

The current system was criticised for data gaps in many areas of the sector, including: supply chains, value adding, post-farm-gate productivity, food processing, employment estimates and the labour market as well as domestic consumption.

Producers will have a role in the reform process.

ABARES executive director Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds said the reform will draw on the collaboration of farmers working with Rural Development Corporations and industry bodies.

“It (the reform) will better support the agriculture sector by improving access to current, accurate and concise information so farmers, industry and government can best prepare for any future challenges,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Industry, government and other stakeholders have been using the current system for more than a century; we need a system which uses modern data collection methods which continues to support the best possible on-farm, industry and policy decisions.

“This continues the work we have undertaken to improve access to agricultural data, including the land use mapping information we updated last year to show how Australia’s landscape is being used.

“This comprehensive land mapping data covers over 585 million hectares, or 76 per cent of Australia, and is the best available.

“Electronic data systems like the agricultural statistics system and land mapping information are critical tools for assisting producers prepare and plan for the future.”

Visit the Department’s website for more information


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