Australia Bureau of Statistics may wind back internet usage data collection

Budget cuts lead bureau to wield the axe


The Australian Bureau of Statistics might discontinue the country's only authoritative survey about Internet users in Australia, as the cash-starved organisation prepares for another round of layoffs.

Facing a three-year cut of 10 per cent in its funding – $29 million out of its $290 million allocation – the ABS has published its forward work program, revealing that the cut will lead to 17 per cent of staff being jettisoned.

The loss is roughly 480 full-time equivalent positions out of the bureau's 2,833 current positions. Since last year, the ABS has already shed around 220 staff.

Its forward work program identifies two long-standing technology research series as under threat: Household Use of Information Technology, published since 1996; and the bi-annual Internet Activity, Australia, published since 2000.

The forward work program proposes ending the household IT survey after the 2018-2019 cycle, while the Internet survey will only continue if the bureau can get “user funding”.

Also under threat are monthly motor vehicle sales stats, industrial disputes data collection, some international trade statistics components, housing finance, lending finance, and tourism regional mapping.

The bureau is already labouring under the pressure of preparing the next Census cycle, and had to divert resources to conducting the government's voluntary survey on attitudes to same-sex marriage. After an acrimonious political debate, Australia's government hit upon the idea of a postal survey gathering citizens' attitude to same-sex marriage, rather than conduct a plebiscite. ®


Keep Reading

In 2016 Australia's online census failed. Preparations for the 2021 edition have been rated 'partly effective'

Devs can make unauthorised changes, data integrity is a work in progress, security is not there yet ... and there's just nine months to go

Microsoft submits Linux kernel patches for a 'complete virtualization stack' with Linux and Hyper-V

Linux on Azure might no longer need Windows

The great big open-source census: Most-used libraries revealed – plus 10 things developers should be doing to keep their code secure

Linux Foundation hears your gripes about naming schemes, legacy code, and more

Australia facepalms as Facebook blocks bookstores, sport, health services instead of just news

Reg writer on the spot reports that life without news links on The Social Network™ is just fine

Facebook and Australia do a deal: The Social Network™ will restore news down under and even start paying for it

ANALYSIS Relationship status changes from ‘Separated’ to somewhere between 'In a Domestic Partnership’ and 'It's Complicated'

Sunday: Australia is shocked UK would consider tracking mobile data to beat pandemic. Monday: Australia to deploy drone intimidation squads

Updated Bloody poms are full of great ideas

Linux as root partition on Hyper-V: Microsoft submits patches for kernel 5.12

Next step in Redmond's 'complete virtualization stack with Linux'

Australia wants Google to jump higher and sweat before it can buy Fitbit

Ad giant’s promise to play nice with other exercise gadgets accepted in Brussels, deferred down under

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021