ABS scores $38m to avoid another Census bungle

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ABS scores $38m to avoid another Census bungle

Budget 2019: Funding to address issues from 2016 survey.

The federal government has handed the Australian Bureau of Statistics another $38.3 million to deliver Australia’s next national survey following the high profile bungle in 2016.

The new funding, revealed in 2019 budget papers, comes as the ABS continues its search for a digital service to support the 2021 Census.

It will be used to “address issues” that came to light in the aftermath of the 2016 electronic survey, which was famously knocked out by a series of DDoS attacks and then kept down by a number of failures by the ABS and its IT outsourcing partner IBM.

Budget documents specifically point to concerns raised in the subsequent senate inquiry into the debacle and a seperate review by national cyber security advisor Alastair MacGibbon.

MacGibbon's review highlighted multiple issues with the ABS' approach to the 2016 Census, including its "cosy partnership" with IBM which weakened "the rigour of ... value for money assessments".

Last September, the agency went looking for a new digital solution, which it expects will be used by at least 75 percent of the population to submit their response. 

The chosen provider will be expected to support the delivery of the digital online service until 2022. 

ABS chief information officer Steve Hamilton indicated earlier this year the agency’s preference for a cloud-based solution.

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