The Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Communications have teamed up to investigate which new statistical datasets would be most useful for tracking IT’s contribution to the national economy and informing better government policy.
“The ICT sector is critical to Australia's national and global economic performance and it is important to understand the contribution the sector makes to the overall economy,” a statement on the ABS' website reads.
The review of statistical datasets, kicked off today, will seek to "identify opportunities to improve ICT statistics, to develop an improved framework for ongoing assessment of the digital economy, and to improve the coordination and governance of information needs into the future".
The ABS has already suggested new datasets looking at rates of productivity in the digital economy, the availability of digital services in Australia, and the impact of public policy on the IT landscape. The review team has set its sights on improving the quality of IT data available to nation’s decision-makers.
The review will also cover:
- Options for re-purposing information already collected as part of the ABS’ existing survey activities, rather than starting a new collection process
- Finding the right framework to measure IT’s contribution to all industry sectors, in a way that is comparable internationally
- Settling on definitions of key terms, IT, IT statistics, the digital economy, digital technologies, digital readiness, diffusion and intensity
The ABS already produces a number of reports inquiring into IT-enabled aspects of the Australian economy.
It currently measures the rate of household use of IT, business use of IT, and the rate of internet activity in Australia. In the past it also issued a statistical analysis of the size and value of the ICT industry across the nation, but has not produced this report since 2006-07.
The review team is accepting submissions on its review until the end of February, and is aiming to have a report completed by the end of June.
"The input from the submissions will help us make sure that these statistics continue to provide the valuable information that meet people's needs,” Diane Braskic, head of the IT statistics branch at the ABS, said in a statement.
"I encourage anyone interested in a making a submission to go to the ABS website for more information."