Improving agricultural statistics

The productivity, competitiveness, sustainability and profitability of Australian agriculture is enhanced by accurate, timely and reliable agricultural statistics to inform decision-making. Statistics are used to inform management and investment decisions on farm and by government and industry to determine funding arrangements, provide market intelligence, aid planning for emergency responses and guide long-term investment strategies.

In 2015, the National Agricultural Statistics Review (NASR) found that although the current agricultural statistics system has informed government and stakeholder needs for more than a century, there are concerns about the capacity for the system to efficiently meet current and future information needs. To address these concerns, the review recommended a number of actions that would deliver a modern agricultural statistics system that underpins the future profitability of Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

In response to the review, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through its research arm, ABARES, are leading efforts between government and industry to develop and implement a modernisation strategy.

[expand all]

Modernisation strategy

The Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources have developed a Roadmap to improve the agricultural statistics system to guide and coordinate the longer term changes required to deliver a modernised agricultural statistics system.

Modernisation will ensure the sustainability of the agricultural statistics system by reducing survey burden, reducing data collection costs and improving the quality of statistics. This will be achieved by implementing a collect once use multiple times model through cooperation and collaboration between agricultural data holders, in government and industry, and by leveraging the significant investment in ABS technical infrastructure.

Stakeholder engagement

February 2018, Agricultural Statistics Roundtable Government and industry stakeholders met to discuss opportunities to advance the improvement of the agricultural statistics system. Discussions were focussed on identifying key priorities and opportunities for collaboration to progress the modernisation strategy in 2018–19 and beyond.


National Agricultural Statistics Review

An assessment of the agricultural statistics system in Australia and its adequacy for informing decision-making, planning and policy making, both now and into the future.

ABS Statistical Business Transformation program (SBTP)

The SBTP is responsible for designing and developing the next generation of statistical business processes and supporting infrastructure. This will provide a platform to reduce costs and burden on providers, integrate datasets to develop new statistical products more rapidly and improve data accessibility.

Data Integration Partnership for Australia (DIPA)

The DIPA is an investment to maximise the use and value of the Government’s data assets. Through data integration and analysis, the DIPA creates new insights into important and complex policy questions.

Precision to Decision Project

A Research and Development Corporation led project to facilitate the development of digital agriculture in Australia, foster the establishment of appropriate legal frameworks, data systems and access to critical datasets and identify the communication systems required to deliver the benefits of digital agriculture.


The Roadmap to improve the agricultural statistics system​ was launched at the Agricultural Statistics Roundtable in February 2018. The roadmap will guide and coordinate the longer term changes required to deliver a modernised agricultural statistics system.

Last reviewed:
22 Feb 2018