Rural and regional economies will suffer if the government does not guarantee funding for the provision of regional economic data, says Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has said that it does not have the resources to carry out all its current activities and that it will review the provision of regional economic data as part of its Forward Work Plan.
Today in parliament Ms McGowan asked the Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack for a commitment that the review would not lead to the loss of access to vital data.
Mr McCormack confirmed that the provision of regional economic data is under review and would not commit to funding for the ABS to provide the data. He said that the government understood the importance of regional economic data and the ABS would not make any changes without full consultation.
Ms McGowan said: “The danger is that ABS may cease providing regional economic data.
“Businesses literally count on this information to help them plan for growth and investment.
“The government also needs this information to make good policies that help rural and regional Australia.
“I call on the government and especially the Nationals to stand up for rural and regional Australia and make sure we have more access to data, not less.
“I will be watching closely to see if the government follows through and commits to funding the ABS to provide this data.”
The video of Ms McGowan’s question to the Minister for Small Business and his reply can be viewed here