In a follow on from cuts in collection and publication of occupancy and revenue statistics for the caravan industry that has 2010 as the most recent data available, the ABS announced sweeping cuts in programs, including the Survey of Tourist Accommodation, aimed at saving of $50 million over 3 years.
According to the The acting Australian Statistician, Jonathan Palmer:
"While the ABS has been able to implement efficiencies in its operations, these are insufficient to meet the expenditure target. As a result, the statistical work program will be reduced from 2014-15."
Mr Palmer said the revised work program, was developed after consultation.
“Our highest priority was to maintain activities that are critical to effective government decision making and deliver the most public benefit."
“While the revised forward work program retains core statistical elements and outputs, we have had to discontinue or reduce outputs in areas that are valued by the users of those statistics. If funding is provided for the work we are ceasing, we will reinstate it…"
The work program changes, which will be implemented from 1 July 2014, are:
- Environment collections from Australian Households
- Waste Account
- Measures of Australia’s Progress
- Australian Social Trends
- Survey of Tourist Accommodation
- ABS funded component of Culture, Sport and Recreation statistics
- Industry statistics research, development and reporting in selected areas
- Social conditions statistics research, development and reporting in selected areas
- State and territories statistical services engagement and analysis activities
- Regional statistics analysis and development
- Macroeconomic research and development engagement in international activities
- National information and referral services response times
- External statistical education development programs
- Review the House Price Index, with the view to discontinuing it pending identification of alternative sources to meet the Australian National Accounts and other requirements
The loss of statistical data will have a negative impact on investment in tourism developments as financiers consider them to be crucial in determining trends. The retail sales data, housing starts, and consumer price index are the most quoted and used data for economists and analysts.
This is the last thing the tourism industry needs as it starts to show signs of emerging from a sustained period of hard times due to the global financial crisis.