Australian Bureau of Statistics to cut 100-plus jobs

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has confirmed that it will be cutting at least 100 jobs through a voluntary redundancy process.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is cutting at least 100 jobs just months after the Census debacle.

The ABS confirmed on Friday that it is offering voluntary redundancies to its staff as it shifts away from manual processes following a AU$257 million government investment in modernising the bureau's ageing IT systems.

It expects to offer at least 100 packages to those with skills "not essential for the future".

"The voluntary redundancies are necessary as we transition from higher staffing levels required to implement the 2016 Census," a spokesperson told AAP.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which is being consulted about the changes, says it is concerned by the cuts.

"We are seriously concerned that the ABS is continually being forced to make decisions solely based on its meagre budget," CPSU's deputy national secretary Melissa Donnelly said in a statement.

"The ABS is an absolutely critical national institution. Its data is a cornerstone not just of effective government, but is also extremely valuable to the private sector."

Last month, the ABS said it would need to secure funding for its third tier of surveys, or look to cut them.

Among the surveys labelled as third tier are: The Internet Activity Survey; Household Use of Information Technology collection; measures of research and development undertaken by businesses, governments, higher education institutions, and private not-for-profit organisations; new geospatial techniques and data sources to support the Carbon Farming Initiative; and national recorded crime victim statistics.

Relentless cuts to the ABS and an uncertain funding future spelled doom for the Australian 2016 Census, the CPSU said in September.

In Senate Estimates last month, the ABS revealed that it incurred AU$30 million in remediation costs due to the Census night stuff-up that resulted in the ABS and its head contractor IBM pulling the site down on Census night.

Labor blamed the cuts on "mismanagement" by the federal government.

"The Turnbull government must immediately assure Australians that ABS staff are not losing their jobs because the government's 2016 Census failure blew a AU$30 million hole in the ABS's budget," Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh said in a statement.

IBM told the Senate Economics References Committee investigating the August 9 Census debacle that it was in discussions with Treasury on how to resolve the remediation bill.

Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Alastair MacGibbon told the committee that IBM's plan to rely solely on geoblocking in the event of a distributed denial-of-service attack was a failure.

"On face value, that might seem logical because the Census was only for Australians," MacGibbon said. "There were some technical problems in that some Australians with Australian-based ISPs will also route in from overseas ... in fact, the password reset facility that IBM used, actually relied upon traffic coming in from overseas to give Australians that password.

"So there was a fundamental failure in the logic of an Island Australia."

With AAP

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