An audit would examine the effectiveness of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS’s) planning for the conduct of the 2021 Census.

Following the 2016 Census website outage, a review by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet found that the risk of an attack of the kind that occurred on census night had been specifically identified, but the impact of such an attack was underestimated. Further, there was a lack of focus on the effectiveness of treatments that were implemented to mitigate the risk.

An audit could examine whether the ABS had effectively used the results of the 2016 Census evaluations in planning for the 2021 Census. This would include consideration of the findings from Auditor-General Report No. 5 of 2018–19, Statistical Business Transformation Program — Managing Risk, on issues in ABS’s risk management processes.