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​ABARES's role, contributions and work planning process

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences is the research arm of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.

Our mission is to provide professionally independent data, research, analysis and advice that informs public and private decisions affecting Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

What we do

ABARES provides professionally independent research and analysis to inform public and private decision-making, underpinned by authoritative economic and scientific data and analysis, and multidisciplinary research. We work at the interface between research and policy, with strong connections to agricultural, fisheries and forest industries, with strengths across agricultural and natural resource economics and sciences. 

In contributing to policy development, ABARES examines the full range of options potentially available to policy makers and, at times, may enter into public discussion on its research findings and on the consequences of different policy options. ABARES also takes a collaborative approach to research and policy analysis, working with external experts and partners, including the CSIRO and the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis.

ABARES undertakes a number of different activities:

  • data collection and management, including undertaking farm, forestry and fisheries surveys, publishing official statistics nationally and internationally, and ensuring the discoverability, accessibility and usability of our data holdings
  • forecasting the price, volume and value of Australian agricultural output, for a wide range of farm, fishery, and forestry commodities
  • undertaking and publishing public good research and analysis on issues of relevance to Australian agricultural, forestry and fisheries policy and industries
  • providing analysis and advice directly to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and other government agencies.
We also convene the ABARES national Outlook conference and about five regional Outlook conferences each year, and participate in a wide range of expert workshops, technical committees, and conferences in Australia and overseas.

How we plan and prioritise our work

Our work is arranged in nine themes under the three high-level objectives of the Department of Agriculture, as set out on below.

Before setting our research priorities for the year ahead, we consult with stakeholders within and beyond the department to identify current and emerging issues over the next three-to-five years. We use this process to shape and focus our near-term research and other activities, including the development of new research and analytical capacity where required. This also helps identify opportunities for collaboration with our stakeholders and other research organisations.

The ABARES Work Plan summarises our priorities and project themes for 2018-19.

How we report our outputs and achievements

From 2019, ABARES will publish an annual summary and overview of our publications, outputs and other activities for the previous financial year, complementing the Department’s annual report.

Our history

ABARES was established in 1945 as the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, with a focus on understanding the economic structure and performance of primary industries.

In the 1950s, the bureau began its farm surveys programme, which is still providing a rich source of information on the performance of the farm sector today. It also began regular assessments and forecasts of a range of commodity markets.

The popular Outlook conferences, which are now run throughout Australia, began in 1971 providing opportunities for delegates to hear about the latest agricultural trends and issues from bureau economists and external speakers.

ABARES has now hosted 48 national Outlook conferences— and many more in regional Australia —which are recognised as Australia’s leading agricultural economics forums.

In 1988, the bureau combined with related research agencies to become the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics—ABARE. This broadened the bureau’s research focus to include energy and minerals markets and major issues such as climate change.

Today’s organisation, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, was formed following a merger with the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) in 2010.

This strengthened the bureau, allowing it to conduct integrated economic, scientific and social research.

Our people

Our stakeholders

We have a diverse range of clients encompassing the agriculture, food, forest, fisheries, productivity and water sectors. They include federal and state government department's and agencies, portfolio-related companies and agencies, research and development corporations, and industry groups.

ABARES funding comprises approximately 80 per cent direct appropriation and administered funding from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, with the balance received in earned revenue from divisions of the department, its portfolio agencies, other government departments and the private sector.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help your organisation.

Our Minister and Assistant Minister

How to contact us

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences

Postal address
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601 Australia

Level 4, 7 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
Switchboard +61 2 6272 2000

Last reviewed:
27 Sep 2019