In late 2007 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare established the National Centre for Monitoring Chronic Kidney Disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common chronic disease in Australia. The disease is highly preventable and progression can be slowed by controlling common risk factors and by improving disease treatment and management. The burden of CKD in Australia is expected to rise. Work in this area is critical for improving capacity to assess the health impact of CKD, evaluate progress in disease prevention and management, and therefore provide evidence for developing policy to reduce the associated burden and outcomes for people at risk of or living with CKD. There is considerable potential for health, social and economic gains through CKD monitoring. This report is intended to be a brief outline of the rationale for and role of the National Centre for Monitoring Chronic Kidney Disease. It outlines the rationale behind starting a national monitoring centre, the structure of the centre, key areas of monitoring and major data sources to be used for monitoring.