DEVELOPMENTS IN ABS STATISTICS
On this page:
CPI Hits Darwin
Australian Health Survey
New Geography Standard for ABS Statistics
ABS Leads the Way in Quality Statistics
Statistical Training in 2011
CPI HITS DARWIN
The Australian wide tour of the outcomes from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) review was kicked off at a well attended session in the NT ABS office in Darwin, giving people a chance to have their say on the outcomes announced in the December 6 publication Information Paper: Outcome of the 16th series Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI) review (cat. no. 6469.0).
A similar session was held last year to initiate the consultation phase of the review. User involvement was strong and the contributions shaped the outcomes of the review. This session was aimed at finalising the review process, both informing users of the changes to be implemented in the CPI and giving them an opportunity to ask questions they may have about the changes.
Discussion in the session was lively. Of particular concern was the apparently low weight assigned to housing, not surprising for a city which is often cited as having the most expensive house rental prices in Australia. Issues raised by participants included the treatment of owner occupied housing and the effect that our modern consumption habits were having on the index. The ABS would like to extend their warm thanks to those who attended the public forums.
AUSTRALIAN HEALTH SURVEY
The ABS is conducting Australia’s most comprehensive health survey, commencing in March 2011, to build a picture of Australia’s health. The Australian Health Survey (AHS) will be run in two waves, the first running from March 2011 to February 2012 and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wave from March 2012 to February 2013. The survey will involve approximately 34,000 households across the country and nearly 50,000 people.
The AHS will be the most comprehensive health survey ever undertaken by the ABS and will be an important benchmark to help determine future health strategies. The survey will collect vital information about the current health, lifestyles and the prevalence of certain disease risk markers in the Australian population as a whole and will provide much-needed, comprehensive data on Australians to better inform Commonwealth and State Government policies and programs to improve health behaviours.
The new AHS builds on previous national health and nutrition surveys and will include both a household survey component, conducted by professional ABS interviewers, and a new voluntary biomedical component. Information will be collected on a range of indicators including general health and well-being; long-term conditions and disability; consultations with doctors and other health professionals; and use of medications. The survey will also collect information on health-related aspects of lifestyle such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and diet. The ABS will also seek the consent of selected persons to allow the taking of physical measurements (height, weight, girth and blood pressure) using stadiometers, scales, tape measures and electronic blood pressure monitors. A subsample of respondents will also be asked to wear a pedometer for 8 days following their interview to provide a measure of the amount of walking undertaken.
For further information on the AHS visit the ABS Website.
NEW GEOGRAPHY STANDARD FOR ABS STATISTICS
Statistical Geography is an important component for the collection and dissemination of Census data as well as for the majority of other ABS statistical collections. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has been assiduously working to replace the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) with effect from July 2011.
The ASGC is used for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The ASGC has been the foundation of the statistical geography used by the ABS, and many other organisations, since 1984. Over the years it has been criticised on many grounds including: lack of stability over time, inconsistent population sizes of the defined areas and that some of the areas were not meaningful.
The ASGS has therefore been developed to address these shortcomings. It will be based on mesh bocks and will define more stable, consistent and meaningful areas than the ASGC. The current ASGC regions such as the Census Collection Districts (CCDs), Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and Statistical Divisions (SDs) will disappear to be replaced by the new Statistical Areas Levels 1 to 4 (SA1 - SA4).
The ASGS will be the new basis for the publication of the complete range of ABS spatial statistics. It will become the essential reference for understanding and interpreting the geographical context of ABS statistics.
Further information regarding ASGS can be found on the ABS Website.
ABS LEADS THE WAY IN QUALITY STATISTICS
The ABS is committed to providing statistical leadership for standards used in statistical processes. As part of this undertaking the ABS has released an information paper which describes the concept of quality gates and their six components, followed by a discussion and examples to assist users to implement quality gates in their own statistical processes.
Quality gates are a statistical risk mitigation strategy designed to improve the early detection of errors or flaws in any part of the statistical process cycle, be it collecting, processing, analysing or disseminating statistics. They act as a checkpoint at which an assessment of the quality of the process is made either qualitatively or quantitatively, to determine whether to proceed to the next stage of the process. This is done using the six components of a quality gate (Placement, Quality Measures, Roles, Tolerance, Actions and Evaluation), which act as acceptance criteria.
Quality gates are a tool which improve a user's ability to manage statistical risk. They do this by providing explicit evidence relating to the statistical process at strategic places in the cycle to determine fitness for purpose of the process (and data) at that point in time and improving knowledge management and information sharing of data relating to specific stages of a statistical process.
For more information see "Quality Management of Statistical Processes Using Quality Gates (cat. no. 1540)" information paper.
STATISTICAL TRAINING IN 2011
The Northern Territory (NT) Regional Office conducts a wide variety of statistical training courses throughout the year. The 2011 training course calendar has been finalised and is available on the ABS website. Statistical training courses offered in the NT for 2011 include 'Running Your Own Survey' and ‘Introduction to Labour Statistics’.
The NT Regional Office offers training courses as a way for professionals to increase their statistical capability in order to allow them to make improved policy decisions when analysing data or to simply provide professionals with the tools that they need to improve their work performance. Furthermore, anyone who is interested in improving their statistical knowledge is encouraged to attend the training sessions, as improved statistical knowledge can help individuals improve their financial decision making, or give small businesses the edge over their competition.
A full list of statistical training courses, when they will be held and detailed information about each course can be found on the ABS Website.