1100.2 - Statistics Victoria, Sep 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/10/2008   
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Image: What's Happening in Victoria

What's happening in Victoria
National Aboriginal & Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey Community Facilitators - a Victorian Initiative
ABS submission to Victorian Parliament
Australian Social Trend Seminars in Melbourne
NatStats08 Conference 19-21 Nov 2008 Melbourne
Outposted ABS Officers to Victorian government departments
Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey 2006
National Regional Profile
Historical publications loaded to ABS website
Outcome from a review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification
Update on ANZSIC 2006 (industry classification) implementation
Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF)

National Aboriginal & Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations

The ABS Victorian Office's Workplace Diversity Working Group, with assistance from John Harding (Indigenous Liaison Officer, ABS Vic), organised a great week of NAIDOC celebrations; aiming to increase awareness of the distinct culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their contribution to modern Australia.

Celebrations commenced on 4 July 2008, with ABS co-hosting the event with the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). Mr Brian Pink (Australian Statistician, ABS) and Professor Alan Hayes (Director, AIFS) formally opened the event, which was attended by over 60 ABS and AIFS staff. Performances included The Will Shakespeare Traditional Dance Group and jazz singer Liz Cavanagh. It was also an opportunity to sample some bush tucker food - and yes, it did include kangaroo and other unique Australian ingredients!

During NAIDOC week, John also hosted a lunch-time Indigenous Film Festival. It featured films made by, and starring, some brilliant and extremely talented Indigenous artists. Particularly inspiring was John's work capturing the Pitatjanjara community elders' stories. The rest of the films were very entertaining, depicting some light hearted stories, and a couple that had some reaching for the tissues.

The Will Shakespeare Traditional Dance Group perform at ABS during NAIDOC week

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey community facilitators - A Victorian initiative

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) collects information about well-being, social circumstances and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is being conducted from August to December 2008, and includes children for the first time. Working collaboratively with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), ABS has been able to reduce provider burden by combining a planned DEECD Indigenous survey with the NATSISS. Sample size of the NATSISS in Victoria has also been increased.

As part of the combined effort, the ABS Victorian Office is adopting a unique strategy to promote NATSISS in 2008 using community facilitators. Thirteen Indigenous facilitators have been employed to increase awareness of the survey and promote accurate self-identification by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Victoria.

Facilitators are members of the Indigenous community who are promoting the survey on behalf of ABS, using the survey slogan 'NATSISS - it's about you, our community, our future'. Supplied with a promotional DVD, radio advertisement and brochures; the facilitators will participate in community meetings, activities, sporting events and visit schools.

On 16 July 2008, Carl Obst (Regional Director, ABS) and Danny Hobson (Statewide Outcomes for Children, DEECD) welcomed the facilitators to their training day. ABS Victoria provided training to facilitators, including: covering 1994 and 2002 NATSISS surveys, what interviewers would be doing, sampling, the sort of questions to be asked, and ultimately their role.

The intense day finished with a celebration dinner, with facilitators asking ABS staff lots more questions. It gave everyone a chance to get to know each other and have a bit of fun. The facilitators were excited about their task and what the survey could do for their communities.

For more information about the NATSISS Community Facilitator Strategy, please contact Fiona Shalley (03) 9615-7510 or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au> .
ABS submission to Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry
Carl Obst (Regional Director, ABS) recently appeared before the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee of the Victorian Parliament, presenting an ABS submission to its Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data. In the submission, Carl acknowledged that in recent times a combination of technological developments, increased community desire for participation in decision making, and an awareness of the need for cross-sectional approaches to current policy issues has accelerated demand for information across the community.

Carl promoted improvement and expansion of the National Statistical Service (NSS). A key objective of the NSS is to maximise the use, for statistical purposes, of information available within government administrative systems. 'Securing benefits from the NSS will be best served through partnership and collaboration across jurisdictions,' said Carl.

Carl recognised it was important to resolve issues around individual privacy, which must be protected in order to maintain public trust and confidence in information. The Victorian Government will need to work actively to promote the full range of benefits with the community, and accept the additional and ongoing costs that will be incurred in improving access to information, while working closely with data owners and custodians. Carl called for the inquiry to support development of a nationally consistent framework for privacy legislation.

Carl endorsed consideration of licensing issues by the inquiry, including consideration of the Creative Commons licensing model. There is large potential to increase access and improve discoverability of information as a result of clarifying intellectual property rights. Carl recommended that the Inquiry take account of potential benefits from aligning solutions in this area across Australia and internationally. In summary, Carl noted that generally, ABS views the use of open source approaches and technologies and open standards as a key enabler for supporting discovery, access and use of government information. Here is a link to the complete ABS submission.

For more information about the ABS submission please contact Carl Obst, (03) 9615-7330 or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au> .
Australian Social Trend Seminars in Melbourne
Australian Social Trends

The ABS Victorian office hosted Social Trends seminars during September 2008, with 280 registrations over two sessions. Seminar slides are available through this link, along with the AST publication. 'Australian Social Trends' (AST) covers the key areas of: population; family and community; health; education and training; work; economic resources; housing; and other areas of social concern like transport and communication.

Dr Paul Jelfs (ABS) presents the AST seminar at Treasury theatrette

NatStats08 Conference 19-21 November 2008 Melbourne

NatStats08 Conference

Last chance to register - registration closing soon!

Don't miss your chance to register for the NatStats08 Conference, which will take place at Crown Promenade Hotel, Melbourne from 19 to 21 November 2008. NatStats08 will provide a forum for discussion on key policy and measurement issues in areas such as health, education, Indigenous Australia, social inclusion, measuring Australia's progress, and community indicators; and the themes of water, natural resource management and climate change.

Some 30 speakers, all leaders in their field, will add their voice in concurrent sessions on specific themes. Speakers will include Professor Glyn Davis (Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne), Mr Enrico Giovannini (Chief Statistician, OECD), Mr Greg Bourne (CEO, World Wildlife Fund, Australia), Dr Martin Parkinson (Secretary, Commonwealth Dept of Climate Change) and Hon. John Lenders (MLC) Treasurer of Victoria. For a full list of confirmed speakers, program and registration information please visit <http://www.nss.gov.au/natstats>.
Outposted ABS Officers to Victorian government departments

Outpostings have been part of ABS' service provision role to State agencies for about 20 years in Victoria. An outposted ABS officer is one of the best ways for ABS to provide statistical support to Victorian State Government. Outpostings also assist ABS to better understand the needs and strategic environment of State agencies.

An ABS outposting may assist with a specific statistical project or issue, and can occur for periods as short as 3 months. The officer's work could involve assisting with survey and questionnaire design, or locating ABS data and related sources. Increasingly, outpostings have diverse and long-term strategic purposes, and may provide a conduit for complex service requests. In an era when policy makers are placing greater emphasis on acquiring evidence, outpostings that focus on transforming administrative data into statistical outputs can assist in harnessing a new range of data to enhance the decision-making process. ABS outpostings are conducted on a 'fee-for-service' basis.

At present, there are ABS outposted officers located in:
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC);
  • Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF);
  • Department of Primary Industries (DPI);
  • Department of Transport (DoT)
  • Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD); and,
  • Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD).

In September 2008, ABS outpostings were finalised with the Garnaut review on climate change and Department of Justice.

For further information about ABS outpostings contact Marie Apostolou, Director, Statistical Coordination Branch, (03) 9615 7500; or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au>.
Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey 2006

The feature article in 'State and Regional Indicators, Victoria, June quarter 2008' focused on a brief history of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS), and examined the 2006 survey. Some findings for Victoria include:
  • There was no statistically significant change in Victorians' document literacy skills between 1996 and 2006.
  • Victorians' perceptions of their skill levels differed from skill levels achieved in tests, with the tendency being to overestimate skill level.
  • Document literacy and numeracy skill levels tended to decrease with age.
  • Victorian males had higher document literacy and numeracy skill levels than females, with greater gender differentiation in numeracy.

The complete article is presented in June quarter 2008 'State and Regional Indicators, Victoria' (cat. no. 1367.2). This publication contains Victorian data on a wide variety of subjects, with some data available down to local government area level.

For further information contact Steve Gelsi on (03) 9615 7590 or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au>

National Regional Profile

The fourth edition of ABS's National Regional Profile (NRP) was released on 28 July 2008. NRP presents data from a variety of ABS and non-ABS sources covering: population characteristics, births and deaths, unemployment, taxable income, wage and salary earners, building approvals, motor vehicle sales, etc; for various types of small regions across all Australia. Data are available for Local Government Area and other geographies. The NRP is intended for analysts interested in the characteristics of regions, and in comparing regions across Australia. Data are presented as a five-year time series, where available.

Historical publications loaded to ABS website

ABS is progressively loading past issues of ABS titles, which have been scanned from the original paper versions, to the ABS website. Utilising character recognition software, full-text searching capability within the stored .pdf has been enabled. The scanned versions are available within the statistics portal, in the 'Past and Future Releases' tab of each product. The digitisation of publications is seen as an important step in retaining the history of past data dissemination.

Titles loaded to the website:
Titles to be loaded soon:
  • 1991 Census of Population and Housing
  • 1986 Census of Population and Housing

Other titles currently in the work program include:
  • Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0)
  • Balance of Payments, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0)
  • Average Weekly Earnings (cat. no. 6302.0)
  • Consumer Price Index (cat. no. 6401.0)
  • Research and Experimental Development (cat. no. 8104.0)

Outcome from a review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is used for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics, and has formed the foundation of ABS statistical geography since 1984. ABS intends to replace the current ASGC with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) through an implementation strategy commencing in 2011. ASGS will be based upon mesh blocks, creating more stable and consistent units than the ASGC. It will be the new basis for publishing the complete range of ABS spatial statistics, and become the essential reference for understanding and interpreting the geographical context of ABS statistics. The ABS anticipates that it will be widely adopted outside ABS to facilitate comparison of spatial statistics. For reference, 'Information Paper: Outcome from The Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2008' (1216.0.55.002, released 25/07/2008).
Update on ANZSIC 2006 (industry classification) implementation

Implementation of the new Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 is progressing well. A range of ABS collections have been released, or are due to be released, on the new basis by years end 2008. Remaining ABS collections will migrate progressively to the new ANZSIC over the next two years. A few examples of collections moving toward ANZSIC 2006 are cited below, although this is not a comprehensive list.

'2006 Census Tables' (cat no 2068.0) have been available on both ANZSIC 1993 and 2006 basis since October 2007.

'Labour Force, Australia, Detailed Quarterly' (cat no 6291.0.55.003) includes industry estimates on an ANZSIC 2006 basis for labour force quarter months (Aug, Nov, Feb, May) in SuperTABLE datacubes from August 2006. Compilation of ANZSIC 1993 industry employment estimates will cease after release of November 2008 estimates. Backcast data (from November 1984) on an ANZSIC 2006 basis will be available in February 2009.

'Australian System of National Accounts (ANA), 2008-09' (cat no 5204.0) is scheduled to reflect ANZSIC 2006, with release due in November 2009. An information paper outlining table formatting changes as a result of ANZSIC 2006 implementation is scheduled for release in March 2009. An information paper assessing the impact of ANZSIC 2006 implementation on the ANA is scheduled for release in September 2009. ANA publications 5204.0, 5206.0, 5220.0 and 5249.0 will contain backcast time series. 'Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2008-09' (cat no 5220.0) is also due for release with ANZSIC 2006 format in November 2009.

'Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE), Public Sector, 2007-08' (cat no 6248.0.55.001) will use ANZSIC 2006, with release due in January 2009. The SEE public sector quarterly survey ceased after June quarter 2007. This is being replaced with an annual survey commencing with the 2007-08 reference year, to be released on an ANZSIC 2006 basis. The SEE quarterly series will not be backcast.

Information sessions for stakeholders will be conducted in early 2009, before most statistical series will switch over to ANZSIC 2006. Sessions will include what users can expect from each collection, such as how far data will be backcast and the level of detail available. For a comprehensive release schedule of ABS statistics using ANZSIC 2006, refer to chapter 6 of 'Information Paper: Update on ANZSIC 2006 Implementation, Australia, 2008' (cat no 1295.0.55.001, released 20/06/08). For further reference, this chapter also includes ABS contacts for specific collections.
Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF).

ABS has about 115 CURFs available, all with catalogue numbers and information on ABS's website. CURFs cost $1320 each to access, come in basic or expanded formats, and have an associated technical manual to describe the survey and record file. CURFs are mainly accessed by universities (about 50% of users) and government departments. Because data is at a unit record level, CURF users commit to protecting confidentiality, and ABS has a vetting procedure prior to granting access.

CURFs are used for a wide range of research including government reports, policy formulation and review, university Ph.D theses, journal articles and conference papers. CURF users in 34 universities participating in the ABS CURF Agreement do not need to pay for CURFs up front, because their university has negotiated access on their behalf.

CURF Microdata Entry Page explains what's available, what's coming soon, how CURFs are accessible, and how to apply for access. To contact ABS about accessing a CURF, email <microdata.access@ABS.gov.au>.