2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Mar 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/03/2003   
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New Social Atlas - informing and enhancing rural policy

Country Matters: Social Atlas of Rural and Regional Australia, 2001 (Cat. no. 2049.0)
Indicative release date June 2003

Country Matters has been jointly produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) with funding support from the Rural Industries Research and the Dairy Research and Development Corporation. This Atlas aims to inform and enhance rural policy as well as address policy issues such as:

  • targeting rural policy through better understanding of rural people, industries and communities;
  • assessing and managing the social impacts of policy and reform;
  • maintaining the cohesion of rural communities and helping these communities take advantage of new opportunities.

The publication focuses on Australia’s non-metropolitan population at Statistical Local Area level. It contains maps illustrating key demographic/socio-economic characteristics and social aspects relevant to life in rural and regional Australia. Commentary describes the most current state of affairs regarding demographic and socio-economic features and illustrates recent key developments, comparing 1996 and 2001 Census data. As well as Census data, the Atlas includes data from other sources including the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink.

This Atlas complements the ABS Capital City series of Social Atlases by providing a similar core set of maps. In addition, it provides maps that highlight unique attributes relating to particular regions and a series of tables and maps providing a socio-demographic profile of people and households. It fulfils a major need for policy makers, industry and rural communities to understand in detail the social and demographic landscape and trends in rural and regional Australia.