There will be a lot more talking, networking and consulting with Indigenous communities next year, as ABS Indigenous engagement managers (IEMs) lend their expertise to the 2006 Census.
IEMs have the ongoing responsibility of building and maintaining networks between the ABS and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations in their state or territory.
With the 2006 Census only eight months away – 8 August 2006 is Census Night – the role of many of the IEMs is changing as they take on supporting activities for counting Australia’s Indigenous populations in 2006.
IEMs will now be using their knowledge, skills and networks to support the Census, according to Dan Black, Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS).
"Several IEMs have already been heavily involved in the lead-up to the Census, with managers in Western Australia and the Northern Territory playing a key role in the Census Indigenous Dress Rehearsal," he said.
"Other IEMs have been promoting the Census by assisting with, and starring in, the Census training video, and promoting Indigenous employment opportunities at career forums."
"In the future, IEMs will also provide basic statistical training so that Indigenous data can be fully utilised for planning and other purposes in the communities."
The Census support will focus on implementing the Indigenous Enumeration Strategy, which has been developed over the last three years specifically to enumerate all Indigenous Australians in the Census.
"Working as part of their local Census Management Unit team will give IEMs the opportunity to build on the efforts they have put into their role, and bring these benefits to the Census," said Dan.
It is through IEMs that the ABS will get ideas on how to improve the relevance of Indigenous statistics, and how best to return ABS information to Indigenous communities and organisations in formats relevant to local needs.