A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Happy New Year to you all! We are looking forward to another full work program in 2004.
In our last newsletter we gave you some advance notice that data would soon be released from our inaugural General Social Survey. As promised, several publications have now been released, including three publications devoted to important culture and sport statistics. Details of these are provided in this newsletter. In addition, we are very excited about the potential that this survey offers for further in depth analysis of cultural and sport attendance and sport participation.
This year also marks the completion of an extensive publication on Sport and Recreation, which contains a snapshot of statistics from just about every ABS data source that has anything to say about sport and recreation. This is an important general reference on sport and recreation statistics for planners and practitioners alike. It covers data on sport and physical recreation, amusements, gambling and hospitality. We are currently working on a similarly comprehensive publication for culture, which is due for release in the first half of 2004 (Cultural Trends, Australia).
There have been so many interesting releases of data in the last few months of 2003 that we can only give you a brief glimpse of each of them in this newsletter. The main features of these releases are freely available on the ABS web site.
Make sure you look out for the upcoming publication on Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities (cat. no. 4901.0). This is due out in the next month and will provide results from the second survey of children's participation, allowing a time comparison over the period from April, 2000 to April, 2003. It will be interesting to see what activities are in decline or on the increase for children. This survey will provide some statistics to inform the debate about whether children are spending more time on computers playing games rather than organised sports or culture activities, as is so often hypothesised. We expect there will be a great deal of media interest in these data.
In the last couple of months I've had the opportunity to meet with some of you, as NCCRS is in the midst of presenting a series of seminars entitled 'The Art of Numbers - Culture Statistics in Australia'. A seminar is being held in each capital city of Australia, and they are being partly funded and organised by the arts departments in each state and territory. So far we've been to Perth, Melbourne and Hobart, and we will be visiting the other capital cities in the first few months of 2004. These sessions are providing us with a wonderful opportunity to let people know about the wide range of data that are available, and to encourage feedback about your highest priorty statistical and research needs. Information we obtain at the seminars or, indeed, from anyone who uses our statistics will feed into the information development plan we are preparing on Heritage and the Arts, which was discussed in our January 2003 newsletter. Outside this more structured consultation process, and our regular client meetings, we would welcome your feedback and ideas at any time, so feel free to contact us.