1316.3 - Statistical Update Queensland (Newsletter), Jul 2001
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/08/2001
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From Alex McNaughton, Director Census Field Operations.
I started in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 1974 and my experience covers both economic and social collections. In my early years, I worked in a number of different collection areas including prices, public finance, manufacturing, and employer based labour force surveys.
My first working experience of the census was in 1986. At that time field operations was undertaken by the Australian Electoral Office. Our role was mainly confined to census publicity. My involvement consisted of promoting the census to service organisations such as Rotary and Lions. I undertook a similar role for the 1991 Census, however, this time field operations was undertaken by the ABS.
I enjoyed working on the census and in 1996 when asked to head the Census Management Unit (CMU) gladly accepted the challenge. It was a hectic 16 months, but it was the best collection I had worked on since joining the ABS.
They say the census gets into your blood and when asked to head the CMU for the 2001 Census, it was an offer too good to refuse.
So what's different in 2001? Apart from some changes to the census questionnaire, there are a number of improvements to field procedures which will result in a better count. For example, Field Coordinators are no longer responsible for much of the administration relating to the employment of census staff. This will give them more time to conduct on-the-job training. They will also be able to ensure that all households in their area of responsibility receive a form.
Another improvement has been the creation of extra positions in the CMU with responsibilities for indigenous, ethnic and homeless enumeration. These are areas which traditionally pose problems in attaining a complete count.
The census is important for all Australians. I ask the readers of Statistical Update to give it their full support on census night - 7 August 2001.
- Alex McNaughtonSurvey of International Investment: Supplement on Foreign Currency Hedging
In the light of recent calls by various international authorities for all countries to better monitor and assess the vunerabilities of their own economies, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has shown a desire to obtain as much data and information as possible so that it may acquire a better understanding of the extent to which Australia as a whole, or particular sectors, are vulnerable to unfavourable movements in exchange rates.
The RBA recently undertook some preliminary investigations in this area by collecting appropriate data from the four major banks. However, to obtain a more complete picture, the RBA has approached the ABS with a request to conduct a survey which will cover a far wider range of enterprises, both financial and non-financial.
The survey now proposed will be titled Survey of International Investment: Supplement on Foreign Currency Hedging. It is proposed that this be a one-off survey, with the possibility of becoming annual, subject to the outcome of the first survey and negotiations on cost-sharing. The reference period for the first collection will be 30 June 2001.
Data to be collected (in $A million) include:
Qualitative information on the broad hedging policies of enterprise groups, particularly in relation to changing economic conditions and variations in time horizons, will also be sought.
Broad results obtained from this supplementary collection are expected to be released to the general public via a special article in the September quarter 2001 issue of Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (Cat. no. 5302.0), which is due for release on 29 November 2001.
For further information contact Graeme Groves on 02 6252 5364 or email@example.com
The ABS released an Occasional Paper: Australian Business Register - A Snapshot (Cat. no. 1369.0) on 28 May 2001. The release of this Occasional Paper is the first use of information from The New Tax System by the ABS. The Australian Business Register (ABR) is a new source of data on the number of business entities. The ABS has released this Occasional Paper to present these data and to provide an opportunity for comment.
The paper has been prepared based on data derived from information held on the ABR and supplied by the Australian Taxation Office to the ABS. The data presented are a snapshot of active Australian Business Numbers on the ABR at 30 October 2000. At that date there were 3,199,930 business entities in Australia registered for an Australian Business Number (ABN) on the ABR.
A wide range of business entities are included. Data presented in the paper are classified according to whether entities are employing or non-employing and whether or not they have registered for the GST. Entities do not have to register for the GST to be entitled to an ABN.
Of the business entities registered for the GST, 796,861 were employing and 2,403,069 non-employing. The industries that had the most business entities registered for the GST were the property and business services industry (528,427) and the construction industry (358,321).
Tables on the number of business entities are presented by industry (ANZSIC) and size, based on reported estimated annual turnover range when registering with the ABR. At the time of registration, 82% of employers registered for the GST estimated that their annual turnover would be less than $500,000.
Business entity counts by State are provided based on entities which operate from locations in a single State or Territory. Counts of entities which operate from locations in more than one State/Territory (multi-State) are also provided. Of employers registered for the GST, 98% operated from locations in a single State or Territory.
Data are also presented on 15,491 business entities which operate from locations in more than one State/Territory. More than half of these (59%) operate from locations in two States/Territories, while 1,306 (8%) operate in all States and Territories.
Counts of business entities which operate from a single location, in areas which are parts of States (defined by postcodes or postcode groupings), are available on request. For details on availability of such data contact Steve Murdoch on 03 9615 7536.
The Occasional Paper is available from ABS bookshops and may be found on this Web Site.
For further information contact Steve Murdoch on 03 9615 7673 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Measuring Australia's Progress - What Do You Think?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is currently in the consultation phase of the Measuring Australia's Progress (MAP) project and has conducted a series of seminars and issued consultation packs to those who wish to contribute to its development.
About the project
For any national statistical agency, measuring a nation's progress, i.e. providing information about whether and how life is getting better, is one of its most important tasks. For almost 100 years, the ABS has been measuring Australia's progress through the multitude of statistics relating to the economy, society or the environment. But, for the most part, statistical publications have tended to focus on each of these three broad areas in isolation from the others.
MAP is an exciting new ABS project that hopes to break new ground by considering some of the key aspects of progress side by side and discussing the inter-relationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of life. In essence, the publication could be regarded as Australia's triple bottom line.
We envisage that MAP will contain 14 headline indicators that summarise the state of the economy, society and the environment, so allowing readers to form their own view of Australia’s progress. These headline indicators, along with commentary and technical notes, will be published as Measuring Australia's Progress in 2002.
About the consultation
On 4 May, a total of 41 participants from a range government departments and tertiary institutions attended a seminar conducted in Brisbane by Jon Hall from the Analysis Division of the ABS in Canberra. At the seminar, a consultation pack detailing the discussion to date and highlighting areas where input or advice was sought was given to each participant. Participants at the seminars, which were conducted throughout Australia, were requested to document and forward their responses to Jon for consideration for inclusion in the publication.
If you would like more information on this exiting project or would like to be placed on the mailing list for the MAP Newsletter, please contact Henry Zuk in the Government Relations unit of Client Services on 07 3222 6125 or email@example.com
Changes to the ASGC 2001 - Remoteness Classification and Extended Section of State
The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) will for the 2001 edition introduce two very important changes.
A new Remoteness Classification structure will be included. The Remoteness Classification divides the whole of Australia into five geographical regions, based upon aggregations of Census Collection Districts. The definitions used for the five classes describe remoteness in a purely geographical way, based on road distances to five different sized towns.
The ASGC also includes more classes in the Section of State structure for the 2001 Edition. This will provide aggregated statistics for more detailed groupings of ABS Urban Centres.
Community Council Areas in Queensland
ABS is aware of concerns regarding the representation of Queensland Community Council areas in the ASGC. The Communities of Aurukun and Mornington are Shires as defined by the Local Government Act and are represented as such in the ASGC. Community Councils are established under a different Act and are not Local Government Areas (LGAs) as such. Community Councils can, however, be defined as Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) if they are statistically significant in terms of population and economic activity.
As a result of representations to a recent ABS review of its relationship with local government, ABS will create a separate SLA, in the 2002 Edition of the ASGC, where a Community Council provides services to a significant proportion of the population of a Shire.
For further information contact Trish Carroll on 02 6252 7557 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What Are Regional Area Synthetic Estimates?
The term ‘synthetic estimates’ is used regularly at planning sessions or in statistical discussions. What are synthetic estimates? What are their uses and limitations? Are there any (as yet) unexplored applications for this technique?
A convenient way of explaining synthetic estimates is to focus on one issue - disability for example. Synthetic estimates can predict the level of disability for regions (e.g. LGAs or SLAs) based on some known characteristics of that region, gleaned from a variety of sources. By marrying regional demographic characteristics from the census with Centrelink data (non-institutionalised pension recipients by postcode) and sample survey data (ABS Survey of Disability Ageing and Carers), one can build up a synthetic profile of regional levels of disability. This is achieved through sophisticated statistical modelling and estimation techniques. Source data compiled on different geographical bases can be aligned through the use of concordances, in particular the ABS postcode to SLA converter. Similarly, larger regions (as used by ABS sample surveys) can be subdivided as smaller SLAs.
Each source brings its own strengths and limitations to the synthesis. Administrative pensions data has the advantage of fine regional detail (postcodes) yet it will exclude those disabled people who do not receive welfare assistance. Conversely, ABS sample surveys are often restricted in their capacity to produce reliable estimates beyond the very broad Statistical Region or Division level. This limitation, however, is offset by the wider view of ABS surveys; e.g. with information on people with unmet needs and those who are ineligible or choose not to access welfare will be included.
Synthetic estimation is usually undertaken when there is a need for regional information which cannot be fully met by an individual source. The modelling produces predictors of levels of disability or child care use or need. Being modelled products, they may not always match reality. Subtle changes to a region’s population may not necessarily be accommodated by the (sometimes) static assumptions within a synthetic estimation model. Users are encouraged to embellish the estimates with their personal knowledge of a region, or additional information resources. Put simply: synthetic data are much better than no data at all, but they are not the complete picture. They are a reasonable guide.
Some useful tips for new users:
DO use synthetic information if the regions of interest are small and little information is available.
DO treat the figures as predictors for other regions with very similar population characteristics.
DO use proportions rather than absolute numbers.
DO use the predictors in conjunction with other sources, e.g. local knowledge to accumulate a more comprehensive picture.
DON’T expect the values to be appropriate for every region - some models may not capture recent local events.
DON’T rely on synthetic estimates if more definitive data are available.
DON’T assume that they describe the entire reference population, persons in non-private dwellings and recent overseas arrivals may be excluded.
There are many ‘live’ examples of synthetic estimates. The ABS has produced synthetic, small area predictors of disability based on the 1993 Survey of disability, Ageing and Carers. This will be repeated for the 1998 survey: region data will become available at the end of this year.
Opportunities exist for synthetic estimation in many areas. Administrative details of child care support beneficiaries could be modelled against ABS Child Care Survey data and census information to produce regional estimates of formal child care use and unmet need. Similarly, recipients of tertiary study allowances, or Vocational Education and Training enrolments data, could be modelled against broader survey information to generate a detailed regional picture of the tertiary student population.
For further information contact Sally Barrett on 07 3222 6083 or email@example.com
Help Yourself to ABS Data with SuperTABLE Datacubes
In this age of increased information technology access, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is remaining on the cutting edge of data delivery options. The latest delivery format utilises a table manipulation software package known as SuperTABLE. This format gives ABS data users the freedom and flexibility to extract relevant data for themselves and arrange it in a format to suit their specific needs.
SuperTABLE software is a table manipulation software package developed by the Space-Time Research organisation. This software is available for download free of charge on the Space-Time Research web site www.str.com.au. The software provides a simple, user friendly, click and drag option for manipulation of quite complicated summary record databases (datacubes). These summary record databases contain a number of classification extracted from the complete unit record file of any compatible collection.
There are a great many benefits to the new delivery option. Detailed databases are available for easy access on the web via AusStats subscription. This option also allows the data to be offered at a reduced price based on the large number of potential users. These summary record databases also allow clients to have access to time series data as well as all levels of any hierarchical classifications in a collection. The client has the freedom and flexibility to build a table that is relevant to their specific needs while maintaining access to additional data they may need at a later date.
Currently datacubes are available for a number of collections including Cause of Death, Labour Force and New Motor Vehicle Registrations. Datacubes and other self help approaches are an exciting part of the statistical future and the ABS is offering you the opportunity to have advanced ability to manipulate the data for your own analysis.
For further information on datacubes contact Marie Pickett on 07 3222 6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Review of Survey of Employment and Earnings
Data from the Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE), currently covering both the private and public sectors, are published in Wages and Salary Earners, Australia (Cat. no. 6248.0). The private sector component of SEE will cease after fourth quarter 2001. From first quarter 2002, the private sector earnings data will be collected by the quarterly economy wide survey (QEWS). In the short term at least, SEE will continue as a public sector collection from first quarter 2002. While the ABS is confident that QEWS will provide private sector earnings data of acceptable quality, these changes are conditional on the quality of the earnings data from QEWS. The QEWS and SEE will run in parallel from March quarter 2001 to December quarter 2001 inclusive.
The objectives of the SEE Public Sector Review (to be completed by the end of 2001) are to clearly define and prioritise user needs for public sector employment and earnings data and to evaluate different options for meeting these user needs. Unless the review determines otherwise, SEE will continue, post December 2001, as a public sector collection.
Nick Parsons is heading the SEE Public Sector Review project and met with Queensland State Government users in May to learn more about the Queensland Government requirements for public sector employment and earnings data, how they use the SEE public sector data and whether the data currently produced meets their needs. In particular, detailed information was sought regarding:
Much of the Australian National Accounts data are sourced from SEE and therefore Australian National Accounts cannot be considered as an alternative data source.
While the review was closely linked to the future of SEE, the meeting focused on detailed data needs rather than the collection vehicle, since there appear to be many alternative ways to meet Queensland State Government needs (and indeed the needs of Australian National Accounts).
Queensland Treasury attached high priority to obtaining data to accurately estimate quarterly compensation to employees in the public sector.
For further information contact Nick Parsons on 02 6252 6737 or email@example.com
Census Dictionary, 2001 Edition - OUT NOW!
The 2001 Census Dictionary (Cat. no. 2901.0) was released in April 2001. This is the first stage in the process of making census data available to our clients.
The dictionary is an invaluable reference guide and is essential for clients specifying customised census tables. It is a comprehensive directory of all output variables available from the census.
The 2001 Census Dictionary retains the user-friendly style of the 1996 edition and includes a new chapter 'What's New for 2001'. This chapter identifies and explains the changes that have occurred since the 1996 census and indicates the impact these changes have on the range of analyses which can be undertaken. It also includes information about the new topics ‘ancestry’, ‘Internet use’ and ‘computer use at home’, describes the revisions made to some standard classifications and provides a summary of changes to census variables. The first part of the Dictionary describes in detail all 2001 Census Classifications. ‘Concepts and Definitions’ form the second part of the Dictionary. Many entries have been revised to better explain the conceptual issues underlying the data.
The early release of the 2001 Census Dictionary is an important part of the census dissemination strategy of the ABS. It gives users the opportunity to specify their requirements for customised tables before the release of census data. Clients will be able to submit their orders early through the Advance Order Service, available through Information Consultancy, or the Census Table Specification Service, available through the ABS web site. These advance orders are priority processed as soon as the census data are released, ensuring the earliest possible delivery of customised data to users taking advantage of the advance order service.
The 2001 Census Dictionary is available through the Bookshop, ABS@ and the ABS web site.
For further information, contact Robyn Jamieson on 02 6252 6997 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Multimedia Award for ABS CD-ROM
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) took out an award at the prestigious Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards in Melbourne on Saturday May 26 for its educational CD-ROM called A Tale of Two Worlds that is packed with fun and games to promote awareness in Australian schools of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, due on 7 August.
The annual ATOM Awards, for film, television and multimedia, are arguably the premier awards in Australia for celebrating student talent and promoting the educational screen culture industry in 23 categories.
A Tale of Two Worlds - which demonstrates the census’s role in a democracy and shows schoolchildren how the census allows them to play a part in determining the future of Australia - took out the Best Primary Student Educational Resource. The CD ROM was also one of four finalists in the multimedia category.
Detailed concept testing of A Tale of Two Worlds was carried out with teachers throughout Australia to ensure that the CD-ROM meets the highest educational standards. The lesson plans include worksheets developed by leading Australian educators in accordance with national and state curricula.
The awards follow an enthusiastic response to the CD-ROM from students and teachers alike in both primary and secondary school sectors. A Tale of Two Worlds has been hailed a ground-breaking multimedia educational resource since it was despatched, free of charge, to all Australian schools late last year.
The CD-ROM envisages schoolchildren bringing census order to the people of another, chaotic dimension. It covers learning areas ranging from society and environment, geography, history, and civics and citizenship to drama and the arts, English and maths. The lesson plans cover Grade 3 to Year 10. Exercises cater to a range of learning styles with three levels of difficulty and are intended to stimulate the imagination of students by immersing them in the world of the census.
How Does the Census Affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples?
Since 1971 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been included in the five-yearly censuses. This has meant that increasingly accurate (and inclusive) counts of Indigenous people have given successive governments better data upon which to base policy and planning decisions. Consistent questions identifying Indigenous people in Censuses from 1981 have also contributed to a better understanding of total Indigenous population figures.
What is the ABS doing to ensure that all Indigenous people are included in the census?
Ensuring that all Australians are included in the census is a challenge that the ABS takes up every five years. This time, the Census Management Unit (CMU) in each state has put considerable effort into developing a strategy to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the opportunity to participate in the census. An integral part of that strategy is the recruitment of around 1,500 Indigenous Australians to undertake many of the roles associated with the census.
Community-based collectors are employed to conduct household interviews, while at the administrative level Indigenous people provide expertise in the planning, training and management of the census in remote Australia.
The urban parts of Australia pose a particular challenge at census time, since the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (73%) live here. Census collectors receive intensive training enabling them to locate these people and assist them in completing their forms on census night.
Over recent censuses, it has become evident that young Indigenous males are under-represented in the count. Selecting census collectors who have extensive local knowledge, and an awareness of the local social scene, may improve this situation.
Trained Indigenous field officers will be available for the completion of the census forms where additional assistance is required or in resolving language or cultural issues.
Distance, remoteness, language, cultural differences - each of these factors makes running the census in remote Australia an enormous logistical task. An army of Indigenous community people will be visiting every home around census night from Bidyadanga in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to the islands in the Torres Strait; from the Anangu-Pitjantjatjara lands in remote South Australia to tiny out-stations in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
For further information contact Rod Silburn on 0889 432191 or Freecall 1800 633 216 or email@example.com
Indigenous Identifiers - Promotion
One major outcome from a meeting held in March in 2001 which was attended by all ABS State and Territory Indigenous Administrative Data Project representatives was to plan a work program for the next 2-3 years. There was broad recognition of the need to promote the use of the ‘Indigenous identifier’ as fundamental to the provision of accurate administrative by-product data.
Pamphlets and posters which detail why the Indigenous standard question has been asked in health-related areas have been produced to promote the use of the Indigenous identifier and supplies are now available and can be ordered by phoning 1800 633 216.
For further information contact Rod Silburn on 0889 432191 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous Labour Force Estimates Updated
The ABS has updated the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates of Indigenous Australians to reflect the 2001 data. These estimates were previously published in the Occasional Paper Labour Force Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (Cat.no. 6287.0) released in December 2000.
Summary results were published in Labour Force, Australia (Cat.no. 6203.0) on 29 June 2001 and the full results will be available on this web site (no paper version of Indigenous labour force estimates will be produced).
The small number of persons identified as Indigenous in the LFS limits analysis of the data to broad characteristics such as employment and unemployment at the national level. State details are not available.
To improve the quality of these estimates, from April 2001 the LFS has started to collect the Indigenous status of household members each month on the household form (as new households are rotated into the survey). This will increase number of Indigenous persons contributing to the LFS estimates for 2002 and reduce sampling errors associated with LFS estimates for the Indigenous labour force.
The LFS is the main source of information about Australia's civilian labour force. The LFS is itself based on a small sample of the Australian population (about 0.5%). The survey includes only a very small sample of Indigenous persons. The survey is not designed to overcome some of the practical difficulties associated with measuring the labour force status of Indigenous people in remote regions.
For further information contact Harry Kroon on 02 6252 6753 or email@example.com
Directions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (free publication)
This free publication provides an overview of ABS plans to meet the current and future needs for statistics on the Indigenous population. It is based on the outcome of extensive discussions with a wide range of ABS data users, the proposed ABS Indigenous survey strategy, initiatives for improving the quality of administrative data collections and development of the 2001 ABS population census.
A copy of the publication can be found on the ABS web site, via Themes, then Indigenous links, or by contacting the NCATSIS office on 08 8943 2190 or 1800 633 216 (outside of Darwin) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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