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1209.0 - Information Paper: Mesh Blocks, 2003  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/03/2004   
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MEDIA RELEASE

March 16, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
42/2004

ABS seeks comment on Mesh Block initiative

A new geographic building block, smaller than a Census Collection District, is being developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to increase the quality, quantity and comparability of information about small geographical areas.

The ABS is developing a micro-level geographical coding system, called Mesh Blocks, which are about four to five times smaller than the Census Collection District. This will be done to make geographically referenced statistics more comparable, according to ABS Director of Geography, Frank Blanchfield.

"The ABS is undertaking this project because of the need to more accurately compare ABS statistics to statistics with a different geographical base, such as river catchments or electoral boundaries," Frank Blanchfield said.

"Mesh Blocks are proposed to become the universal building block for Australia's administrative, political and statistical regions.

"The ABS recognises that, in order to be relevant to informed decision-making, debate, and discussions, our statistics must be relatable to other data."

The ABS invites public comment on this initiative and has issued an information paper on Mesh Blocks today.

It is approximated that Australia would be divided into 200,000 Mesh Blocks. Currently, there are around 37,000 Census Collection Districts covering all of Australia.

A Mesh Block will consist of approximately 50 households, compared to approximately 220 households in a Census Collection District.

The ABS is bound by legislation to ensure the confidentiality of information provided by respondents. The size of a Mesh Block has been determined to ensure respondents privacy and confidentiality are maintained.

People wishing to find out more about this proposal can access, Information Paper - Mesh Blocks (cat. no. 1209.0) on the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>.

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