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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Year Book Australia 2008: Media story leads



Scouting (Feature article, page 1)

The year 2008 has been designated the Year of the Scout in Australia, and is the centenary of the national movement. (Page vii)

There are currently around 60,000 Scouts in Australia. These include boys and girls, young men and women, and their leaders. (Page 1).

More than 2 million Australians have been involved in Scouts since 1908. (Page 9)

Geohazards (Feature article, page 12)

The year 2008 is also the International Year of Planet Earth. (Page vii)

Natural hazards are estimated to cost Australia an average of $1.14 billion annually. However, individual disasters can cost much more – for example, the Newcastle earthquake in 1989 cost $4.5 billion. (Page 12)

As Australia’s population and living density increase, so does the potential impact of natural disasters on the community, for example as the pressure for urban development extends into hazardous areas. (Page 12)

Environment chapter

Almost all households in Australia (99%) recycle or reuse waste at home, compared with 91% 10 years ago. (Page 66)

Solar energy use in Australian households is primarily for heating water (4% of households), particularly in the NT (42% of households). (Page 67)

Reverse cycle air conditioners were used in 20% of Australian households at last count (2005), up from 14% in 2002. (Page 69)

More than 14% of people report using public transport to get to work, up from 12% ten years ago. (Page 71)

Households used 11% of water consumed in Australia in 2004–05 compared with agriculture which used 65%. Australian households reduced their water consumption by 8% between 2000–01 and 2004–05 (from 2,278 gigalitres to 2,108 gigalitres). (Page 86)

Water, land and air chapter

The number of fauna listed as threatened in Australia has risen by nearly 20% since 2000, to 384 species. Dozens of these are presumed to be extinct. (Page 93)

Australians generate more than 1.6 tonnes of waste per person each year. At last count more than half our waste was sent to landfill and the remainder was recycled. (Page 96)

We emitted 17.5 tonnes per head of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, compared with an OECD average of 11.1 tonnes. Our relatively high output can be attributed to factors such as high use of coal in electricity generation and of motor vehicles for transport. (Page 99)

A tsunami would take an estimated three to four hours to reach Australia from the nearest danger zones off Indonesia and between Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Authorities aim to issue warnings to vulnerable areas at least 90 minutes before impact. (Page 108)

Water consumption in the agriculture industry fell by 23% between 2000–01 and 2004–05. (Page 86)

Population chapter

Australia’s population has more than doubled in the past 50 years, to 20.7 million in 2006. Natural increase has been the main growth factor, at around 60%. (Page 181)

Australia’s population is ageing because of sustained low fertility - resulting in proportionally fewer children – and increased life expectancy, resulting in proportionally more older people. (Page 182)

The median age of Australia’s population is 36.6 years, an increase of 5.5 years over the median age 20 years earlier. The median age is the age at which half the population is younger and half older. (Page 182)

The three most densely populated statistical local areas in Australia were located in Sydney. The highest of these had 8,100 people per square kilometre. (Page 192)

Queensland was the most popular destination for Australians moving interstate, receiving 98,300 new arrivals in 2005–06. The largest interstate flow was from NSW to Queensland (51,000). (Page 193)

Australia’s resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 517,200 at 30 June 2006. Indigenous Australians have a median age of 21 years, compared with 37 for the rest of the population. (Page 196)

There has been an increase in births in Australia in 2005, with the total fertility rate reaching 1.79 babies for each woman, compared to 1.73 four years earlier. Fertility after World War II peaked at 3.5 babies per woman in 1961. (Page 198)

Boys born in 2005 could expect to live to 78.5 years on average, and girls to 83.3 years. At the beginning of the 20th century life expectancy for males was 55.2 years and for females 58.8 years. (Page 206)

The United Kingdom and New Zealand remained the first and second-ranked countries of birth of permanent settlers arriving in Australia in 2006, with India and China now ranked third and fourth respectively. (Page 208)

In 2006, nearly quarter (24%) of all Australians were born overseas, and 26% of people born in Australia have at least one parent born overseas. (Page 210)

The median age for marriage of men was 32 years in 2005 (29 a decade ago), and for women 30 (27 ten years ago). (Page 211)

The number of people in de facto relationships rose by 25% between 2001 and 2006 to 1,193,400. De facto partners represent 15% of all people living as socially married. (Page 212)

Marriages are lasting longer on average: 8.8 years from marriage to separation in 2005 compared to 7.9 years a decade ago, or 12.6 years from marriage to divorce (11.9 ten years ago). (Page 214)

The number of couple families without children increased by 22% between 1996 and 2006. These include both couples who have not yet had children, and couples whose children have left home. (Page 214)

Labour chapter

Part-time employment is rising, reaching 28% of employed people in 2006–07 compared to 19% twenty years ago. There were10.3 million employed Australians in 2006–2007. (Page 226)

Men are more likely than women to work full time (85% and 55% respectively). Part-time work is more prevalent among the younger and older age groups. (Page 227)

We are working fewer hours – an average of 39.4 hours per week for full-time workers, compared to 41.4 hours seven years ago, when actual hours worked reached a peak. (Page 232)

Fixed-term employment contracts are most common among professionals (45% of fixed-term employees are professionals). Almost three-fifths (57%) of professionals who worked on fixed-term contracts are women. Almost half of these were education professionals. (Page 235)

There were 175,100 children aged 5–14 years who worked at some time during the 12 months to June 2006. Their most common reason for working was to get ‘money for spending’. The NT and WA had the highest proportion of children who worked. (Page 243)

The unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 10.7% in December 1992 to 4.3% in June 2007. Prior to 1990 and since mid-2003, the male unemployment rate has generally been lower than the female unemployment rate while the reverse was generally true between 1990 and 2003. (Page 247)

Over the past 10 years, average weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE) for full-time adult male employees have increased from $741 to $1158, or 56%, and from $620 to $968 for women (also 56%). (Page 254)

Industrial disputes caused 132,600 working days to be lost in 2006, a decrease of 42% from 2005. The number of disputes fell from 472 to 202 during the period, and the number of employees involved fell by 49%. (Page 260)

Trade union membership fell by 7% in the 12 months to August 2006 when there were 1.8 million union members. The proportion of employees who were trade union members also fell, from 22.4% in August 2005 to 20.3% in August 2006. (Page 261)

Income and welfare chapter

Average real equivalised disposable household income in Australia in 2005–06 was 10% higher than in 2003–04. Tasmania’s average was 15% lower than the national figure, and SA 6% lower. The ACT had the highest average household incomes, 22% above the national average. (Pages 272, 276)

Around 70% of households own their home outright or with a mortgage, with their homes worth $412,500 on average. (Page 279)

More than one in five Australians (4.2 million) receive income support payments from the Australian Government at any one time. (Page 283)

Nearly 80% of seniors receive the age pension or the equivalent service pension. (Page 283)

Between 1994 and 2004–05, labour force participation improved for Indigenous women and the Indigenous unemployment rate fell. (Page 304)

Housing chapter

The average number of people per household declined from 3.1 in 1976 to 2.5 in 2005–06. In the same period, the average number of bedrooms per dwelling increased from 2.8 to 3.1. (Page 311)

In 2005–06, 22% of households rented from a private landlord while 5% rented from a state or territory housing authority. (Page 312)

Households in Sydney had the highest housing costs in 2005–06. For owners with a mortgage, Sydney's housing costs averaged $443 per week, followed by Canberra ($343) and Brisbane ($338). (Page 317)

In 2006–07, new dwellings represented 12% of all dwellings financed in Australia. Western Australia had the highest proportion (14%) and New South Wales the lowest (8%). (Page 320)

Health chapter

Some 84% of Australians reported their health as good, very good or excellent in 2004–05, and this is about the same as in 2001. People with higher educational qualifications are generally more likely to report their health as excellent. (Page 336)

Almost 77% of Australians reported one or more long-term health conditions in 2004–05. Among adults, women are more likely than men to report some long-term conditions, except for hearing loss, back problems and diabetes. (Page 336)

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women. Lung cancer is ranked second for men, while for women the second cause is cerebrovascular disease (stroke). (Page 338)

Infant mortality has declined significantly in Australia in the last 100 years. In 1905, around 1 in 12 infants did not survive their first year of life, compared to only 1 in 200 in 2005. (Page 339)

One in four adults smokes, 13% drink alcohol at levels that would be risky long-term, and 52% of those over 15 are classified as overweight or obese. (Page 341)

Close to 3.5% of the population reports having diabetes, substantially higher than the 2.4% who reported it in 1995. However, this might reflect an increase in rates of diagnosis rather than an increase in prevalence. (Page 355)

Indigenous Australians are almost twice as likely to report their health as fair or poor (22%) as non-Indigenous people. The figure is adjusted for differences in the age structure. (Page 359)

The cumulative number of newly-diagnosed HIV infections in Australia since 1985 had reached more than 26,000 by the end of 2006. The annual number of new diagnoses reached 998 in 2006, after a low of 716 in 1999. (Page 360)

Around 4% of all employed people are employed in health occupations and females make up 74% of the health workforce. Nurses and physiotherapists are mainly female, while ambulance officers, paramedics and doctors are more likely to be male. (Page 371)

Education and training chapter

There are more than 9,600 schools in Australia, and 72% of them are government schools. There are 3.4 million school students, of whom 2.3 million attend government primary or secondary schools. (Page 379)

Teachers in government schools total the equivalent of more than 158,000 full time teachers, and the equivalent of more than 81,000 full time teachers work at non-government schools. (Page 379)

Among full-time students, 81% of girls appear to remain at school between Year 10 and Year 12 (the ‘apparent retention rate’), this applies to only 71% of boys. These figures have remained fairly stable for several years. (Page 381)

Indigenous school enrolments across Australia increased by 22% between 2001 and 2006. The increase in Indigenous secondary school enrolments was 36% and in primary enrolments 15%, largely reflecting an increased retention of Indigenous students in secondary school. (Page 382)

The number of female students in publicly-funded vocational education and training has declined by 5% since 2000. With an increase of 2% in male students over the period, the overall decrease is 2%. (Page 385)

Women students outnumber men in higher education. Of the 984,000 students enrolled, 55% are female. There was a 3% increase in the number of higher education students from 2005 to 2006. (Page 388)

Twenty-two percent of women and 19% of men have a bachelor degree or higher. Ten years ago, the figure was 13% for both men and women. (Page 393)

Crime and justice chapter

The 2005 Crime and Safety Survey found that 3.3% of Australian households suffered at least one break-in at home over a 12-month period. Attempted break-ins affected 2.6%, and 1% of households experienced at least one motor vehicle theft. (Page 406)

The survey found that around 70% of Australians believe there are crime or public nuisance issues in their neighbourhood. The most commonly perceived problem is dangerous or noisy driving (40%), followed by house burglaries (33%) and vandalism (25%). (Page 407)

There was a fall in the number of victims of crime recorded by police between 2005 and 2006. The largest declines were in attempted murder (down 11%) and motor vehicle theft (down 7%). (Page 408)

More people fell victim to blackmail and extortion (up 10%) and murder (up 8%) in the 12 months ended December 2006, compared to the previous year. (Page 408)

Australia had 25,790 people in prison at last count, 93% of them men. Most prisoners (57%) had served time prior to their current imprisonment. (Page 421)

Culture and recreation chapter

Australia’s 244 book publishing organisations employ some 5,300 people and earned $1.56 billion when last surveyed, most of that from the sale of new books. Of those sales, 60% came from Australian titles. (Page 432)

Our music and theatre production companies put on more than 53,000 paid performances in a 12-month period, for which we paid a total of $14.2 million in tickets. (Page 433)

Performing arts festivals in a year numbered 176 at last count, and included nearly 30,000 performances for audiences totalling 7.5 million. (Page 433)

Film and video production in Australia employs more than 16,000 people and earned more than $1.5 billion when last surveyed. Australia’s 33 television broadcasters employed more than 9,000 people and earned more than $5 billion. (Page 433)

Nearly 7 in 10 Australians 15 years or over (65.9%) participate in sport or physical recreation as a player at least once in 12 months. Participation is highest for the 25–34 age group. (Page 451)

Nearly two-thirds (63.5%) of children aged 5–14 years participated in organised sport outside school hours when last surveyed. Participation peaked for boys aged 10 and girls aged 9. (Page 453)

In our multicultural society, 16% of the population (3.1 million people) speak a language other than English at home, an increase of 10% over five years. (Page 455)

Eleven percent of Indigenous Australians, or 55,000 people, spoke an Australian Indigenous language at home. In the NT the figure was 54%. (Page 455)

On religion, 36% of Australians are Catholic, 19% Anglican, and 19% other Christian denominations. Almost 31% either have no religion or did not respond adequately to the 2006 Census question on religion. (Page 457)

Industry structure and performance chapter

Australia’s GDP in 2005–06 reached $922 billion, an increase of 2.8% on the previous year. The GDP per person was more than $44,000. (Page 467)

A total of 10 million Australians are employed in industry. The greatest number worked in the retail industry (1.5 million), followed by property and business services (1.2 million) and manufacturing (1.1 million). (Page 469)

Agriculture chapter

Australian agriculture contributes around 3% to GDP and accounts for about 65% of water use and almost 60% of Australia’s land area. (Page 477)

The gross value of agricultural production, at current prices, was more than $37 billion for the year ending June 2006. Cattle slaughtering contributed most ($7.7 billion) followed by wheat ($5.1 billion). (Page 479)

In the International Year of the Potato, spuds are grown in all states of Australia and production is worth more than $470 million. Although the area planted (35,500 hectares – ha) is less than in 1906 (48,000 ha), production has risen five-fold. (Page 497)

Forestry and fishing chapter

About 21% of Australia’s land area can be said to be under native forest, including old growth forest. (Page 510)

Exports of forest products total $2.1 billion, of which 40% are woodchips and 28% paper and paperboard products. (Page 513)

Australian fisheries production declined by 13% during 2005–06, to 241,000 tonnes. Finfish (other than tuna), prawns and rock lobster were the major contributors. (Page 514)

Australia remains a net exporter of fisheries products. Total value of exports (including live fish) remained steady at $1.5 billion in 2005–06. (Page 516)

Mining chapter

Australia continues to rank as one of the world’s leading mining nations, with the world’s largest economic demonstrated resources of brown coal, lead, mineral sands, nickel, tantalum, uranium and zinc. (Page 525)

Mining’s contribution to Australia’s GDP remained around 4–5% over the period 1996–97 to 2004–05, but increased to 7% in 2005–06. The mining industry is the second largest export earner after manufacturing. (Page 525)

Energy chapter

The value of Australia’s energy resources increased by 229% to $175 billion in the decade 1995–2005. Those with the highest net present value were natural gas (38%) and black coal (30%). (Page 555)

Black coal accounts for almost half (49%) of Australia’s total primary energy production, followed by uranium (28%), natural gas (10%) and crude oil (5%). (Page 556)

Total energy exports increased by 9% to more than 12,600 petajoules in the five years to 2005–06. The largest exports were black coal (52%) and uranium (38%). (Page 558)

Manufacturing chapter

Manufacturing contributes a little over 10% to Australia’s GDP, down from 13% a decade ago. However, the gross value added (GVA) of the manufacturing industry has grown by 17% in the same period. (Page 565)

Manufacturing industry employs more than 1 million people, or 10% of Australia’s workforce. The majority (87%) are full-time workers. (Page 570)

Total expenditure on research and experimental development (R&D) by the manufacturing industry increased by 12% in 2005–06, to around $3.9 billion. Motor vehicles and parts and ‘other transport equipment’ contributed the most (24%). (Page 572)

Construction chapter

The construction industry employed more than 900,000 people in 2006–07. The number of employees had increased by 9% since 2005–06, while the number of employers fell by 10%, and ‘own account’ workers fell by 2.8%. (Page 582)

Service industries chapter

The Communication services industry recorded the largest percentage increase (25%) in gross value added (GVA) between 2001–02 and 2005–06, an average annual growth rate of 5.8%. (Page 590)

Tourism chapter

International visitors consumed $21 billion in goods and services produced by the Australian economy in 2005–06. This represents 11% of Australia’s exports of goods and services. (Page 597)

The top destinations for Australians travelling overseas for short periods during 2006 were New Zealand, the United States of America, the UK, Thailand and China. Between 2005 and 2006, short-term departures to Thailand increased 42%, while departures for Indonesia fell by 39%. (Page 600)

Transport chapter

All of Australia’s principal airports recorded increases in passenger movements in 2006 compared with 2005. Perth and Townsville recorded the strongest growth (14%), followed by Launceston (9%). (Page 613)

In both 2001 and 2006, most fatal road crashes in Australia occurred on roads with speed limits of 100 kph and above (44% in 2006), followed by roads with speed limits of up to 60 kph (33%). (Page 617)

Information and communication technology chapter

At last count, 70% of Australian households had access to a computer and 60% had home Internet access. (Page 628)

Household access to the Internet has grown from 1.1 million households in 1998 to 4.7 million in 2005–06. (Page 628)

There were 6.7 million active Internet subscribers in Australia in September 2006, with more than 1.1 million using connections with speeds of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) or greater. (Page 629)

Research and innovation chapter

Expenditure on research and development (R&D) in Australia reached more than $15.7 billion in 2004–05, up more than 19% on the figure two years previously. (Page 636)

Australian business accounted for the highest expenditure on R&D (54%), followed by higher education (27%). (Page 636)

National accounts chapter

Australia’s net worth continues to grow strongly, up 9.2% to more than $5,330 billion at 30 June 2006. (Page 704)

International accounts and trade chapter

Our balance on current account for 2006–07 was a deficit of more than $59 billion, an increase of 10% on the previous year and up from more than 38 billion in 2002–03. (Page 716)

We imported more goods than we exported in 2006–07, producing a $12.6 billion deficit. However, the value of exports grew faster than that of imports, so the deficit was lower than in the previous year ($15 billion). (Page 718)

Imports of cars increased by 10% or $1.2 billion in 2006–07, and goods vehicles by 21% ($900 million). (Page 719)

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