1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2001-02  
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Contents >> Section 3 - Performance Information >> Chapter 5 - Performance Information - Outcome Measures

1: Integrity in statistical operations

ABS data, analysis, and interpretations are always objective, and the ABS always publishes its statistics. The ABS decides what to publish, and then does so in ways which explain and inform, without advocating a particular position.

The ABS statistical system is open. The ABS sets and publishes, in advance, the dates for the release of all its statistics. Pre-embargo access to statistics is strictly controlled under publicly known arrangements. The methodologies and approaches followed are based on sound statistical principles and practices, disseminated widely, and open to scrutiny.


Performance Measure 1.1: An objective statistical service, as demonstrated by:

Performance Indicator 1.1.1: Release of reliable/accurate statistics
Performance Indicator 1.1.2: Open statistical process
Performance Indicator 1.1.3: Trust and cooperation of providers


Performance Indicator 1.1.1: Release of reliable/accurate statistics

Key measures for demonstrating reliable/accurate statistics include high response rates, low sample errors, and the timeliness of ABS statistics. Performance Measure 6.1 demonstrates that the ABS has maintained high response rates in its major economic and social surveys, and provided statistics which are subject to low sample errors. The timeliness of ABS quarterly main economic indicators was similar to that achieved in 2000-01, however the averages presented in table 4 are significantly influenced by the discontinuation of a number of publications.

A key element of this performance indicator is the availability of information to enable users to make their own assessment of quality. Information on these aspects of reliability and accuracy, as well as extensive information on the statistical methods used in collections, are routinely provided in concepts, sources and methods publications, the explanatory notes in publications, and are also available at the Statistical Clearing House web site http://www.nss.gov.au/nss/home.nsf/pages/About+SCH.


Performance Indicator 1.1.2: Openness of the statistical process

The Australian Statistician determines which statistics are to be collected, after full discussion with users, clients and the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC).

The ABS continues to maintain close contact with its users through a variety of mechanisms, including:

  • user groups;
  • bilateral discussions with key clients;
  • standing committees;
  • outposted statistical officers;
  • conferences and seminars; and
  • day-to-day contact in the course of disseminating data.

The ABS Forward Work Program for 2002-03 to 2004-05 was published in hard copy and is also available on the ABS web site. The Forward Work Program demonstrates the open statistical process of the ABS by describing for each ABS program the resources, outputs, clients and uses of the statistical information, and the proposed main medium term developments over the next three years.

The ABS regularly publishes information about new statistical standards, frameworks, concepts, sources and methodologies in a range of information papers and other publications in hard copy, or electronically. Their publication is one element in ensuring that the public are informed about the statistical process. Many of these publications are listed in this Annual Report, including new and updated versions. Details of major revisions to published data are described in the explanatory notes of the relevant publication.

The ABS continues to advertise all scheduled release dates for publications up to twelve months in advance. Daily press and media releases inform users of publications being released each day. This information is also available on the ABS web site. Release of all publications is subject to a strict embargo policy that ensures impartiality, an essential element of integrity.

In addition the ABS has contributed its own policies on collection and dissemination of statistics to the United Nations web site on Good Practices in Official Statistics.


Performance Indicator 1.1.3: Trust and cooperation of providers

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 (C&S Act) obliges ABS staff to maintain the secrecy and security of all data provided to the ABS under the C&S Act, and held by the ABS. Staff sign an undertaking of fidelity and secrecy under the terms of the Act to ensure that they are fully aware of the requirements on them. There have been no known cases of an ABS officer breaching the undertaking of fidelity and secrecy.

The ABS has an enviable reputation for the preservation of the secrecy of reported information, whether it is provided in response to an ABS survey or as administrative data, and for the protection of its statistical data holdings from unauthorised release. The ABS also audits the use of confidentialised unit record files (released under the provisions of Clause 7 of the Ministerial Determination) to ensure that the requirements relating to the management and use of the files (which are agreed to by users in a legally binding undertaking), are complied with.

The efficiency of ABS operations and the quality of the data collected are enhanced through maintaining the trust and cooperation of the providers of data. Integral to that process has been the development of the Business Surveys Charter, careful form design and close liaison with business and other representative groups. ABS is conscious however, that the needs of users for information must be balanced against the load placed on businesses in providing that information. The ABS has actively and successfully worked to reduce the reporting load on businesses during 2001-02 through the increasing use of administrative data and by consolidating a number of business surveys into a single survey. More information on provider load is outlined under Performance Measure 7.4.

In spite of these initiatives, in the past year 550 of the 100,000 businesses selected in ABS economic surveys wrote to the ABS about respondent load issues. This was down from 748 complaints from businesses in 2000-01. A response was sent to each of the complaints. Two businesses further requested, as provided for in the ABS Business Surveys Charter, that the Complaints Review Officer review either the process or the outcome of the initial complaint. As a result of these reviews, revised arrangements were negotiated for the suitable delivery of information to the ABS.

TABLE 1: COMPLAINTS FROM DATA PROVIDERS

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02

Number of complaints
665
748
550



A recent survey following up perception issues after the 2001 Census indicates that levels of community trust in the Census, and therefore the ABS, remain high. In addition, the ABS enjoys a very positive relationship with the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner.


2: Relevance of ABS output

The ABS directs its efforts to the best interests of the Australian community. To aid this, it ensures that data needed for policy and research purposes are available when required. Good statistical planning, which requires a keen understanding of the current and future needs of users, is essential.

The ABS also recognises that, in order to be relevant to informed decision making, debate, and discussions, its statistics must be timely and relatable to other data. To support this, they are placed in an appropriate statistical framework. The ABS also provides analyses and explanations to help the interpretation of its statistics.

Performance Measure 2.1: Statistical output which meets the needs of key users of economic and social data in terms of:

Performance Indicator 2.1.1: Support to decision making
Performance Indicator 2.1.2: Demonstrated by a high level of use

Performance Indicator 2.1.1: Support to decision making

The ABS provides official statistics across a wide range of economic and social matters, for government, business and the Australian community.

Collections undertaken by the ABS include:
  • the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing;
  • monthly and quarterly surveys providing key economic indicators; and
  • collections from industry and households that provide users with information on specific economic and social issues.

In addition, as part of the national statistical service the ABS cooperates with other Commonwealth, state and territory agencies, to release statistics required by key users which are collected as a by-product of administrative systems.

Apart from the extensive range of existing publications and data which provide support to decision makers on a range of ongoing policy issues, the ABS continues to monitor and anticipate users’ needs in terms of new surveys, statistics, and research. The ABS is assisted in this regard by ASAC identifying major social, economic, and environmental issues of policy significance over the coming three to five years. This priority list is used as one check on the ABS priorities as identified in the forward work program.

Ensuring ABS outputs provide support to decision making is also achieved by extensive consultation with state/territory governments and other program-specific user groups. A number of key outcomes were completed in 2001-02 as a result of these processes and are listed in Performance Measure 2.2.

Some of the key areas where the ABS has responded to current and emerging issues and conducted research or new surveys include:
  • Measuring Australia’s Progress publication (cat. no. 1370.0) - in response to a growing public interest in the interrelationships between the economic, social and environmental aspects of life;
  • innovation and the knowledge-based economy - the aim is to develop a comprehensive set of statistical indicators to describe knowledge in the Australian economy and society which will facilitate policy development; and
  • Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (cat. no. 6296.0) - developed in response to differing views in the community as to the suitability of the unemployment rate as the only measure of labour underutilisation. The labour underutilisation rates presented were developed by the ABS in consultation with the Labour Statistics User Group.

An important component of the ABS output strategy, particularly in respect of social surveys, has been to support secondary analysis of ABS data through access to Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs). In 2001-02 the ABS released 178 CURFs. The ABS recognises the continuing and very important role that secondary data analysis has in terms of research and policy analysis, and hence has established a small project team to identify a range of release practices which will enhance ongoing analysis of microdata.

Chapters 6 and 7 contain detailed information about the many components of the ABS statistical work program, and improvements to the coverage of official statistics.


Performance Indicator 2.1.2: Demonstrated by a high level of use

The ABS delivers results from all statistical collections, as soon as practicable after the reference period, and makes them available to all users at the same time.

The ABS provides statistics and related information to users via many mechanisms, including:
  • printed publications, available for purchase at ABS bookshops or by request from the ABS national subscription service;
  • free access to all published statistics via national, state, university and many public libraries across the nation as part of the ABS Library Extension Program (LEP);
  • free provision of ABS publications to media organisations recognising that the media is the means by which many Australians find out about official statistics;
  • a free national telephone inquiry service for brief information requests;
  • free access via the ABS web site to key statistics, summary publications, explanatory and conceptual material on ABS statistics, and a growing number of information directories; and
  • ABS@ and AusStats subscription services to provide users with ready access to ABS publications and to a range of multi-dimensional datasets in electronic format.

Access to ABS statistical information continues to increase with significant rises in the use of the ABS web site and the web site-based AusStats subscription service. The ABS web site had over 2 million ‘hits’ per month in 2001-02, a threefold increase since 1998-99. Particular emphasis has been given to the expansion of data that is available on the ABS web site free of charge, such as basic community profiles derived from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. The AusStats service has also expanded with the media and LEP member libraries granted access to the service. Subscribers to ABS@ now total eight with the addition of Parliament House, Canberra. The service, which is replicated daily into the intranets of key client organisations which have paid an annual fee for that service, enables staff in those organisations to access ABS information. The information presented reflects the move from traditional paper-based publications to electronically disseminated information, justifying the resources allocated to further developing and improving this medium in the future.

Table 2: ACCESSES TO SELECTED DISSEMINATION SERVICES

Type of Access
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02

Internet SiteAccesses
8,931,056
14,884,419
20,946,456
27,659,711
AusStats(a)Downloads
-
26,795
225,585
355,810
ABS@(b)Subscribers
-
2
7
8
Internet Inquiry ServiceEmail
5,654
6,114
7,625
15,636
National Information & Referral ServiceCalls completed
193,208
170,000
120,165
119,020
Publications(c)Subscribers
11,658
11,101
11,045
9,654
Dial-a-Statistic-0055/1900Calls
32,081
23,300
15,465
8,452
CPI Infoline(d)Calls
2,149
13,300
9,182
7,333
Library Extension ProgramLibraries
515
516
516
515
Secondary Providers(e)Number
65
57
69
65

(a) Service commenced in April 2000.
(b) Relates to total number of organisations using the service (including some state and territory governments).
(c) Where the number of subscribers is shown this refers to 30 June.
(d) Service commenced on 1 October 1998.
(e) Various organisations which are licensed to re-sell ABS data.


The ABS provides free access to much of its data through the ABS web site, public libraries, media releases, media enquiries, and the distribution of ABS reports to media offices and to Members of Parliament. Table 3 below shows the level of media reporting (by medium) over recent years. In 2001-02, there was a significant increase in reporting on radio, television and the Internet and in newspapers and magazines. This increase in activity is predominantly attributed to the conduct of, and subsequent launch of results for, the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.

Table 3: MEDIA REPORTING, BY PLACEMENT

Radio, television and
Newspaper and
News
Year
Internet news placements
magazine placements
releases issued

1998-99
4,900
7,200
156
1999-2000
4,600
6,900
144
2000-01
4,800
9,300
383
2001-02
7,088
11,138
156



The ABS conducts small client satisfaction surveys as part of its collection benchmarking studies. The satisfaction surveys assess a number of attributes of the outputs from ABS business surveys, including:
  • understanding and responding to information needs;
  • providing clear information to enable the user to understand the data;
  • data quality and reliability;
  • comparability of data over time;
  • accessibility; and
  • timeliness.

Recent client satisfaction surveys confirm that the ABS is performing well in meeting the needs of its clients.

The ABS maintains a Client Service Charter which describes the relationship between the ABS and users of its products and services. During 2001-02 three complaints from clients were recorded in response to the charter. The complaints related to the ABS charging policy (two) and the late delivery of consultancy material (one). Each complaint was responded to in a timely manner.


Performance Measure 2.2: Openness of planning process

ABS planning processes and decisions are open, relevant and independent. The ABS manages this by maintaining a rolling three-year forward work program, published on the ABS web site, which develops and allocates resources to program outputs. The external dialogue which forms such an important element of the ABS planning process is also critical to ensuring the relevance of ABS statistical output. In establishing its forward work program, the ABS is advised by the following user groups:
  • ASAC;
  • state government advisory groups; and
  • various other formal user groups comprising, as relevant, Commonwealth and state government agencies, academics, business organisations, unions, community groups.

These include:
  • Economic Statistics User Group;
  • Labour Statistics Advisory Group;
  • Environmental Statistics Advisory Group;
  • Rural and Regional Statistics Advisory Group; and
  • National Advisory Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data.

Extensive consultation is also undertaken with key users in the development of specific collections once a decision has been made to include the collection in the forward work program. The information obtained through these forums is supplemented with information gathered from bilateral discussions with key clients, conferences and seminars, outposted statistical officers, and day-to-day contact with clients in the course of disseminating and advising on the use of data.

Some of the key outcomes in 2001–02 from the user consultation process include:
  • the first phase of the development of a future collection strategy for Agriculture statistics;
  • development of an Information Paper highlighting a range of measures of labour underutilisation;
  • development of a draft framework to measure social capital; and
  • development of Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications (cat. no. 4902.0).


3: Appropriate use of statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies

Performance Measure 3.1: Lead the development of national statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies, and their implementation within the broader Australian statistical system

An important ABS activity is the development and implementation of national statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies, which are applied, as appropriate, to all ABS statistical collections, including business and household surveys. A number of publications outlining statistical standards were issued during the course of the year.

The ABS is active in encouraging other Commonwealth and state government agencies to adopt these standards, frameworks and methodologies in their statistical activities.

Activities and achievements during 2001-02 included:
  • review of the statistical codes for exports and imports to reflect changes in the international Harmonized Commodity Coding and Description System. The new codes were implemented by the Australian Customs Service from January 2002;
  • release of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0), providing a comprehensive description of the concepts and methods underpinning ABS labour statistics;
  • release of Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications (cat. no. 4902.0) providing industry, product and occupation classifications on the culture and leisure sectors;
  • release of Australian Standard Geographical Classification (cat. no. 1216.0), based on the 2001 Census for use in the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. This edition contained a classification of remoteness for the first time; and
  • the adoption by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs of the Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity (cat. no. 1289.0) as a framework for reporting in the Australian Public Service Access and Equity Annual Report.

In addition, as part of its plan to develop a National Statistical Service, the ABS is in the process of promulgating best practice guidelines to:
  • assist government organisations, at Commonwealth, state/territory and local levels, to exercise their responsibilities with respect to producing and publishing important statistical information that results (or could result) from their own activities; and
  • promote principles and ‘best practice’ to guide the achievement of high standards in the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics.

The guidelines will also describe how the ABS can help organisations in these tasks.

To ensure a strong professional statistical focus at senior levels in its work, the ABS established a Methodology Division in 1995–96. The Methodology Division has three key roles in ensuring the adoption of professional statistical principles/methods:
  • establishing standards and advising statistical areas on appropriate statistical methods and being our ‘conscience’ on the quality of statistical outputs;
  • participating in reviews of existing statistical collections and methods; and
  • keeping abreast of professional (methodological) developments through presentation of professional papers and attendance at relevant conferences.

Supporting the work of the Methodology Division has been the formation of a Methodology Advisory Committee consisting of professional statisticians external to the ABS, which meets twice-yearly and provides a forum for peer review of statistical developments in the ABS. Other subject specific advisory boards are also often consulted about methodology issues related to their main focus.

Performance Measure 3.2: Contribute to the development of key international statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies, and implement them as appropriate

The ABS is an active member of the international statistical community, contributing significantly to the development of key international statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies, and their implementation, where appropriate, in Australia. Some of the involvement that the ABS has had during 2001–02 includes contributions to:
  • the work of the London Group on Environmental Accounting, including the draft manual System of Environmental and Economic Accounts;
  • the work of the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments Statistics Committee;
  • the Technical Expert Group on the International Producer Price Indexes Manual;
  • the Washington City Group on Disability Statistics;
  • the development of the OECD’s Manual on Globalisation Indicators;
  • the work on the International Monetary Fund’s A Manual on Government Finance Statistics;
  • the development of statistical standards for science and technology indicators, including biotechnology, by the OECD;
  • the review of the statistical measurement of household income and expenditure, under the auspices of the International Labour Office;
  • international discussions on the development of standards for the measurement of disability; and
  • the work of a group of ‘Friends of the Chair’ of the United Nations Statistical Commission for the harmonization of development indicators.

In addition to contributing to the development of new international standards and frameworks, the ABS has also implemented, or is in the process of implementing, several of these including:
  • a statistical framework to describe and measure innovation and the knowledge-based economy, consistent with the findings of the OECD Growth Project; and
  • a revised Labour Force Survey collection form to reflect latest international standards.

The ABS also provides assistance to statistical agencies in developing nations in implementing the latest international standards. Assistance in 2001-02 included:
  • commencement of a twelve-month activity to assist the Philippines improve its national accounts;
  • provision of resource persons for workshops to assist developing countries in various priority fields of statistics, including several workshops organised by the UN Statistics Division for ASEAN countries; and
  • other technical assistance to a number of countries, including Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

ABS officers held prominent positions on a number of international committees and steering groups during 2001-02. These included:
  • the Australian Statistician as President of the International Statistical Institute, from August 2001;
  • the First Assistant Statistician, Information Management Division, as Vice President of the International Association for Official Statistics; the Australian Statistician as Vice-Chairman of the United Nations (UN) Statistical Commission, to December 2001;
  • the Australian representative (initially the Deputy Australian Statistician, Population Statistics Group, and subsequently the Australian Statistician) as Chairperson of the Committee on Statistics of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; and
  • the Deputy Australian Statistician, Population Statistics Group, elected as Chairperson of the Governing Board of the UN Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific.


4: Improving coordination of the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics produced by other official bodies

Performance Measure 4.1: Statistical Clearing House activity

The primary objective of the Statistical Clearing House (SCH) is to reduce the reporting burden placed on business providers by Commonwealth agencies (including the ABS). The SCH pays particular attention to eliminating duplication in business surveys, and ensures that surveys conducted follow good statistical methodologies and practices. In view of its statistical expertise and statutory coordination role, the ABS was empowered to administer the clearance process.

The number of survey reviews at various stages of completion on 30 June 2002, for the 2001-02 financial year, is presented in the table below. Of the 115 completed reviews, all but five have resulted in approval to proceed. However, SCH intervention has resulted in 44 instances of improved survey design and/or reduced provider load. For 2001-02, the annual load imposed on providers by non-ABS surveys reviewed by the SCH has been estimated at 21,700 hours.
Table 4: STATISTICAL CLEARING HOUSE - REVIEW OF STATISTICAL COLLECTIONS, 2001-02

In scope - not to be
Completed
In progress
reviewed(a)

ABS
38
9
8
Other
77
13
36
Total
115
22
44

(a) Smaller surveys such as product evaluation surveys are not considered necessary to review.


The SCH’s Commonwealth Register of Surveys of Businesses (available on the Internet at <www.sch.abs.gov.au>) provides access to information on collections that have already been conducted, including survey design standards and best practices for organisations developing surveys. There are 537 surveys currently on the Statistical Clearing House web site.


Performance Measure 4.2: Assisting other official bodies with integration of administrative and statistical data, including outposting ABS officers and providing training on statistical standards, frameworks and methodologies

Under section 6(c) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975, a key function for the ABS is to improve coordination of the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics produced by other official bodies.

In accordance with the Act, the ABS continues to develop the concept of the National Statistical Service by broadening the concept of ABS statistical responsibilities to include not only statistics collected by the ABS, but also data produced or available from other government and non-government agencies. The ABS provides leadership to Commonwealth and state agencies in making better use of their administrative data so that it can provide another source of quality data for statistical purposes. The ABS encourages agencies to adopt a holistic approach to improving the quality of statistics available to users through the application of similar methodologies to administrative and statistical data.

One of the ways the ABS achieves its objective of providing leadership is by outposting statistical officers to state/territory and Commonwealth Government departments and agencies with a view to facilitating the access to, and the understanding of, statistics, and strengthening statistical coordination across these bodies. Seven Commonwealth agencies were assisted by nine outposted statistical officers during 2001-02. ABS regional offices provide outposted officers, usually in the form of short term secondments, to give statistical and technical assistance in particular projects undertaken by state/territory governments. In most regional offices, state/territory government agencies were assisted by outposted ABS officers in 2001-02.

Table 5: ABS OUTPOSTED OFFICERS, 2001-02

Long term
Short term

Commonwealth
9
-
State
7
22



Examples of new partnerships with Commonwealth, state and local government agencies to identify and utilise a greater range of administrative data currently under way are:
  • the development of experimental estimates of wage and salary earners in regions of Australia for the first time using unidentifiable Australian Taxation Office individual income tax return data;
  • assessments of state agency data holdings in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, including datasets about transition of youth to adulthood (South Australia); supported accommodation assistance (Northern Territory); and road safety (Tasmania);
  • identification of data sources in priority policy areas including a study of the Western Australia resource industry; and sources of regional statistics (New South Wales);
  • undertaking joint research with the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) to analyse labour and income dynamics using unidentifiable customer records in the FaCS’ databanks, and to assess the suitability of the data and the metadata for analytical applications; and
  • a project working with Commonwealth and state/territory government agencies to assist them to implement statistical protocols prepared by the ABS, aimed at improving the quality and comparability of administrative data.

Some of the key achievements in assisting state/territory government agencies through statistical consultation, statistical analysis, modelling of existing ABS or client data, and statistical training or seminars for clients and users, during the year included:
  • the conduct of various household surveys including Crime and Safety (New South Wales); Teleworking (New South Wales); and Safety in the Home (Queensland); as well as assistance with the development and conduct of a Survey of Aboriginal Child Health (Western Australia);
  • assistance to the states with strategic indicator projects including a framework for indicators of regional wellbeing for Growing Victoria Together; and statistical information management for Tasmania Together; and
  • statistical analysis including Perth housing density; gross value of Western Australia fisheries; small area measures on non-standard census districts (New South Wales); and estimations for the Survey of Recreational Fishing (New South Wales).


Performance Measure 4.3: Identifying, storing, and disseminating statistics from other official bodies

As part of its commitment to provide an expanded and improved national statistical service, the ABS plays a significant role in identifying, storing and disseminating statistics from other official bodies.

The release of Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0) details changes to the scope of ABS business frames and the effect that has on economic statistics, resulting from tax reform related developments. The changes were implemented in June 2002.

A number of information papers were released in 2001-02 detailing the uses of, and experimental estimates arising from, the combination of Australian Taxation Office data with ABS data. These papers were:
  • Information Paper: The Use of Individual Income Taxpayer Data for ABS Regional Statistics - Wage and Salary Indicators for Small Areas (cat. no. 5673.0);
  • Information Paper: Use of Business Income Tax Data for Regional Small Business Statistics - Experimental Estimates, Selected Regions, Australia (cat. no. 5675.0); and
  • Information Paper: Experimental Estimates, Australian Industry, a State Perspective (cat. no. 8156.0).

The Integrated Regional Data Base (IRDB), Australia (cat. no. 1353.0), provides clients with access to a broad range of information about Australia’s regions. The Integrated Regional Data Base (IRDB) contains over 15,000 data items of which over 1,900 are sourced from 34 non-ABS statistical series. In the year 2001-02 the IRDB was expanded with the inclusion of several new data series, two of which are on land use and salinity risk from the National Land and Water Resources Audit, and updates to existing data on agriculture, income, health and aged care.

In 2001-02 the New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory ABS Regional Offices published updates of Regional Statistics (cat. nos 1362.1-8 series) bringing together data from a large range of sources.

The ABS has established a number of National Centres covering specific areas of statistical activity. The Centres coordinate data collection activities within the ABS, and across other public agencies, and provide a statistical service which includes provision of statistical information, training of data providers, advice on statistical standards and development of quality control procedures.

National Centres have been established for:
  • rural and regional statistics;
  • education and training statistics;
  • crime and justice statistics;
  • culture and recreation statistics; and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics.

Some of the key achievements of the National Centres during 2001-02 were:
  • the development of a framework for education and training statistics;
  • the release of a standard classification for use in the collection, storage and dissemination of statistical and administrative educational activity data;
  • the release of industry, product and occupation classifications for the culture and leisure sectors; and
  • commencement of the production of an Information Development Plan for rural and regional statistics and the subsequent development of a statistical framework.

In recent years, the ABS has also produced a range of statistical directories to provide users with information on sources of statistics (both from the public and private sectors) for particular topics. Such directories include:
  • agriculture and rural statistics;
  • electricity, gas, water and sewerage statistics;
  • superannuation related statistics;
  • industrial relations;
  • education and training;
  • Census statistics;
  • child and family statistics;
  • energy;
  • tourism;
  • mining; and
  • transport.

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