Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4700.0 - ABS Directions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Jun 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/06/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

3. KEY STRATEGIC AREAS FOR NEW OR ENHANCED STATISTICAL ACTIVITY

Known priorities for development of Indigenous information are broadly grouped into the following six key strategic areas:

  • Engagement
  • Understanding and measuring Indigenous wellbeing
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth
  • Indigenous engagement in economic activity
  • Improved reporting and analysis of comparisons over time
  • Regional data: improved capacity to support regional and small area analysis

These key strategic areas are discrete, yet inform and build upon each other. A strong foundation of Engagement with Indigenous communities and other stakeholders will enhance the ABS's work in Understanding and Measuring Indigenous Wellbeing. In turn, a greater understanding of 'wellbeing' for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians will support the development of indicators for Early Intervention and Resilience. A greater understanding of 'wellbeing' at the community level may contribute to analysis and reporting of Indigenous Engagement in Economic Activity. Finally, developments in the preceding key areas may enrich the Reporting and Analysis of Comparisons Over Time, and Regional and Small Area Analysis.

The ABS aims for better use of existing data wherever possible. There is scope for the collection of new data within some of the key priorities described in this document, particularly in the areas of Early Intervention and Resilience and Understanding and Measuring Indigenous Wellbeing. Other key strategic directions remain focussed on enhancing the value of existing data and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of current data collection and analysis activities.

3.1 ENGAGEMENT

3.1.1 The ABS will continue to build on its strategies for engaging with Indigenous communities, policy makers, researchers and other users of Indigenous statistics, in order to maximise the relevance and value of the ABS's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics program, and to encourage accurate interpretation of results.

3.1.2 Future initiatives will focus on two broad areas - engagement with Indigenous people and communities, and engagement with governments and the research community.

Engagement with Indigenous people and communities

Current activities

3.1.3 In 2004, the ABS established an Indigenous Community Engagement Strategy, the centrepiece of which is the recruitment of state/territory based Indigenous Engagement Managers (IEMs). With the support of the ABS state/territory regional offices and the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS), the IEMs:
  • Provide an ongoing communication channel between the ABS and Indigenous communities and organisations (both discrete communities and community groups).
  • Fulfil the role of State Indigenous Managers in the Census and undertake a dissemination role, returning user-friendly information to communities and Indigenous organisations for their own purposes.
  • Promote ABS products and services, and provide training and advice to Indigenous communities and organisations on the use of statistical information for their own purposes.
  • Provide feedback to the ABS on community-level data users' information needs and interests.
  • Assist in the development of appropriate collection methodologies and contribute to the successful conduct of ABS Indigenous surveys and, for discrete communities, the ABS Monthly Population Survey.
  • Support data analysis and validation processes with community-level local knowledge.
  • Undertake consultation and follow-up in regard to business surveys.
  • Provide a 'mentor' in ABS regional offices for entry-level Indigenous staff, such as Indigenous cadets or Indigenous people recruited to the ABS permanent household interviewer panel or as census collectors.

Future directions

3.1.4 Through the Indigenous Community Engagement Strategy the ABS expects to build its understanding of, and better manage, issues such as respondent burden among Indigenous people. It will also assist the ABS to make data available to Indigenous people in more accessible formats, and where needed, ensure that appropriate assistance is provided in the interpretation of Indigenous statistics. It is hoped that through these efforts, and through support for research on Indigenous topics, the ABS will be able to assist in building statistical and research capacity among Indigenous people.


3.1.5 The ABS recognises that ongoing engagement with Indigenous communities is a whole-of-government activity. ABS engagement strategies should be responsive to the role and activities of other agencies, and ABS engagement practices within communities should coordinate with those other agencies where appropriate. In addition, the ABS is well-positioned to take a lead role in the development of 'best practice' principles for whole-of-government approaches to engagement with Indigenous communities on statistical issues.


Engagement with governments and the research community

Current activities

3.1.6 As noted above, the ABS has established the Advisory Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (AGATSIS) to assist in obtaining feedback and advice from the user community on current and planned developments in the ABS relating to Indigenous statistics activities. It is anticipated that the group will provide the ABS with wide ranging and cross-sectoral advice on Indigenous statistics development.


3.1.7 The purpose of the group, as described in the terms of reference for AGATSIS is:

  • To provide advice to the ABS on the strategic directions of its program of Indigenous statistics.
  • To identify data gaps and areas requiring improvement; and advise on proposed strategies for improvement.
  • To provide the ABS with user perspectives on contemporary and emerging Indigenous policy issues requiring a statistical response.
  • To provide views and advice on developmental work being undertaken by the ABS on Indigenous statistics, recognising the broader context for development activities that include the work of national committees and Commonwealth and State/Territory agencies.
  • To provide advice on strategies for liaison and engagement with Indigenous communities.

Membership has been drawn from Commonwealth government agencies, State and Territory agencies, Indigenous peak bodies and Indigenous data working groups and other research bodies.


3.1.8 The ABS also contributes to whole-of-government activities that draw on the available statistics to report on the circumstances of Indigenous people. A key focus has been, and will continue to be, the provision of support for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reporting process. These reports draw together jurisdictional information from various sources and have quickly become, since the first biennial report in 2003, a key reference on social and economic conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The ABS is a major contributor of material and analysis published in the OID reports.


3.1.9 The ABS currently works with the following forums, all of which ensure their activities are consistent with the COAG reporting processes:

  • The National Advisory Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data (NAGATSIHID - Health).
  • The National Committee for Housing Information (NCHI - Housing).
  • The Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs Performance Monitoring and Reporting Taskforce (MCEETYA - Education).
  • The Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (MCATSIA) sub groups (Indigenous affairs generally).

3.1.10 Through the above processes, and many other arrangements, the ABS works with Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies in collecting, compiling, analysing and publishing a wide range of data on Indigenous people. In particular, the biennial report: The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, (ABS cat. no. 4704.0) jointly produced with the AIHW, is well established as an authoritative and comprehensive compendium on Indigenous health and welfare data.


3.1.11 The full range of ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistical publications are available from the ABS website free of charge. The ABS provides fee-based support services for data users via the Information Consultancy Service, and provides advice to researchers on survey design and data analysis via the Statistical Consultancy Service. In addition to these services, the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) supports users of ABS Indigenous data, provides more detailed analysis of ABS Indigenous data on a consultancy basis and fulfils a leadership and coordination role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistical activity. Research organisations are also able to purchase access to Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) of ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surveys, with specified conditions for use.


Future directions

3.1.12 ABS Indigenous statistics have been used extensively by the research sector for a number of years, with the statistics forming a key component of many significant reports. The ABS has working relationships with the research sector and makes considerable use of various experts in development and review of Indigenous statistical activity. The ABS also engages the research sector directly in analysing and publishing ABS data (e.g. several major pieces of work have resulted from the Australian Census Analytical Program). These relationships will continue into the future, and will be expanded as new opportunities arise.


3.1.13 The National Data Network (NDN) has considerable potential as the platform for raising awareness of Indigenous Statistics. The NDN initiative promotes improved integration and consistent systems across government by facilitating greater collaboration between data providers and faster and consistent access to data. The NDN will deliver significant value and benefits to:

  • Government agencies, by sharing development costs.
  • Policy makers, by supporting efficient access to data.
  • Researchers, by articulating clear and consistent access protocols.
  • The community, by improving outcomes from government policies.

Data Custodians have access to a range of web based services, protocols, procedures and tools to assist them to more efficiently manage and share data in a way that ensures security and privacy. The ABS is the lead agency in developing the National Data Network.


3.1.14 The ABS acknowledges the importance of building research capacity among Indigenous people, and will work with the research sector to find appropriate ways that the ABS can support activities directed towards this aim.


3.2 UNDERSTANDING AND MEASURING INDIGENOUS WELLBEING

3.2.1 In understanding and measuring the wellbeing of Indigenous individuals and communities in Australia, it is important to take a holistic approach that encompasses strengths and capacities as well as needs. In order to develop reliable indicators of social and emotional wellbeing, this concept must first be adequately defined, from an Indigenous perspective as well as a policy perspective.


3.2.2 Australian policy makers are recognising the importance of culturally appropriate social and emotional wellbeing measures in various areas, such as planning for community development and sustainability and assessing mental health needs and program effectiveness. Achieving a better understanding of what constitutes social and emotional wellbeing for Indigenous peoples, and developing appropriate indicators to measure this, is also a priority issue within international spheres such as the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Peoples.


3.2.3 Alongside the development of such wellbeing indicators, the ABS recognises the importance of measuring and reporting on areas of disadvantage and poor outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The extent and effects of grief and trauma, family violence, self-harm and other such issues affecting many Indigenous communities must also be measured and reported, in order to support policy development and service delivery for overcoming Indigenous disadvantage. However, the sensitivity of these issues, and the potential impact of their inclusion in household surveys on the wellbeing of survey respondents, on overall response rates and on ongoing relationships with Indigenous communities and stakeholders, warrant careful consideration.


Current Activities

3.2.4 A survey module on social and emotional wellbeing was developed in collaboration with National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO) and implemented in the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey . A comprehensive evaluation of the module, conducted by the ABS and AIHW under NAGATSIHID, in consultation with NACCHO and other Indigenous data stakeholders, was undertaken in 2006.


3.2.5 Using these and other available data, the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is explored in publications such as the joint ABS / AIHW publication The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2005 (ABS cat. no. 4704.0).

Future Directions

3.2.6 The ABS will develop a framework for the measurement of Indigenous wellbeing, in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders. This will involve the review of existing frameworks, concepts and measures and the formation of indicators for relevant concepts, which could include (though are not limited to):

  • Sources of support, resilience and coping mechanisms, at the individual and community levels.
  • Community leadership, governance, capacities, participation and social capital.
  • Functional family relationships.
  • Access to land, language, culture and recreation.
  • Mental and spiritual health, as well as physical health.
  • Access to adequate and appropriate housing, living standards and environmental health.
  • Financial wellbeing.
  • Social and emotional wellbeing.

3.2.7 The ABS publication, Measuring Wellbeing: Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics (cat. no. 4160.0) outlines the value and functions of statistical frameworks as follows:

"There can be no single measure of wellbeing that satisfies all parties interested in helping people improve their lives. Rather, a range of measures needs to be available to researchers, policy makers, welfare providers and other community groups and members who will select from this range to inform their own particular issues of interest. Frameworks are a well-recognised tool used to support statistical measurement, data analysis and analytical commentary. A primary function of a framework is to 'map' the conceptual terrain surrounding an area of interest, such as 'wellbeing'. In other words, frameworks can define the scope of inquiry, delineate the important concepts associated with a topic and organise this into a logical structure."

3.2.8 Work on developing a framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing will be undertaken in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous researchers and other stakeholders, and will also be informed by national and international examples, such as the COAG Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reporting framework, New Zealand's Statistical Framework for Maori Wellbeing, and workshops through the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) on Indicators of Indigenous Wellbeing.

3.2.9 Guided by this Framework, the ABS will integrate a greater 'wellbeing-focus' into its Indigenous collections. This will entail a greater effort to identify strengths and capacities, alongside indicators of disadvantage and need.

3.2.10 In addressing stakeholder needs for data on more sensitive issues (such as family violence), the ABS will focus on the improvement and use of existing data from administrative and other sources that may serve to meet needs in this area and will continue to investigate the feasibility of Indigenous household surveys as a vehicle for collection of such information.

3.3 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CHILDREN AND YOUTH

3.3.1 Information available on the social circumstances of Indigenous people highlights significant disadvantage across a range of areas, including education, health, housing and crime. To address this, policy makers are focussing on preventative models that seek to identify areas for positive intervention and build upon existing strengths, whether they are at the individual or community level. This has led to a particular focus on interventions that help to build healthy children and youth, and strong resilient communities. Positive interventions in the antenatal stages and the early years of life can strengthen the foundations for successful life pathways, especially in health, education and work.

3.3.2 Three of the seven strategic areas for action identified by the COAG Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reporting framework relate to childhood development and transition issues: Early childhood development and growth; Early school engagement and performance; and Positive childhood and transition to adulthood. Work is needed to continue to develop the information base in this area, so that suitable indicators can be developed and used to monitor change. These data can also inform the provision of services (including education, disability, antenatal services, health and child-care) to special target groups such as Indigenous parents, children and young people.

3.3.3 Through its Indigenous Generational Reform initiative, COAG has reaffirmed the commitment of Australian governments to closing the outcomes gap between Indigenous people and other Australians over a generation and has resolved that the initial priority for joint action should be on ensuring that young Indigenous children get a good start in life. In April 2007, COAG agreed that urgent action was required to address data gaps to enable reliable evaluation of progress and transparent national and jurisdictional reporting on outcomes. COAG also agreed to establish a jointly-funded clearing house for reliable evidence.

Current Activities

3.3.4 Current activities and sources of information about Indigenous children and youth, their families and communities include the five yearly Census of Population and Housing, the six yearly NATSIHS, other surveys such as the WA Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS) and administrative collections. A wide range of administrative data covering health and education are published by the ABS, the AIHW and DEST.

Future Directions

3.3.5 In consultation with stakeholders, the ABS will explore how its existing collection and analytical program could incorporate more information on children and youth. It will seek advice on the feasibility of collecting additional data on young people through the Indigenous surveys in the ABS household survey program. Activities include:
  • Assessing the feasibility of collecting information on children for the next National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS).
  • Exploring the feasibility of expanding the range of questions on children's health issues in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS).
  • Through the extensive consultative program associated with the range of Information Development Plans developed by the ABS, and working with stakeholders across governments and the research community, seeking opportunities to improve the range and quality of data to support analysis of early intervention and resilience. This could include:
      • Data on access to, and use of, services for Indigenous children and their families, such as child care, early education, sports and recreational activities and access to technologies.
      • Data on the wellbeing of Indigenous children through measures such as cognitive and emotional development, physical health, housing, growth and nutrition, parenting, parental stressors and coping, and sources of support.
      • Data on Indigenous youth through measures such as mental health, social networks and relationships, use of welfare and legal services, and risk factors such as substance abuse.
      • Better estimates of young Indigenous people in Vocational Education and Training (VET), higher education and employment.
      • Improved estimates and small area data on children and youth living in regional and remote Australia.

3.4 INDIGENOUS ENGAGEMENT IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

3.4.1 The Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs and the National Indigenous Council have identified "building Indigenous wealth, employment and entrepreneurial culture..." as an area for priority action. There is little data on Indigenous economic activity currently available and the ABS continues to look at how information in this area might be developed. There is also increasing interest in the different types of corporate arrangements relating to and impacting on Indigenous economic activity and Indigenous labour market participation. Once again, relatively little statistical information about these arrangements is currently available.

Current Activities

3.4.2 Current activities being undertaken by ABS include:
  • The main focus of ABS statistics on the economic activity of Indigenous people has been on labour force and income data from the Census of Population and Housing and household surveys, with a limited amount of information on self-employment available through the Census.
  • Since March 2001 the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) has included the standard Indigenous identifier to enable Indigenous results to be produced on an annual basis. Experimental estimates of the labour force characteristics of Indigenous people for 2002 to 2004 were released in January 2006 and results for 2005 and onwards have since been released on an annual basis.
  • Through its economic surveys program, the ABS has collected some statistics on businesses engaged in the sale of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts, including the value of artworks sold, business costs and levels of employment. With these data, the ABS has contributed to work auspiced by the Cultural Ministers Ministerial Council to assess the value of Indigenous cultural product.
  • The ABS is currently collaborating with Northern Territory Government agencies in a project on Indigenous business activity, looking at how this integrates with the broader notion of Indigenous economic participation, particularly at the local, community level.
  • The ABS is assessing the feasibility of using existing data sources to extract or derive information about Indigenous economic activity, Indigenous businesses and the participation of Indigenous people in the Australian economy.

Future Directions

3.4.3 The ABS will position itself to understand, and respond to, emerging needs for Indigenous economic and business statistics through:
  • Exploratory work with prospective users to develop a framework for measuring Indigenous economic activity, identifying specific needs and concepts for measurement. These issues may include:
      • measuring and understanding economic resources available to remote Indigenous communities
      • the characteristics and activities of incorporated Indigenous organisations
      • community-level governance and business leadership
  • Assessment of the outcomes of the NT collaborative project on Indigenous business activity, to identify opportunities for measurement of Indigenous business activity across other jurisdictions and at a national level.
  • Analysis of 2006 Census Indigenous self employment data with the view to including these in COAG Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reporting; and providing them to the Ministerial Council on Small Business.
  • Further exploration of the potential use of external agency 'business' related administrative data.

3.5 IMPROVED REPORTING AND ANALYSIS OF COMPARISONS OVER TIME

3.5.1 A number of analytical efforts across the government and research sectors are directed at identifying and understanding changes over time in the economic and social circumstances of Indigenous Australians. Among these, the COAG biennial reports on Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (from 2003) have emphasised the vital importance of tracking changes in the socioeconomic circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in order to assess the effectiveness of government policy and interventions.

3.5.2 The ABS conducts Indigenous-specific surveys, such as the NATSISS and the NATSIHS, which are designed in consultation with Indigenous people, employ a sampling design that will produce reliable estimates of the circumstances of the Indigenous population and use culturally sensitive methodologies to facilitate the collection of meaningful, quality data about Indigenous households, families and communities.

3.5.3 The ABS will maintain an ongoing program of Indigenous-specific household surveys in order to provide high quality and relevant information that can be monitored over time. In addition, the ABS will explore options to enhance the comparability between Indigenous-specific surveys and standard household surveys of the general population.

3.5.4 While a strong platform now exists for measuring changes in Indigenous circumstances over time through ABS household surveys and the Census of Population and Housing, there remains a limit to the extent that such statistical movements can be interpreted as representing real change. This is due to uncertainties associated with varying levels of Indigenous identification over time and in different settings, and improvements in Indigenous enumeration practices and measurement techniques.

3.5.5 Since the representation of Indigenous people in Australia's total population is small (2.4% of the total population) and geographically dispersed, the sample design of most ABS household surveys does not currently allow for the production of useable estimates relating to the Indigenous population. The ABS will evaluate use of the Indigenous status question in standard household surveys in order to facilitate more effective use of data within and across these surveys. In addition to the cost of such measures and their impact on sample design, the consequent additional respondent burden on Indigenous people will be assessed.

3.5.6 There are a number of challenges in the compilation of administrative data; for example, Indigenous identification remains a challenge in collections such as death registrations, and without reliable coverage across all states, it is difficult to assess whether changes to death rates over time are due to changes in Indigenous mortality or variations in the identification of Indigenous status in registration data.

Current Activities

3.5.7 Current activities being undertaken by ABS include:
  • Continuation of the ABS Indigenous Community Engagement Strategy, and improvements to the Indigenous Enumeration Strategy for the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, sought to ensure that the best quality data were collected from Indigenous people. The data collected will support analysis of the changes in the characteristics of Indigenous Australians over time and assist in developing more accurate Indigenous population estimates.
  • Continuation of the ABS program of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surveys on a regular basis. This will build capacity to monitor the change in a range of social circumstances observed through the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Surveys (1994 and 2002 ); and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (2004-05) (which can be compared to the Indigenous sub-samples of the 1995 and 2001 National Health Surveys).
  • Continued publication of experimental estimates describing the labour force characteristics of Indigenous Australians will supplement data available from social surveys, and enable some analysis of annual movements.
  • Efforts within and outside the ABS to improve Indigenous identification in administrative collections, so that the quality of these collections continues to improve, and meaningful comparisons over time can be extended. Examples include:
      • The ABS Indigenous Mortality Data Strategy, which aims to improve the quality of Indigenous identification in death registrations through direct efforts with Registrars in states with lowest coverage rates, building relationships with relevant State government agencies to support these efforts, and education campaigns targeted at funeral directors, health workers and Indigenous communities.
      • The ABS Census Data Enhancement project includes a quality study to assess Indigenous identification - and levels of under-identification - in the collection of mortality data by bringing together data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing and death registrations. This quality study may reveal opportunities to improve Indigenous identification in deaths registrations and may also offer an opportunity to enhance the accuracy of Indigenous population estimates.
      • External efforts, such as NAGATSIHID's 2006-07 project to develop best practice guidelines for collecting and recording Indigenous status in administrative collections, in which the ABS is contributing as a steering committee member.
  • Subject to a feasibility investigation, the ABS intends to create a Statistical Longitudinal Data Set (SLDS) by combining Census of Population and Housing data over time, based on a 5% sample of persons. This will allow analysis of patterns in individual experiences over time and of factors influencing these experiences for the Australian population as a whole, including Indigenous people.

Future Directions

3.5.8 The ABS will continue to enhance existing survey collections and will support efforts to improve the quality of administrative collections so as to facilitate better measurement of change over time across a range of statistics, including births and deaths registration data, population estimates and projections, life expectancy, labour force characteristics, participation in education, and crime and justice statistics.

3.5.9 The ABS will continue its focus on activities to improve data for analysis of trends in the social conditions of Indigenous people, and will build on the existing statistical program as far as possible. Through its participation on NAGATSIHID and other forums, the ABS will continue to contribute to improvements in the measurement of health and mortality through collaborative work on collection methodology and the development of new analytical techniques. The ABS will continue to improve the quality of vital statistics collections and Indigenous population estimates and projections, giving particular focus to states where coverage is known to be low.

3.5.10 Through its collaboration with the AIHW, the ABS will be seeking ways to improve the analytical approach to Indigenous mortality data, extending the work recently published in the joint publication The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2005 (ABS cat. no. 4704.0).


3.6 REGIONAL DATA: IMPROVED CAPACITY TO SUPPORT REGIONAL AND SMALL AREA ANALYSIS

3.6.1 There is strong user demand for more comprehensive small area data about Indigenous Australians. Indigenous governance takes place at many levels, but local and community governance structures are particularly important in the context of the recent policy focus on developing community level Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs), the COAG 'whole of government' initiatives at community level and Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination-sponsored evaluations of selected communities.

3.6.2 Government and non-government agencies, in recognition of moves towards more localised planning, require information at regional and community level, along with data provided at broader geographical and State/Territory levels, to develop and evaluate targeted programs.

3.6.3 While the ABS may not be able to deliver regional and small area data to the level of detail desired by some stakeholders, due to confidentiality and privacy considerations, limitations on sample sizes and respondent burden constraints, it can assist Indigenous communities and researchers as well as government bodies in the best use of administrative and/or survey data available, and in collecting community-level data for their own use. The ABS has a leading role in the development and use of Indigenous statistical indicators and instruments, and is therefore well-positioned to support the application of ABS standards and the use of standard instruments for data collection at a local level.

Current Activities

3.6.4 Through its statistical program, the ABS provides national and state level population benchmarks. It disseminates a large amount of small area Census data free of charge through the ABS website, including a suite of Indigenous profiles that present a wealth of information at the community level.

Future Directions

3.6.5 The ABS will continue to engage with data users to monitor regional data needs and will explore innovative ways of improving availability of regional data, including:

  • Production of user friendly 'Indigenous community level' reports based on Census data.
  • Exploration/analysis of administrative data on a regional basis.
  • Exploration of experimental synthetic estimates for small areas.
  • Reviewing sampling strategies for Indigenous household surveys to better support sub-state outputs.
  • Inclusion of options for Indigenous data (e.g. Statistical Local Area Estimated Residential Populations) in ABS Regional Statistics output platforms.
  • Exploration of National Data Network (NDN) opportunities to disseminate regional data.
  • The provision of customised estimates and projections at the small-area level for specific purposes, on a consultancy basis.
  • Assisting Indigenous communities and researchers to collect community-level data, through the development and provision of indicator frameworks and standard instruments for Indigenous statistics.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.