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1100.2 - Statistics Victoria, June Qtr 2009  
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Community Indicators Summit: Measuring the Progress of Australian Communities
22-23 July 2009, Brisbane

The Summit will provide a unique opportunity for those interested in community based indicators to share learnings, exchange ideas and strategies and report on advancements in the field of community indicators in Australia and internationally.

The Summit aims to:
1. Promote a more coordinated, coherent and consistent approach to the development of community indicators across Australia;
2. Establish a national network of community indicators practitioners as part of an evolving National Statistical Service;
3. Engage community indicator practitioners with on going development of the Australian Bureau of Statistics publication, Measures of Australia's Progress;

A feature of the conference program will be practical workshops to explore current issues in the development and application of Community Indicators. The Summit is being held in cooperation with the OECD-hosted “Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies”. The Summit Outcomes and Declaration will be presented at the 3rd World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge, Policy - "Charting Progress, Building Visions, Improving Life" , which is being held in Busan, Korea from October 27-30, 2009, and which is a key milestone in the Global Project.

ABS adopts Creative Commons licensing

ABS has introduced Creative Commons (CC) licensing for most of the content on its website. This will lessen restrictions on use of free data from the website considerably by changing copyright from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved". In effect, what the ABS is asking is only that it be acknowledged as the source of data. People are free to re-use, build upon and distribute our data, even commercially. This makes a wealth of data readily available to the community, researchers and business, facilitating innovative research and development projects based on quality statistics, and promoting wider use of statistics in the community, which is one of our core objectives.

The change was achieved through the release of a new copyright statement on 18 December 2008, and the addition of CC metadata to the footer of each page of the website on 19 December 2008. Creative Commons offers flexible copyright management for all types of creative work, by providing free tools that allow authors to mark their work with the freedoms they want it to carry. This encourages collaboration and innovation in the further use of CC licensed information, while still offering legal protection to the original author. CC metadata can also be used by search applications to assist people in discovering appropriately licensed information.

If you have any questions about Creative Commons or ABS licensing generally, please email: <intermediary.management@abs.gov.au>.

What is statistical literacy?
Statistical Literacy
In today's information-rich society, we encounter statistical information on a daily basis, ranging from unemployment rates, retail figures and cancer rates, to football ladders and cricket scores. Statistics tell interesting stories and enable us to make sense of the world. Statistics are essential for research, planning and decision-making purposes.

While it may be the issues rather than the statistics that grab people's attention, it should be recognised that it is the statistics that inform the issues. Being statistically literate means being equipped/having the ability to accurately understand, interpret and evaluate the data that inform these issues. A lack of statistical literacy can result in misunderstandings and misrepresentation of data which can lead not only to erroneous conclusions, but a mistrust of statistics themselves.

If you are uncomfortable with using statistics, you are not alone. Many people shy away from using statistics because of their perceived complexity. People may not know where to look to find the information they need, be unfamiliar with the terminology, or lack confidence in their ability to make sense of the numbers.

You do not have to be a maths expert to work with statistics! Numeracy implies a basic competence in mathematics, a basic understanding of numbers and figures. It is certainly a prerequisite to being statistically literate, but statistical literacy is not about being adept at formulating or understanding the methodology behind numbers. Statistical literacy requires a basic understanding of statistical concepts and is the ability to interpret the numbers and express that understanding in words.

Statistics may be presented in different ways, including tables, graphs, maps or text, or through numbers and symbols; they are not scary or boring if you know what they mean. For someone to be considered statistically literate, they need to be comfortable and competent with all of these forms. There are several concepts that recur throughout the literature on statistical literacy. These fall into four key areas and can be considered in a practical manner as ‘criteria’ on which to base statistical literacy:

  1. Data awareness
  2. The ability to understand statistical concepts
  3. The ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate statistical information
  4. The ability to communicate statistical information and understandings

If you would like to know more about statistical literacy, check out: What is statistical literacy and why is it important to be statistically literate? as featured in Tasmanian State and Regional Indicators, Mar 2009 (cat. no. 1307.6).Measuring Victoria's Population

Population estimates are one of the major outputs of any national statistical office. While population can be simply defined, such as the 'total number of persons living in an area', the concepts associated with its measurement are usually complex. In Australia, there are several legislative requirements for the production of population estimates. The key population measure is estimated resident population (ERP), which is defined in terms of the number of people who usually live within Australia and its states and territories. ERP is used in determining the number of seats each state/territory has in the House of Representatives and as the relative distributional basis for Commonwealth grants to states/territories and local government authorities. It is also critical input for a wide range of planning and policy decisions.

The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing is the basis for ERP. Between Censuses, ERP is calculated by aging the base population and then adjusting for subsequent components (i.e. births, deaths, overseas migration and interstate migration) of population growth. This method, known as the 'cohort component method', is used to produce state level population estimates on a quarterly basis.

Below state level, ERP is widely used by all levels of government, as well as business and community. Estimates are produced on an annual basis for statistical local areas (SLAs), which build up to higher levels of geography such as local government areas and statistical divisions. There are no reliable sources of migration data at the SLA level, making it very difficult to estimate SLA population between Censuses using the cohort component method. Instead, mathematical models, which establish relationships between changes in population and changes in population indicator data between the two most recent Censuses for groups of SLAs, are used. Post-censal changes in these indicators are used to estimate changes in the population of SLAs for the years following the most recent Census.

More detail about how the ABS derives ERP, and the role of the Victorian regional office in producing these estimates, is in a feature article 'Measuring Victoria's Population' published in the March quarter 2009 issue of State and Regional Indicators, Victoria (cat. no. 1367.2).

ABS Community Services Survey 2008-09

ABS is planning to conduct a survey of selected Community Service industries in August 2009, and will seek data in respect of the 2008-09 financial year. The survey was last conducted in respect of 1999-00, and data released in Community Services, Australia, 1999-2000 (cat. no. 8696.0).

Results from the 2008-09 survey will provide key financial and activity measures on community services in Australia, and be used by government and industry analysts to address policy issues relating to the community services sector. Data from this survey are expected to be available in mid-2010.

The survey questionnaire will be despatched in August 2009 to a representative sample of organisations in both the government and non-government sectors (including for-profit and not-for-profit organisations) involved in the provision of community services. These services include: child care; aged accommodation, and other residential and non-residential care; personal and social support; financial and material assistance; job placement and support for persons with disabilities; and group advocacy services.

Cooperation of public and private sector organisations in providing information for this survey is essential for ABS to produce accurate and timely results, and maximise the relevance of these statistics. ABS greatly appreciates the time and effort required to make an effective contribution to this survey.

Further information contact William Milne, Assistant Director, Annual Integrated Collections, ABS Victoria on (03) 9615 7862.

Energy, Water and Environment Survey 2008-09

ABS is pleased to advise that we have secured financial support for the Energy, Water and Environment Survey (previously referred to as the Environment Management Survey) to proceed for the 2008-09 year. ABS received valuable feedback from many interested parties and have carefully considered their needs and priorities in developing the survey. In August 2009, approximately 15,000 Australian businesses will receive an Energy, Water and Environment survey form. Survey results will be publicly available on the ABS website from May 2010, and used to inform government, industry and the research community on issues relating to energy and water use and management, environmental management and innovation by Australian businesses.

Once again, ABS appreciate the input and effort by many to get to this point. For further information contact Sarah Coleman ph (02) 6252 7715 or email <environment@abs.gov.au>.
Victorian Statistics Advisory Forum of 24 June 2009

The Victorian Statistics Advisory Forum (VSAF) met on 24 June 2009, marking the second meeting for the new Chair, Ms Mary Cavar, Department of Treasury and Finance.

Ms Mary-Anne Thomas was welcomed as the new member for the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), with Mr Frank Maas, previously representing DPC, thanked for his contribution to the forum.

Mr Carl Obst (Regional Director, ABS Victoria) provided an overview of recent ABS activity, noting:
  • As part of the recent Federal Budget, ABS secured an additional $15m annually in Government appropriation. This has resulted in the reinstatement, continuation and enhancement of several survey programs. In addition, the ABS has secured funding for two new programs and Census operational costs.
  • There has been a very good response to the ABS's call for Victorian Statistical Projects this year, with some innovative and challenging topics raised. Further discussion with agencies and ABS program areas are now required to take these projects forward.

At the previous meeting, there was agreement that the Victorian Statistics Advisory Forum will meet on a quarterly basis, going forward. For the remainder of 2009, meetings are scheduled for October 8 and December 10. Mr Chris Chan was welcomed as the new Department of Primary Industries member and departing member Mr William Fisher was thanked for his contribution.

For further information contact Pam Boulton on (03) 9615 7880 or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au>.

Reviewing Statistics Victoria and State and Regional Indicators, Victoria

The Victorian Statistical Coordination Branch is reviewing the dissemination strategy for two ABS web publications: Statistics Victoria, Newsletter (cat. no. 1100.2) and State and Regional Indicators, Victoria (cat. no. 1367.2). Over the next six months, the review will consider the purpose, intended audience, content, scope, structure, format, delivery mediums, method of release, timing, production processes and resources for the two publications. It will explore options and propose new solutions for the dissemination of state and regional statistics for Victoria that are more cost effective to produce, and more relevant to clients. The review will consult with users and take advantage of the changed ABS web environment to address user requirements. During the review, State and Regional Indicators, Victoria (cat. no. 1367.2) will continue in a quarterly web-based e-magazine format.

For further information contact Steve Gelsi on (03) 9615 7590 or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au>.

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