1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics, Jun 2010  
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Geography Portal

ASGS: Final information paper on the design of new statistical areas

NatStats 2010

How Fit is Your Data?

List of all Articles in this issue

About Us/Contact Us

How to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter


On 19 March 2010, a new geography portal was released on the ABS website. This will aid users of ABS data to more easily find information about statistical geography. The Geography portal contains information about the current and future statistical geography used by the ABS, links to information that will assist in using statistics, such as classifications and digital boundaries, and 'Frequently Asked Questions'.

The geography portal is the place to find up-to-date information about the changes to statistical geography that will occur in 2011.The ABS primarily uses the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) and Census geographic areas for the dissemination of statistics, but from July 2011, the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) will replace the ASGC.

The Geography Portal can be accessed from the 'Geography' link under the 'Classifications' heading in the 'Methods and Standards' section of the ABS website. The 'Methods and Standards' link is found in the top menu bar of the ABS website home page.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics intends to replace the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) with effect from July 2011.

The ABS has recently released the third and final information paper designed to explain aspects of the ASGS, Australian Statistical Geography Standard: Design of the Statistical Areas Level 4, Capital Cities and Statistical Areas Level 3, May 2010 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.003). The purpose of this paper is to provide background to stakeholders regarding the Statistical Area 3s (SA3s) and 4s (SA4s) of the ASGS to facilitate consultation on their design. The paper also contains information about Capital Cities and time series.

Further input on the design of these geographies is being sought from users and submissions should be made to the ABS by no later than 5pm EST, 2 July 2010. Submissions should be sent to geography@abs.gov.au, using the words 'ASGS submission' in the title of the e-mail.

For background information on the changes to ABS geography please refer to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard section of the Geography Portal.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics is pleased to announce that Dr Ken Henry, Secretary to the Treasury, will be providing the opening Plenary address at the upcoming NatStats 2010 Conference.

Other key note speakers include Ms Martine Durand, Chief Statistician and Director of the OECD Statistics Directorate, and Mr Phil Lowe, Assistant Governor (Economic) of the Reserve Bank of Australia, who will be examining some of the changes we can expect to witness in the global economy over the next 50 years. The Hon. Dr Geoff Gallop AC, Director of the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney, will also deliver a presentation at the conference focused around improving the wellbeing of Australians.

NatStats 2010 is an initiative of the National Statistical Service and will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, from 15 - 17 September 2010.

NatStats 2010 will bring together an array of leaders and high profile commentators, researchers and policy makers from all levels of government, academia, community and business. The conference was initiated to assist in the development of a collaborative approach to national statistics. It focuses on various issues surrounding quantitative and qualitative research, which have been highlighted by key government initiatives.

The overall theme of this year's conference is "Measuring what counts: economic development, wellbeing and progress in 21st century Australia". Delegates will discuss issues surrounding various topics including;

1. Challenges facing Australian society: issues, policy and information.

2. Australia in the global economy. Do we measure up?

3. Improving Australian's wellbeing.

4. Measuring progress: from theory to practice.

NatStats 2010 will build on the success of the first NatStats conference held in 2008, where around 480 delegates attended. A major outcome of the 2008 conference was the tabling of a statistical declaration to guide the development of a national statistical strategy for Australia in the 21st century.

An exciting program is being developed and will address a range of issues regarding national statistics. If you would like any further information, please email natstats@nss.gov.au.


Over the past few years, the call has been put out for public policies to be informed by good evidence. Statistical information is now answering that call. Statistical information has long been recognised as being good evidence, which places it at the heart of evidence-based policy.

So, how do we get "good statistical information"? One answer is DATAfitness.

DATAfitness = good data management practice.

Good data management is one of the foundation stones for building a solid statistical resource for Australia. In simple terms, DATAfitness symbolises the ability to compare apples with apples or being able to compare data which has similar characteristics.

The National Statistical Service (NSS), a community of government agencies led by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), is promoting good data management practices through its DATAfitness program. DATAfitness encourages the use of statistical frameworks, principles and resources which can help data providers and users to realise the benefits of good data management.

The three key elements of DATAfitness are:
  • Metadata Management, which describes what data is about and where it comes from. Adding metadata about data is essential for bringing data sets together and comparing information from different sources.
  • Data Quality, which describes data's "fitness for purpose". Data has a range of dimensions which must be understood to determine whether or not data is "fit for purpose" or, put simply, whether it can be used for the desired purpose.
  • Data Sharing, which describes sharing information as an important part of maximising data use and re-use. Data sharing arrangements ease the sharing of data between providers and users and support evidence-based policy and decision-making.

As part of its DATAfitness program, the NSS has developed Data Quality Online (DQO), an easy-to-use online support system for data collectors, providers and users.

DQO is the first assistant of its kind in the world and will provide clear and simple support to those involved in managing data. The system will help users to compile data quality statements and will also provide tailored guidance on statements for indicators used by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The NSS will officially launch DQO in the second half of 2010, in conjunction with the ABS. DQO is based on the nationally recognised ABS Data Quality Framework, which provides a consistent standard for describing the quality of data.

A preliminary version of DQO was released in March 2010, specifically for the purposes of the latest round of COAG National Agreement reporting. For further information on DQO or to take a look at the prototype, visit the NSS website.

The NSS has also released A good practice guide to sharing your data with others. The guide supports quality data sharing across agencies by offering a non-technical introduction and by providing a basic model for making data sharing agreements, which includes factors to consider and how these relate to agencies, staff and data.

For more information on DATAfitness, visit www.nss.gov.au/datafitness or email inquiries@nss.gov.au .


2011 Census of Population and Housing

A Socio-Economic Context for the Murray-Darling Basin

Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2008-09

Australian Statistical Geography Standard: Design of the Statistical Areas Level 4, Capital Cities and Statistical Areas Level 3, May 2010

Australian Wine and Grape Industry, 2009

Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Time Series, 2003-04 to 2006-07

National Regional Profile

Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2008-09

Wage and Salary Earner Statistics for Small Areas, Time Series, 2003-04 to 2006-07

Water Use on Australian Farms


'What's New in Regional Statistics' is produced by the Rural and Regional Statistics National Centre of the ABS. This newsletter has been prepared as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Regional Statistics Program, to improve the availability of regional and small area data by leading the development of regional statistics and co-ordinating their dissemination. More information is available on the ABS Regional Statistics theme page.

Please send your comments or queries regarding this newsletter to regional.statistics@abs.gov.au or telephone (08) 8237 7350.

If you would like further information or data, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or e-mail client.services@abs.gov.au.


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