Year Book Australia provides a comprehensive overview of the economic and social conditions of contemporary Australia. It is a statistically oriented publication with sufficient background information to establish a context for the statistics and to assist in understanding and interpreting them.
Many of the statistics are derived from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the official statistical agency which produces the Year Book. However, a great deal of the information is also contributed by other, predominantly government, organisations. The official nature of the contributors to the Year Book ensures a high degree of objectivity and reliability in the picture presented of contemporary Australia.
This current (87th) edition is the latest in a long series of Year Books extending back to the first edition in 1908. This series provides a valuable source of information on the state of Australia at any point in this period. In recent years, Year Books have had an underlying theme for the articles contained within. This edition of Year Book Australia has a number of articles which mark the centenary of the national statistical service, including a feature article which traces the development of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics and the ABS over the past 100 years. Other articles look at the history of some of the agency's major collections, including the population census and retail/consumer price indexes, and at some of the important uses made of ABS statistics in public administration. The opportunity is also taken in this edition of Year Book Australia to provide, where available, lengthy time series of key economic and demographic statistics, often stretching back 100 years.
Year Book Australia 2005 is also available on CD-ROM. The Year Book is also the source for Australia at a Glance (1309.0).
The contents pages at the beginning of the Year Book provide a guide to the broad subjects contained in each chapter. The index assists in locating information on more specific subjects. A list of articles which have appeared in the previous ten editions of Year Book Australia is contained at the end of this edition. A collection of articles is included in Australia Now on the ABS web site.
The tables and graphs in a chapter are numbered and the text is cross-referenced, as necessary, to the table or graph to which it relates.
While the statistics and descriptive information contained in the Year Book provide a comprehensive overview of Australia, they represent only a relatively small part of the statistics and other information available. The Year Book is aimed primarily at providing a ready and convenient source of reference, both to those familiar and unfamiliar with a particular subject. In other words, because of the range of subjects, and limitations on the size of the Year Book, it aims at breadth rather than depth of information.
For those requiring information in greater depth, the Year Book also serves as a directory to more detailed sources, with the source shown for each statistical table, graph and map. Where the ABS is the source, the title and catalogue number of the relevant publication are quoted. For other sources, the name of the organisation is shown, and the publication title where appropriate. Relevant ABS and other publications are also listed at the end of each chapter, together with a selection of relevant web sites. A useful complementary publication is the ABS Catalogue of Publications and Products (1101.0) which lists all current publications and products of the ABS.
As well as the information included in this Year Book, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Charges are generally made for such information. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
The annual reports of government departments and agencies also provide a valuable source of more detailed information on subjects covered in the Year Book. Information may be obtained from the relevant web sites, the addresses of which are provided throughout and at the end of chapters of the Year Book.
For a variety of reasons, it is not possible for all statistics in the Year Book to relate to the latest or the same year. Readers wishing to obtain or clarify the latest available statistics should contact the relevant source or access the relevant web site.
Reference to the national government
Australia has a federal system of government comprising a national government, the governments of the six states and two territories, and local governments. In Year Book Australia 2005 the national government is referred to as either 'the Australian Government' or 'the Commonwealth Government'. On occasions the shortened term 'the Commonwealth' or 'the Government' is used when referring to the national government.
Comments from readers
The ABS endeavours to keep the balance of the contents of the Year Book in line with the ever-changing nature of the nation. For this reason comments on the adequacy and balance of the contents of the Year Book are welcomed and should be directed to the attention of the Editor of the Year Book, Australian Bureau of Statistics, PO Box 10, Belconnen ACT 2616.