From Doylys Hartridge, Assistant Director, Government Relations Section
My ABS Queensland experience covers both economic and social areas with some time also spent in the Corporate Services Section. However my passion is client service and I have spent most of my career in the Client Services Branch. Over the years in the ABS I have assisted ad hoc client requests, coordinated and managed major consultancies, managed key clients and assisted in implementing policy changes affecting key clients.
My current position in the Government Relations Section focuses on investigation into how the ABS can better deliver on unmet State Government statistical priorities.
One of my focuses in the Government Relations Section over the next 12 months will be in furthering the role of the ABS in an expanded and improved national statistical service. To ensure we remain focused on delivering identified State Government priorities, we will be working with State Government Departments and the OESR to further develop the usefulness of non-ABS data sources. The ABS is an active member of a number of statistical committees, including QSSCC (Queensland State Statistical Consultative Committee, the SLO (Statistical Liaison Officer Network) and Queensland Indigenous Identification Steering Committee, which seek to promote statistical protocols and standards. This involvement will assist in the delivery of statistics required by key users no matter what their source.
I am also part of the team behind the production of the Statistical Update and welcome your feedback and suggestions for the 2001 issues of Statistical Update.
- Doylys Hartridge
Measuring Social Capital
The current ABS forward work program includes developing definitions and measures of the concept of social capital for use in ABS household surveys. Work on this project has now commenced.
The social capital project's first major milestone will be consultation with the user community to identify and prioritise the gaps in data on social capital that ABS can fill, either by improving data currently collected or by collecting data on new variables. To this end, a discussion paper outlining the concepts has been developed and distributed.
The concept of social capital has been receiving considerable attention both within Australia and overseas. It is assumed that people living in communities with high levels of social capital will have more favourable social and economic outcomes.
There is considerable discussion about what is meant by social capital and a range of definitions have been proposed. For example, one definition of social capital is ‘The sum of the resources communities have to identify and achieve their goals through networks of mutual support and mutual obligation. It is the bond of trust and relationship which communities build and renew when people interact with each other in families, workplaces, neighbourhoods, local associations and a range of informal and formal meeting places.’ (Sandeman et. al., 1999).
Despite the level of debate, there are a number of common themes. Social capital is considered to encompass:
- social networks and support structures,
- empowerment and community participation,
- civic and political involvement,
- trust in people and social institutions,
- tolerance of diversity and
- altruism and philanthropy.
For more information or a copy of the paper contact Jacqui Cristiano on 02 6252 6183 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New Building Outputs Index
The ABS has been developing output price indexes to measure the quarter to quarter price movement of various categories of construction output. An output price index of Building Other than House Building, Australia will be released for the first time in the December quarter 2000 issue of Producer Price Indexes for Selected Service Industries, Australia (Cat. no. 6423.0). Indexes for other categories of non-residential construction (roads, bridges, etc.) are still under development.
For further information, contact Mark Dubner on 02 9268 4448 or email@example.com
Tourism 4.5% of Australia's GDP
While tourism had long been regarded as an important activity and indicator of Australia's well-being, the actual contribution of the 'tourism industry' to the Australian economy had never been officially measured by the ABS. However, a new landmark report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that the tourism industry directly accounted for 4.5% of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 1997-98 and visitors consumed $58,200m of goods and services in Australia during the same period.
Figures published in Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account, 1997-98 (Cat. no. 5249.0), forms the first official set of numbers that relate the tourism industry to Australia's system of national accounts.
Besides its use as a measure of the contribution of tourism to overall economic activity, the Tourism Satellite Account will enable:
- comparison of tourism with other industries,
- analysis of visitor demand and tourism employment issues,
- comparison of tourism performance across countries and
- input to models examining and predicting the downstream economic impacts of tourism.
For more information contact Tony Johnson on 02 6252 7297 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus on Integrated Rural Statistics
The ABS is extending its agriculture statistics program from an industry/commodity focus to a broader integrated ‘rural’ statistics focus.
This shift is occurring as government policy moves towards an integrated analysis of rural communities and rural Australia as a whole. In addressing issues such as dryland salinity, governments need to understand the possible implications, not only on commodity production in the area but also on the economic and social impact of families and communities in the affected areas.
The ABS plans to provide users with detailed integrated rural economic, social and environmental statistics, compiled in a way that enables the output to have the flexibility to meet multiple needs. To achieve this, the ABS will work towards the collection of the geographic location of rural economic, social and environment units as accurately as possible. These three data streams will be drawn together by closely aligning the timing of the 5-yearly agriculture census with the 5-yearly population census.
Accordingly, the ABS recently announced that the agriculture census is to be brought forward to 2001 and will incorporate a higher level of agriculture-based environment questions. This will allow, for example, the linking at local government area level of commodity production details with environmental protection measures and various social characteristics of farm households.
A user consultation program is in place to identify key issues for inclusion in the agricultural census, as well as key issues for developing the rural statistics framework. In addition, the ABS is developing a Directory of Rural Statistics which will identify information sources of rural statistics from private and public sector organisations. The directory is due for release early in 2001.
For more information contact Allan Nicholls on 02 6252 5339 or email@example.com
Bowen Shire: Statistically Moving
Brian Doyle, the Regional Director of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Queensland Office announced that the Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin, has decided to transfer the Local Government Area (LGA) of Bowen Shire from the Northern Statistical Division (SD) to the Mackay SD.
This decision follows a period of extensive consultation and consideration of the issues. The Queensland Government Office of Economic and Statistical Research (OESR) provided a report to the ABS recommending the change following its own wide consultations, involving many State government agencies and other key stakeholders. The ABS considered not only the submission from the OESR, but also the many individual submissions the ABS had received from various sectors of the community.
Mr Doyle said that the decision was a difficult one, but that the weight of evidence of strong organisational and administrative links between Bowen Shire and the LGAs of the Mackay SD, was significant. These links are reflected in existing regional planning and development strategies.
The ABS carefully considered all the arguments against making the change, including the potential disruption to existing statistical series. To address this concern, the ABS will work with OESR to produce relevant time series data based on the new boundaries.
For most people, the decision will have little impact, as it does not affect the way that people shop or travel. What it will do is recognise the existing and strengthening links between shire organisations and agencies in Bowen (S) and the LGAs of Mackay SD and provide a more relevant statistical framework to guide the planning and development of the region.
The boundary change will take effect on 1 July 2001.
Effects of the changes on the populations may be seen in the following table.
ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION, Mackay and Northern Statistical Divisions
Old Statistical Division
New Statistical Division
p Figures for 1999 are preliminary estimates.
The statistical divisions affected are shown in the following diagram.
New Producer Price Indexes for Selected Service Industries
The main objectives of the Producer Price Index (PPI) development program are to generate additional price index series:
- to support industry analysis and business applications,
- to assist in improving the quality of the national accounts and
- contribute to inflation measurement.
Quarterly Producer Price Index (PPI) series are now available for important freight transport industries (road, rail, sea and air), property services (such as real estate agents and the hire and lease of machinery and equipment) and a diverse range of business services including surveying, computer services, accounting services, market research and cleaning services.
Indexes for additional service industries will be released as they are progressively developed.
For more information contact Carolyn O'Rourke on 02 6252 6081 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Exporters Profiled
New insights into the characteristics and behaviour of Australia's exporting businesses has been released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in conjunction with Austrade in A Portrait of Australian Exporters: A Report Based on the Business Longitudinal Survey.
During 1997-98, 4% of all Australian businesses were exporting businesses. While small businesses made up the majority of businesses (70%), they accounted for only 13% of total export revenue.
Over the 3-year period 1994-95 to 1997-98, the number of exporting businesses increased 26%, which represented an average annual growth rate of 8% per year. Growth was strongest in the small business sector, particularly in the micro businesses (those employing one to four people) where growth averaged 11% per year over the 3 years.
Overall, exporting firms showed some distinctive business characteristics when compared with their non-exporting counterparts. Exporting firms were more likely to employ staff on a full-time basis and were also more likely to employ staff on a permanent basis. Exporting businesses were more likely to provide training for their staff and more likely to use practices such as formal business plans and regular income and expenditure reports, or to be involved in formal business networking arrangements.
Exporting businesses were more intensive users of information technology tools.
Information is available only at the Australian level, no State data is published.
For more information contact Chris Price on 02 6252 5746 or email@example.com
Directories on the Web Site
The ABS web site is a repository of data which can be updated within minutes of its release.
The recently released Directory of Energy Statistics (Cat. no. 1107.0.55.001) and Directory of Education and Training Statistics (Cat. no. 1136.0) have taken full advantage of this and will be updated with all the latest data sources as they are found. This policy applies to all Directories which are stored on the ABS web site of www.abs.gov.au
To access these and other ABS directories, log onto www.abs.gov.au, click on the button marked Statistics and then look under ABS Directories.
International Merchandise Trade: Data Quality and Client Queries
The ABS has changed some of its procedures for compiling international merchandise trade statistics from 1 July 2000. It has ceased unit value editing of export records valued below $250,000 and of import records valued below $1m. Where clients query detailed trade data published, investigations will only be taken under certain circumstances and at the cost of the client.
The June quarter 2000 issue of International Merchandise Trade, Australia (Cat. no. 5422.0) included a feature article describing the new procedures and the reasons for their introduction. More information on the new client query policy is available by phoning 02 6252 5401 (regarding exports) or 02 6252 5108 (regarding imports) and request a copy of a free booklet titled International Merchandise Trade, Ensuring Data Quality.
Capital Expenditure of Foreign Owned Companies
There is an ongoing demand by State Governments for data on investment expenditure on infrastructure and resource development projects undertaken by foreign owned companies at a State level and for statistics on globalisation in general. In response to this, the ABS has developed a set of experimental estimates for private new capital expenditure by Australian and foreign owned businesses. These estimates will be available at the State/Territory levels.
The experimental statistics produced as part of this study will enable informed debate and assist in formulation and evaluation of policy in a range of areas that previously have been deficient in terms of adequate economic indicators and statistics. Important outcomes of this study are the construction of statistical links between various ABS datasets and the development and validation of an appropriate methodology.
For more information contact Tom Joseph on 08 9360 5123 or firstname.lastname@example.org
National Health Surveys Now 3-yearly
The first of the new series of 3-yearly national health surveys will be conducted from February to December 2001.
The survey will cover a national sample of about 20,800 adults and 10,300 children and provide national estimates and broad level indicators for States. An additional sample of Indigenous people will be included in the survey sufficient to support national estimates for the Indigenous population and enable comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations for selected health characteristics. A key aspect of the new series of national health surveys is a major supplementation of the Indigenous sample every 6 years, beginning in 2004.
A list of topics proposed for the survey is available from the ABS web site at www.abs.gov.au, then click on News; Newsletters; then Health Statistics News. Results will be available from September 2002.
For more information contact Mike Langan on 02 6252 6403 or email@example.com
Environmental Issues: Waste, Vehicles and Transport
Since 1992, ABS household survey program has included an environmental component, which is published as Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (Cat. no. 4602.0). The latest (sixth) edition was released on 29 November 2000. State and Territory data are available.
The three main topics surveyed were:
1. Household waste management: Data included types of household waste recycled, recycling method, recycling frequency, reasons for not recycling, awareness of hazardous waste disposal facilities and household hazardous waste disposal methods.
2. Habits of motor vehicle owners: Data included number of registered vehicles, air-conditioning in motor vehicles, vehicle fuel type, frequency of vehicle servicing, purchase of motor vehicles and factors considered in vehicle purchase.
3. Use of transport: Data included forms of transport to work/study, reasons for using public transport, reasons for not using public transport to work/study, availability of public transport, reasons for walking/cycling to work/study, reasons for not walking/cycling, reasons for taking passengers and reasons for not taking passengers.
For more information contact Boon Lim on 02 6252 6186 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Delivery Service - Available Now!
Email delivery of all ABS monthly and quarterly publications via the internet is now available. Electronic publication files are provided in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format and sent by the ABS shortly after 11.30 a.m. on the day of their release.
For more information contact 1300 366 323 or email@example.com
Water Account for Australia - The First Attempts
In May this year the ABS released Water Account for Australia, 1993-94 to 1996-97 (Cat. no. 4610.0). This was the first attempt at producing an environmental account for water in Australia and one of only a few examples of a water account in the world.
It presents quantitative water resource data on a State and national level and details on the supply of water from, and the use of water by, various sectors. Water reuse and discharge of water back to the environment are also presented. An analysis of water use, water consumption and economic data are also presented, providing some economic water efficiency measures.
It is planned to undertake the next Water Account for 2000-01 and the ABS is seeking feedback about the future directions of the Water Account and how it can better link into data collection activities of other organisations. The focus of the Water Account for 2000-01 is likely to include:
- resource information (what is available from the National Land and Water Resources Audit),
- water supply and usage across the whole economy with greater focus on rural water usage and perhaps less on other parts of the economy and
- if possible, more detailed information on water reuse across the economy especially in the manufacturing and mining sectors as well as by the water and sewerage industry.
Consideration is being given to include some of the following issues in the next edition of the Water Account:
- water trading (interstate and intrastate),
- providing supply and usage data at a more regional level.
For further information contact Christina Jackson on 02 6252 7876 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ABS Internet Activity Survey: Update
The ABS is surveying economic activity of internet service providers in the new quarterly Australian Internet Service Providers Survey. The survey will, for the first time in Australia, provide government and participants with accurate, independent and ongoing data on the internet industry.
Information collected includes:
- amount of data downloaded,
- Internet Service Providers 'points of presence' details,
At this stage the ABS hopes to be able to release data at a sub-State level.
The results from the September quarter 2000 survey are expected to be released on 31 January 2001 in Internet Activity, Australia (Cat. no. 8153.0).
For more information contact Jeff Pang on 07 3222 6384 or email@example.com
Indigenous Health Statistics
The ABS collects a wide range of statistical information on Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population across most areas of social concern. Health topics are included in the Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS), the National Health Survey Indigenous (NHS(I)) and the Indigenous Social Survey (ISS).
- The first CHINS was conducted in August and September 1999 and results released in April 2000 in the publication, Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Australia, 1999 (Cat. no. 4710.0). CHINS includes information on access to health facilities: hospitals, health clinics, chemists or dispensaries, first aid boxes, and air emergency services. CHINS also collected information on the frequency of access to health professionals, the frequency of health promotion programs, length of time health professionals worked in community and type of training courses attended by Indigenous health workers in the community. A limited amount of State and regional data are available. CHINS will be conducted every five years from 2001, to coincide with the population census. Aligning CHINS with the census will give users greater analytical power and reduce the respondent burden on the communities.
- Indigenous health statistics from the 2001 National Health Survey (NHS) are expected to be available from October 2002 and will present selected data on the health of the Indigenous population of Australia at the national level. Equivalent data for the non-Indigenous population of Australia will also be presented for comparison of results. The NHS(I), scheduled for 2004, will have a larger sample size, sufficient to produce State as well as national estimates.
- Indigenous health information will also be released in 2003, from the 2002 Indigenous Social Survey (ISS). Content for the ISS has not been finalised. It is intended that the ISS data be available at State, city/ex-metropolitan and remote/non-remote levels within the bounds of confidentiality.
For further information contact Borka Buseska on 02 6252 6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous Labour Force Characteristics
The ABS released an occasional paper Labour Force Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: Experimental Estimates from the Labour Force Survey, 1999 to 2000 (Cat. no. 6287.0) on 20 December 2000.
The paper provides experimental estimates of the labour force characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians using data from the Labour Force Survey. The paper also draws attention to statistical and data quality issues to be considered when using the estimates. The estimates are available at a national level only.
Limitations in the data prevent the analysis of the Indigenous labour force beyond the broad characteristics such as employment and unemployment at the national level. Estimates are presented for a 7-year period.
In February 2000, there were 134,600 Indigenous people aged 15 years and over in the labour force. The number of Indigenous people in employment was 110,900, which represented 44% of the Indigenous population aged 15 years and over and 1.2% of the total number of Australians in employment. There were 23,700 Indigenous people unemployed.
When compared with the rest of Australia's population, the Indigenous population has a lower employment to population ratio, a considerably higher unemployment rate and a lower labour force participation rate. In February 2000, the employment to population ratio of 44% for Indigenous persons compares with a ratio of 59% for non-Indigenous people. The unemployment rate was 17.6% for Indigenous people, which compares with 7.3% for non-Indigenous people. The labour force participation rate, which is the number in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 years and over, was 52.9% for Indigenous people and 63.7% for non-Indigenous people.
For further information contact Harry Kroon on 02 6252 6753 or email@example.com
Review of Private Hospitals Collection - Your Input Needed
The ABS has been collecting data from private hospitals and free-standing day hospitals in the national Private Health Establishments Collection since 1991-92. A wide range of information is collected including patient classification, operations performed, specialised services, staffing, income, expenditure and broad morbidity data (age, sex, principal diagnosis and principal procedure performed).
The ABS is seeking help from data providers and users to determine the items to be collected in the future and also to reduce the reporting effort by hospitals. The ABS will be seeking views on why data are needed, what key issues and questions the data should address and what decisions they may affect. This will help determine the 'future direction' of the collection and ensure that the strategic, longer term needs of stakeholders are taken into account.
The recommendations from the review will be implemented in the next collection cycle (which relates to 2000-01).
For more information contact Keith Carter on 07 3222 6374 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Hospitals: Detailed Tables
The publication Private Hospitals, Australia, 1998-99 (Cat. no. 4390.0) is complemented by a series of unpublished tables which extend the knowledge available about private hospitals in Australia. Most of the tables break down private hospital data by State and Territory. They show a wide range of information including:
- types of patients (surgical, medical, etc.),
- types of procedures performed (advanced surgical, obstetric, etc.),
- specialised wards and units (intensive, coronary, etc.),
- staffing numbers and turnover,
- annual expenditure on salaries,
- medicaments, food and several other items,
- capital expenditure categories,
- morbidity data (including age, sex, principal condition treated and principal procedure performed) and
- most commonly performed procedures (day hospitals).
For more information contact Keith Carter on 07 3222 6374 or email@example.com
New Classification - Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups
The classification will meet a long-standing need for consistent methodologies for the collection and classification of ethnicity, ancestry and cultural diversity data in statistical, administrative and service delivery settings. The fundamental concept underpinning the classification, is ethnicity. The term ‘ethnicity' is used to describe a shared identity or similarity of a group of people on the basis of one or more factors, e.g. shared history, cultural traditions, religion or language.
The classification will support data on the Ancestry variable which is one of a set of variables included in Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity (Cat. no. 1289.0) and which will be asked in the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.
For more information contact Ted Vaughan on 02 6252 5833 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Educating Students About the 2001 Census
On 7 August 2001, the ABS will conduct the largest and one of its most important statistical collections - the 14th Australian Census of Population and Housing. Census information provides a rich source of socio-demographic information about Australia’s people, households, families and dwellings and community.
For the first time ever in Australia, an educational CD-ROM titled ‘A Tale of Two Worlds’ has been developed to promote census awareness and participation amongst students in the school education system.
Two free copies of ‘A Tale of Two Worlds’ will be delivered to every primary school and eight free copies to every secondary school across Australia in November 2000. Participating LEP Libraries will also be provided with a copy of the CD-ROM.
‘A Tale of Two Worlds’ is an educational CD-ROM that highlights the importance of the census as an integral process that provides essential information for the planning and allocation of resources and services in our community. ‘A Tale of Two Worlds’ encourages students to learn through interaction about the logistics of the census process and the benefits of its outcomes.
‘A Tale of Two Words’ includes 16 interactive games that provide students with an exciting and inspiring way of learning about the census, the processes involved in taking a census and the uses of census data. An extensive teacher resource area, including lesson plans developed in accordance with national and State curricula, has also been included on the CD-ROM to help teachers integrate the activities into their teaching programs.
For more information contact the National Education Services Unit on 1800 623 273 or Soo Kong on 03 9615 7360 or email@example.com
Web Site Release of Directory of Energy Statistics
The Directory of Energy Statistics is an easy-to-use resource - a web site of a large range of ABS and non-ABS statistical sources on energy and energy related topics. All organisations who collect energy and energy related statistics are invited to contribute to the development of this valuable resource. The web site was launched on the ABS statsite www.abs.gov.au in October 2000. To access it click on Statistics, then Directories.
For more information contact Mark Nelson on 02 6252 7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AusStats is an ABS web based service updated daily at 11.30 a.m., providing access to the latest facts and figures about the nation. AusStats contains extensive linking between related information, bookmarking facility, full text search and lots more. AusStats is only available by subscription, with options starting at $1,080.
User Comments on AusStats
A number of users of AusStats have written to the ABS to express their opinions on its value and usefulness. Here is a selection of the comments.
'Speed of access to the most up-to-date data is everything in our business. The ABS's new AusStats product delivers on its promises. It provides fast access and it is also convenient and easy to use. It even allows for window shopping.'
|User Friendly, a Delight to Use|
'There's no doubt that the new AusStats user interface makes the service much more user friendly than it used to be. The old user interface effectively discouraged accessing the service. The new user interface is Windows-based, intuitive in use, and a delight to use.'
|ABS Staff Member Embarrassed|
'At a Digital Library Conference I attended last Thursday I was positively embarrassed at being an ABS staff member by all the positive feedback we received about AusStats. The Library Director at AFFA, waxed lyrical about the ABS pricing policy and its advantages to her organisation in reducing the library's need for storing and distributing publications. She called our reuse policy ‘enlightened’ and remarked that they were encouraging use at the desktop amongst AFFA staff.'
|Never Mislaid and Up-to-date|
'With AusStats we don't have to worry about lost publications and files that can't be found - the information is always there on our PCs and it's updated as soon as new data becomes available'
|Quick Access on PCs|
'The beauty of the AusStats service is the quick access to a huge amount of economic and social data from everyone's PC. The savings in time alone make it a highly valued resource.'
For more information contact Jeff Brunne on 07 3222 6431 or email@example.com
Directory of Education and Training Statistics Released on the Web
|ABS Qld Contact Points|
|The Directory includes comprehensive details about ABS and non-ABS national surveys and collections containing education and training data. It is a useful starting point to identify sources of education and training data and whom to contact for further information. |
To locate the Directory of Education and Training Statistics within the ABS Web Site, log onto www.abs.gov.au, click on the button marked Statistics, and then look under ABS Directories.
Keep an eye out for the theme page for the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics which will be released onto the web site in the near future. This will include a variety of information about how the National Centre can help its clients in their search for information on education and training.
For further information contact Beth Wright on 02 6252 6768 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|National Inquiry Service|
Telephone 1300 135 070 or for Deaf Clients TTY 3222 6325
Consultants will assist with your statistical inquiries. Overseas clients please call 61 2 9268 4909.
Current copies of ABS publications and floppy disks for sale. Visit us on the 18th floor at 313 Adelaide St; open 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.
The Library is situated alongside our bookshop and provides a complete range of ABS current and historical publications.
Contacts for Queensland State Government Departments
Telephone 07 3222 6083
Telephone 07 3222 6326
You may download Queensland Statistical Update No. 5 in its entirety in Adobe Acrobat format from this attachment.
This page first published 6 March 2001, last updated 8 March 2006