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Newsletters - National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) - Issue Number 5, April 1999
 
 

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE

The NCATSIS Newsletter is now available as an email document. If you would prefer to receive the newsletter via email in future, please notify Michael Bourchier at: michael.bourchier@abs.gov.au

BACKGROUND TO THE CENTRE

The National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) is located in the Darwin office of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The Centre incorporates the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Welfare Information Unit (ATSIHWIU), a joint program of the ABS and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

NCATSIS has national responsibility for quality statistics relating to Australia's Indigenous peoples. The Centre also provides expert advice to government departments, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander organisations, and other users of Indigenous statistics, particularly those concerned with population, health and welfare.

NCATSIS also offers specialised advice to clients about statistical issues related to Indigenous Australians. A range of standard products, as well as customised data and maps are available. Contact details are:

Phone NCATSIS on (08) 8943 2191 Ask for Michael Bourchier.
Phone (Free Call): 1800 633 216 (outside Darwin)
Fax: (08) 8941 6276

RECENT ACTIVITIES

DATA QUALITY WORKSHOP

NCATSIS organised a two-day workshop in Canberra during February to discuss problems associated with the quality of Indigenous data from survey-derived statistics. The 60 invited participants were drawn from State and Commonwealth government departments, Indigenous organisations, research institutions, private consultancies and the ATSIHWIU Advisory Committee. The workshop began by addressing the question: 'What is known about the quality of Indigenous data?' and then examined a number of suggested solutions to problems of best practice in its collection. Several useful ideas arose from the discussions and formal papers, and at the end of the second day a number of recommendations were made to ABS. A drafting group was given the responsibility of writing up both the recommendations and key issues, with the expectation that their report will be available in April. For more information, or to receive a copy of the report, please contact Michael Bourchier on (08) 89 432 145 or email: michael.bourchier@abs.gov.au

SURVEY STRATEGY FOR INDIGENOUS STATISTICS

Over the last four months a concentrated effort has been made to promote consideration of the Indigenous Survey-Strategy discussion paper among Commonwealth and State Government agencies and interested groups in the community at large. There has been a strong response nationally and a large number of submissions commenting on the proposals have been received. A paper summarising the responses will be produced which will be used as a basis for finalising the Strategy Paper. The Strategy Paper will in turn be an important input to finalising the ABS Household Survey Program Review report which is expected to be completed in June 1999. For further information, please contact Tony Barnes on (08) 89 432 190 or email: tony.barnes@abs.gov.au

INDIGENOUS ADMINISTRATIVE STATISTICS PROJECT

Administrative statistics are produced as a by-product of the data collected by organisations, about their clients, to administer the services they provide. For example, hospital admissions records, registrations of births and deaths, school enrolments and government support payments are all collections of administrative statistics.

They provide a key source of data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are vital to the planning and decision-making processes of agencies with responsibilities for provision of services to Indigenous people. When combined with data from Censuses and Surveys they can also provide a powerful evaluative tool.

The Indigenous Administrative Statistics project team, within NCATSIS, has been assisting several organisations improve the way they capture data about Indigenous people. They do this by assistance with the design of forms, the provision of advice on national standards, and in the development of a training program for collection staff about how to collect data about Indigenous status. Promotional material aimed at assisting data collectors and clients is available, as well as a methodology for conducting data quality audits.

The objective of this work is to improve the quality of Indigenous statistics, derived from administrative data, across the collection areas of health and registration of births and deaths, law and justice, housing, education and training and social and community services.

Health and vitals:
Registrars from around Australia are evaluating and improving the quality of births and deaths data in conjunction with the ABS, funeral directors and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector. For more information, please contact an ABS representative in your state:

NSW Carol Chan (02) 92684114 or email carol.chan@abs.gov.au
Vic Soula Macfarlane (03) 96157080 or email soula.macfarlane@abs.gov.au
Qld Jane Hawthorne (07) 3222 6308 or email jane.hawthorne@abs.gov.au
SA Andrew Middleton (08) 8237 7306 or email andrew.middleton@abs.gov.au
WA Chris Spencer (08) 93605237 or email chris.spencer@abs.gov.au
NT Tracey Brandrup (08) 8943 2152 or email tracey.brandrup@abs.gov.au
ACT Dalma Jacobs (02) 6207 0283 or email dalma.jacobs@abs.gov.au
Tas Keith Churchill (03) 62225832 or email keith.churchill@abs.gov.au

Law and Justice:
The project team, together with the ABS National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, based in Victoria, is working to assist a number of jurisdictions to improve Indigenous data quality. For more information please contact Gabi Friebe on (08) 8943 2157 or email: gabrielle.friebe@abs.gov.au

Education and Training:
The project team, together with the Education and Training Section of ABS, has begun preliminary data analysis, comparing statistics derived from schools' administrative data with those from other sources. For more information please contact Gabi Friebe on (08) 8943 2157 or email: gabrielle.friebe@abs.gov.au

Social Services Collections:
The project team, together with the Indigenous working group of Centrelink and Family and Community Services, has begun preliminary data quality audits, forms re-design, promotional work and training for staff. For more information please contact Pippa Scurrah on (08) 8943 2142 or email: philllipa.scurrah@abs.gov.au

If you would like to know more about what we can offer your organisation with regard to advice, training, promotional material and data quality methodologies, to improve Indigenous statistics, please contact the project team on (08) 8943 2157 or email gabrielle.friebe@abs.gov.au.

ANALYSIS OF INDIGENOUS LABOUR FORCE DATA

Since 1994 the Monthly Labour Force Survey has included the question of Indigenous status for one month each year. This data is now being analysed in NCATSIS to determine the accuracy and representativeness of the Indigenous employment statistics derived from these data. If the statistics are sufficiently accurate they will be published. Data from this survey may provide a useful complement to the comprehensive Indigenous Labour Force data which is obtained through the five yearly Census of Population and Housing. For more information please contact Deborah Wade-Marshall on (08) 432 199 or email: deborah.wade-marshall@abs.gov.au

ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF THE IDENTIFICATION OF ABORIGINAL AND/OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE IN HOSPITAL DATA

This project was funded by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) and co-ordinated by The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Welfare Information Unit, a joint program of the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, within NCATSIS.

Eleven hospitals in five States and Territories took part. The aim of the project was to develop, pilot and evaluate a methodology for assessing the completeness of the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in hospital separation data.

Deriving estimates of the completeness with which Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are identified in hospital separation data is a specific recommendation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information Plan, endorsed by AHMAC in October 1997. These estimates are essential for adjusting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospitalisation statistics in order to remove biases due to the incorrect recording of Indigenous status.

The project concluded at the end of 1998 and a report has been prepared for AHMAC which outlines its development, conduct and results. Part of the report includes a separate document based on the outcomes of the project. This document, Operational Procedures for Assessing the Completeness of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Identification in Hospital Separation Data, details steps that a hospital, group of hospitals or State/Territory health department, could follow to implement a similar data quality assessment exercise within their own collection(s).

It is anticipated that this report will be made available following the next AHMAC meeting in April. For further information please contact Barbara Gray on (08) 89432 147 or email: barbara.gray@abs.gov.au.

COMMUNITY HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS SURVEY

As reported in the last edition of NCATSIS News, the ABS has been approached by ATSIC to conduct a Community Housing Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS). The survey will collect infrastructure and housing information from discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia as well as brief housing details from Indigenous Housing Organisations. It is planned to run the survey from August to October 1999, with first results becoming available from early 2000.

During March 1999 ABS conducted a final test of the survey in selected areas of New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Results of this test are expected to lead to some refinements to the questionnaires and procedures for the final survey. Substantial efforts are also being made to compare the data collected with that from alternative sources, where available, to ensure that the final survey will provide reliable information.

Over the next few months we will be contacting Indigenous organisations across Australia to explain the survey and will also be looking to recruit and train field staff to collect the survey information.

A brochure providing more details on the survey is available on request. For further information, please contact Ian Brodie-Reed on (02) 6252 7269 or email: ian.brodie-reed@abs.gov.au.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Australian Indigenous Geographical Classification (ABS cat. no: 4706.0.30.001) Cost $50.00.
Released December 1998.
An electronic (CD-ROM) map viewing system which allows customers to select and combine areas of interest from the Australian Indigenous Geographical Classification (AIGC) and then request Census data for those areas. The AIGC is a new classification based on Indigenous community localities and ATSIC Regions and was developed specifically to allow the production of useful local area Census statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

1995 National Health Survey, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, Australia (ABS cat.no: 4806.0) Cost $21.00.
Released January 1999
This publication presents data about the health of non-remote Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, from the 1995 National Health Survey (NHS). Topics include measures of health status, health related actions taken, and lifestyle factors which may influence health. This is the first time that results for Indigenous Australians have been available from a National Health Survey.

Occasional Paper: Population Issues, Indigenous Australians (ABS cat. no: 4708.0) Cost $25.00.
Released February 1999.
This paper gives a comprehensive picture of the 33% increase in the count of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between the 1991 and 1996 censuses. The paper shows that the increase is far greater than can be explained by natural factors of birth, death and migration. The increase is partly explained by how people classify themselves for census purposes. The paper is available from public libraries, the ABS' web site or any ABS bookshop. For more information please contact the report's author, Kate Ross, on (08) 8943 2195 or email kate.ross@abs.gov.au.

FUTURE PUBLICATIONS

The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ABS cat.no: 4704.0) Expected cost $34.00.
Expected to be released September 1999
The second edition of this biennial publication, a joint project of the ABS and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, will include topics such as mortality, morbidity, risk factors, and recent developments in health and welfare statistics and will provide a single source of national level information on Indigenous health and welfare.

Australian Social Trends (ABS cat.no. 4102.0) Expected cost $39.00
Expected to be released June 1999. This is not a NCATSIS publication.
This publication presents statistical analysis and commentary on a wide range of current social issues. The June edition will contain an article on Indigenous languages.


INDIGENOUS STATISTICS ON THE ABS WEB SITE

There is a considerable amount of information about Indigenous Australians available from this site. Information is found in several places on the Statistics page which can be accessed by clicking on Statistics in the green bar running down the left hand side of the home page (http://www.abs.gov.au.). Statistical information about Australia's Indigenous population, specifically selected for use by schools, is soon to be put on the Web Site as part of a joint project between NCATSIS and ABS Education Services.


          Statistics
          Selected Main Features
          2. Census of Population and Housing
      • 2034.5 - Census of Population and Housing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, Western Australia (1996 Census)
          3. Demography
      • 3230.0 - Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 30 June 1991 - 30 June 1996
      • 3231.0 - Experimental Projections of the Indigenous Population, 1996 to 2006
          4. Social Statistics
      • 4179.3 - 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Torres Strait Islanders Queensland
      • 4228.0 - Aspects of Literacy: Assessed Literacy Skills, 1996
      • 4806.0 - National Health Survey: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, Australia, 1995
          Australia Now - A Statistical Profile of Australia
          Population
      • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population
      • Special Article - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: A statistical profile from the 1996 Census
      • Special Article - A Profile of Australia's Indigenous People (Year Book Australia 1996) (also available under Special Articles)
      • Special Article - Aboriginal Lands in South Australia (Year Book Australia 1997) (also available under Special Articles)
      • Special Article - Statistics on the Indigenous Peoples of Australia (Year Book Australia 1994) (also available under Special Articles)
          Crime and Justice
      • Special Article - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: law and justice issues (also available under Special Articles)
          Special Articles
          Australia's Indigenous Peoples
      • A Profile of Australia's Indigenous People (1996)
      • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: A statistical profile from the 1996 Census (1999)
      • Aboriginal Lands in South Australia (1997)
      • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: law and justice issues (1999)
      • Statistics on the Indigenous Peoples of Australia (1994)
      • The Mabo Case and the Native Title Act (1995)
      • Unity and Diversity: The History and Culture of Aboriginal Australia (1994)
          Census of Population and Housing
          Community Profiles
      • Indigenous counts are included in table B01
          ABS Papers and Classifications (includes full text of the paper)
          Occasional Papers
      • 3315.0 - Mortality of Indigenous Australians
      • 4189.0 - Law and Justice Issues, Indigenous Australians, 1994
      • 4701.0 - Cigarette Smoking among Indigenous Australians, 1994
      • 4702.0 - Overweight and Obesity, Indigenous Australians, 1994
      • 4707.0 - Self-Assessed Health Status, Indigenous Australians, 1994
      • 4708.0 - Population Issues, Indigenous Australians, 1996
          Working Papers
      • Census Working Paper 93/6 - Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Counts (1991 Census)
          News
          Newsletters (will be updated to include most recent issue)
          NCATSIS NEWS - Issue Number 4 - October 1998
          NCATSIS NEWS - Issue Number 5 - April 1999



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