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Newsletters - National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics (NCCRS) - January Quarter 2003



January, the month of Janus, is a good time for us to reflect on our achievements in 2002, and our plans for 2003. During 2002, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics provided a number of new products and services of interest to culture and recreation data users, details of which have been provided in this or earlier editions of this newsletter.

A few highlights included the release of the Culture and Recreation theme page and the Directory of Culture and Leisure Statistics, which are freely available on the ABS web site. The first compilation of data on the funding of sport and recreation provided by all levels of government was also released in 2002, as was the first detailed survey of book retailers in Australia (more information about these projects are provided in this newsletter). Another highlight (presented in our last newsletter) was the release of data on sport and physical recreation industries classified, for the first time, using the Australian Culture and Leisure Industry Classification, meaning that much more detailed data were provided than when the industries were last surveyed, six years earlier.

Most of the data collected in the 2001 Census of Population and Housing has now been released. Among the recent releases are the fascinating and popular Social Atlases of the capital cities of Australia. Results of the 2001 National Health Survey and Indigenous Health Survey were also released recently. Summary information about these releases are provided in this newsletter.

Significant NCCRS publications to watch out for in 2003 are:
  • two publications, one on culture and one on sport and recreation, using data from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, about people employed in relevant industries and occupations; and
  • two compendium publications, one on culture and one on sport and recreation, which draw together a very wide range of information which has been collected by the ABS in recent years on these activities (eg: sport participation, attendance at cultural venues or sporting matches, household expenditure, government funding, business sponsorship, employment (paid and unpaid), trade and industry data).

These four publications are only produced every five years, after release of the five-yearly Census data. In addition we will be continuing our annual series of publications on book publishing, book retailing and cultural funding by government. Most of this work is made possible through funding provided to the NCCRS by the Cultural Ministers Council and the Sport and Recreation Ministers Council.

Other significant projects on which the NCCRS will be working throughout 2003 are the reviews of the national classifications of industries and occupations, and the preparation of information development plans for our main fields of statistics. More information on each of these projects is below.

We are looking forward to a very busy and productive year in 2003, and plan to keep you well informed with updates throughout the year.

Lisa Conolly
Acting Director


The ABS undertook its first collection of data relating to government funding of sport and physical recreation, for the year 2000-01. This collection covered the three tiers of government, and was undertaken with support from the Standing Committee on Sport and Recreation. It is hoped that resources may be provided to undertake the collection again in future years, although no collection has been planned for data relating to 2001-02.

Funding for sport and recreation activities across all levels of government totalled $2,124m in 2000-01. Of this, the Commonwealth Government contributed $199m (9%), state and territory governments contributed $875m (41%) and local governments contributed $1,050m (49%). The average funding per person on sport and recreation was $110.21.

Some of this funding was for the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games which were held in September and October 2000 respectively. The Commonwealth Government contributed $72m towards the Games in 2000-01, while the NSW Government provided $382m.

Most (over 90%) of the $2,124m of sport and recreation funding in 2000-01 was directed to recreation parks and waterways ($682m), venues and sports grounds ($611m), special events ($452m), administration, policy and planning ($141m) and participation by clubs, teams and individuals ($76m).

Main features of Sport and Recreation Funding by Government, Australia, 2000–01 are available free of charge on this site. Results of a similar survey on government spending on culture were summarised in our October 2002 newsletter. This showed that funding for cultural activities across all levels of government totalled $4,455m in 2000-01. The main results of this survey, published in Cultural Funding by Government, Australia, 2000-01 are available free of charge on this site.


A couple of years ago the NCCRS highlighted in the Culture and Recreation News that it was planning to conduct a series of four surveys on book retailers as part of the Australian Government's Book Industry Assistance Plan. The ABS recently released the results of the first survey covering the economic activity of book sellers and the number and value of books sold in 2000-01.

Retail sales of new books totalled $1,221m in 2000-01, according to an ABS survey of 1,200 employing businesses. Results from this first detailed survey of book retailers showed that those classified as bookshops were responsible for over three-quarters ($934m) of the value of new book sales. The remaining book sales were divided among department stores ($148m), newsagents ($129m), supermarkets ($6m) and other retailers ($4m).

Over 70 million new books were sold by book retailers to the public, with bookshops accounting for almost 60% (42 million books) of sales. A further 23% (16 million) of books were sold by department stores and 13% (9 million) by newsagents.

The publication also includes data relating to the relative importance of new book sales to the overall operations of businesses for the different types of book retailers, and details about sources of income and expenditure. Another collection of data will be undertaken for 2001-02, to be published later this year.

Main features of Book Retailers, Australia, 2000-01 are available free of charge on this site.


All areas of the ABS are working on information development plans (IDPs) for their fields of statistics. Each plan will identify key policy issues and debates, and review the availability of data required to inform those issues and debates. In consultation with key stakeholders the plan will then provide recommendations to improve the quality, coverage and use of relevant data. A primary aim of the plan is to maximise the use, and ensure the quality of, current data no matter what the source, thereby minimising the need for additional collection of information. An initial plan may take 12 to 24 months to develop.

NCCRS has begun work on a Heritage and the Arts IDP, in consultation with the government departments and agencies represented on the Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group (CMC SWG). In due course, work will also commence on a Sports and Physical Recreation IDP, in consultation with the government departments and agencies represented on the Recreation and Sport Industry Statistics Group. Some background research has already being undertaken, as a matter of course, for many areas of NCCRS statistical activity, and this will provide a sound basis for our work on these Information Development Plans.


Throughout 2003, NCCRS will be making significant contributions to the reviews of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classifications of industries (ANZSIC) and occupations (ANZSCO), with the aim of providing more useful culture and recreation industry and employment data after the new classifications are implemented in 2006 (in time for the next Census of Population and Housing). The work we undertook in developing the Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications of industry and occupations is influencing these reviews.

Key clients will be invited to comment on proposed changes to these classifications over the course of the next couple of years, as relevant components are developed. Any interested person is welcome to monitor progress on the reviews through the ABS web site. (We suggest you type ‘ANZSIC review’ or ‘ANZSCO’ into the search box on the home page.)

The review has been completed on a small number of ANZSIC divisions, and final proposals are on the ABS web site. The Education division is among these. This provides an example of the increased utility we hope to achieve with the new version of ANZSIC, as it is proposed that the new Education division will include classes for Arts education organisations and Sports and physical recreation instruction organisations. These types of organisations are not separately identifiable in the current version of ANZSIC.

NCCRS is currently providing input to an internal ABS paper on proposals for the Arts, entertainment and recreation division of the new version of ANZSIC. Key users of culture and recreation industry statistics should expect to receive a paper inviting comments on this division in the next couple of months.


In 2001, the ABS conducted a National Health Survey (NHS) to measure the health status of the population, the use of health services, actions people had recently taken for their health, and health risk factors.

The risk factors covered in the survey were smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, being overweight and some dietary habits. Compared with results from a previous survey in 1989-90, the 2001 survey found that Australian adults (people aged 18 years and over) were improving against the risk factors of smoking and exercise, but the proportion of adults who were overweight continued to increase, while high risk alcohol use was unchanged.

In 2001, 70% of adults had exercised for recreation, sport or fitness during the previous two weeks. Overall proportions of males and females who exercised were similar but females were more likely to walk for exercise than males (58% and 50% respectively), while males were more likely than females to undertake moderate exercise (40% compared with 33%) or vigorous exercise (20% compared with 11%).

Comparing results from the 2001 NHS with those from previous surveys indicates that relatively more people were exercising in 2001 than in 1995 and 1989-90, although differences are small. For example, the proportion of people exercising at low levels increased from 33% in 1989-90 to 38% in 2001 while those recording a sedentary exercise level fell from 37% in 1989-90 to 32% in 2001. Percentages exercising at moderate to high levels showed little change (at around 30%).

The proportion of males classified as overweight or obese (based on their body mass index (BMI)) rose from 46% in 1989-90 to 58% in 2001, a 26% increase in prevalence. A large increase was also recorded for females-from 32% to 42%-giving an increase in prevalence of 31%. For both males and females, increases were recorded in both the overweight and obese groups, and were recorded across all age groups.

Main features of National Health Survey, Australia, 2001 are available free of charge on this site. A range of additional material on the survey, intended to assist people in their use and interpretation of the data, can be accessed from the Health Theme Page on the ABS web site.


Two-thirds of Indigenous Australian people aged 15 years and over considered their health to be good, very good, or excellent, according to a health survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which was conducted in association with the 2001 National Health Survey.

However, Indigenous Australians were nearly twice as likely to report their health as 'fair or poor' compared with non-Indigenous people (34% and 18% respectively). Indigenous females were more likely overall to report 'fair or poor' health than Indigenous males (29% compared with 23%).

The Indigenous Australian population is considerably younger than the non-Indigenous population. The close relationship between health and age makes it misleading to compare total populations with differing age structures. Thus, comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are presented by age group or by using age standardised rates, to allow for the effect of age.

The survey found that, after adjusting for age differences and non-response, Indigenous Australians were more likely (61%) to be classified as overweight or obese when compared with non-Indigenous Australians (48%). The percentage of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, aged 18 years and over and classified as obese, has increased since 1995.

Due to collection difficulties, information relating to exercise was not collected for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas. In the two weeks prior to interview, 71% of Indigenous Australian adults in non-remote areas reported their levels of exercise for recreation, sport or fitness as either sedentary or low. After adjusting for age differences, this is a similar percentage to that reported by non-Indigenous Australian adults (68%).

Information was also collected relating to smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as a wide range of other health data.

Main features of National Health Survey: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, Australia, 2001 are available free of charge on this site.


The Social Atlas series presents colour maps of the key social, demographic and economic characteristics of each Australian capital city, using data from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. The maps are easy to interpret as the distribution of the data is represented by different colours or shadings. Each map is accompanied by a brief commentary.

Each atlas includes maps of about 35 topics, including:
  • People with university qualifications;
  • DINKS (double income, no kids families);
  • Managers, administrators and professionals; and
  • People who used the Internet at home.

Five of the atlases have now been released with the remaining three atlases (for Melbourne, Darwin and Canberra) due to be released by March this year.

The Social Atlas series will be able to be purchased as a complete set after they are all released (cat. no. 2030.0; $400). Copies of atlases for individual capital cities can also be purchased, with prices ranging from $55 to $75.

More information about the 2001 Social Atlas series is available free of charge on this site.



Culture Topics: Chris Giddings on (08) 8237 7326

Sport Topics: Colin Speechley on (08) 8237 7363

Director: Adriana Vanden Heuvel on (08) 8237 7399

Fax: (08) 8237 7366

National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 2272

ABS Internet site:

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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