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Newsletters - National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) - Issue Number 7, May 2000
 
 


ABOUT 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).

As the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, we aim to provide a national leadership role in promoting and facilitating the collection and reporting of Indigenous statistics by the ABS, and where appropriate amongst external stakeholders in all jurisdictions. In this capacity, the Centre will analyse, interpret and report information about the health, welfare and social/economic conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and assist in the development, co-ordination and implementation of national plans, both within and outside the ABS, with regard to collection and dissemination of Indigenous statistics and information.

Contact details are:

Phone NCATSIS on (08) 8943 2190
Phone (Free Call): 1800 633 216 (outside Darwin)
Fax: (08) 8941 6276
Email: ncatsis@abs.gov.au

Or write to:
National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 3796
Darwin NT 0801


RECENT ACTIVITIES

New Director of NCATSIS

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr Janis Shaw as the new Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics. In this role, Janis is also the Director of ATSIHWIU, a collaborating unit of the AIHW in partnership with ABS.

Janis has a background in health research and health services statistics. In her most recent position at AIHW, Janis was responsible for the development of a range of national collections in community health and hospital care and has specialised in statistics on mental health service delivery. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology and Population Health from the Australian National University (ANU) and her first degree is held in Psychology, also from ANU. Her previous research included studies in youth health and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmissable diseases.


In her new role, Janis will aim to consolidate and develop the broad work program established by the outgoing Director, Tony Barnes, with key groups concerned with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander information. It is a challenging time to be taking on the job, when there is an urgent need for good quality data, and a call for information that can help to monitor Australia's progress in reducing the social and economic disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The need to make substantial improvements in the quality and comprehensiveness of data collections, and to achieve the new directions set down for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistical developments at ABS, mean that NCATSIS and ATSIHWIU must provide a clear leadership and co-ordination role in the field.

Other Staffing Changes

March saw the departure of Pippa Scurrah, to take up a position as Director, Client Services, at the Northern Territory Library and Information Services. Pippa has made a substantial contribution to NCATSIS over 3 years, including the foundation of administrative data developments in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics. The staff in the Darwin ABS office wish her all the best in her new role.

Yin Paradies and Joan Cunningham will also leave NCATSIS in May and June respectively. Joan will be taking up the Sir Robert Menzies Visiting Fellowship at the Menzies School of Health Research, and Yin will be moving to a position at the Co-operative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health, based at the Menzies School of Health Research. Both members will be missed, and we thank them for their enormous contribution to the Centre. Joan, in particular, has been the driving force behind the 1997 and 1999 biennial reports on the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We wish them a successful and comfortable transition to their new positions.

Deborah Wade-Marshall transferred from NCATSIS to the Indigenous Statistics Unit of the West Australian Office - ABS, in February of this year. Deborah is working on socio-economic issues relevant to Indigenous statistics in collaboration with NCATSIS staff.

In May, Mary Beneforti will be commencing a six month outposting to the NT Education Department to undertake work on data collections and methodologies as part of the recommendations of the 'Learning Lessons' report by Bob Collins on Indigenous primary and secondary school education in the NT.

Jenny Davis, Kevin Beere and Peter Chandler joined the centre to continue work in improving the quality of Indigenous administrative data collections. Matthew Stevens arrived in March to take up a work program of research and analysis of data gathered by the ABS and on administrative data collections. NCATSIS warmly welcomes these new members of staff.

In line with the appointment of a new Director, NCATSIS staff are embracing a restructuring process and will be recruiting staff to fill current gaps in work programs. Positions will be advertised in newspapers and the Commonwealth Gazette.

NEWS FLASH

Web Page - Education and Dissemination

Greater use of electronic dissemination of data has been introduced over the past year by the ABS. NCATSIS staff have been working on a joint project with the National Education Unit in the Melbourne office of the ABS, to produce an Internet resource introducing students and others to Indigenous statistics.

The product, known as 'WISE' (Web Site Indigenous Statistics Education), is now live on the ABS web site via Themes then Education, then Web Site Indigenous Statistics Education links. The site is a tool for disseminating a contemporary social statistical picture of Indigenous Australians to secondary school students; an important dissemination audience previously untargeted by NCATSIS. It also provides a tutorial facility, specifically developed for use by secondary students. In response to evaluation and feedback, the content on the site will be expanded in 2001. Feedback and comments regarding this web site can be directed to Fiona Shalley on (03) 9615 7667 or toll free (outside Melbourne) on 1800 623 273, or email: fiona.shalley@abs.gov.au

Web Page - Indigenous Themes

Now operational from the ABS web site, the 'Indigenous Themes' Web-page can be accessed via the Themes and Indigenous links. It contains descriptive information about NCATSIS and other ABS units that work within the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics. It includes links to sources of published data; basic community profiles on Indigenous people (to SLA); publication summaries; articles of interest within specific ABS publications; information from international databases; a catalogue of ABS publications, with prices and ordering facilities; NCATSIS newsletters and links to other agencies within Australia which deal with Indigenous statistics. The Web pages have been designed to provide a starting point for those seeking information about Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and contain contact information which will allow users to deal directly with members of NCATSIS.

Queens Trust Honour for NCATSIS Staff Member

Yin Paradies was one of 30 young Indigenous Australians to attend the Queen's Trust Indigenous Future Leaders' Program in Brisbane, held 7-14 April. The week long leadership program brought together Indigenous people between 21 and 30 years of age from differing backgrounds, and aimed to explore contemporary issues facing Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through syndicate discussions and a program of outstanding speakers addressing a range of public policy areas.

The program was opened by the Governer-General, Sir William Deane, and speakers included Noel Pearson, Aden Ridgeway, Patrick Dodson, Fred Chaney, Tim Costello, and Bob Collins. This was the first time the program was run specifically for Indigenous participants and was a huge success with everyone involved, learning a great deal and leaving with many new perspectives.


MAJOR PUBLICATION RELEASES

Directions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (free publication)

This free publication provides an overview of ABS' plans to meet the current and future needs for statistics on the Indigenous population. It is based on the outcome of extensive discussions with a wide range of ABS data users, the proposed ABS Indigenous survey strategy, initiatives for improving the quality of administrative data collections and development of the 2001 ABS Population Census.

A copy of the publication can be found on the ABS web site, via Themes, then Indigenous links, or by contacting the NCATSIS office on (08) 8943 2190 or 1800 633 216 (outside of Darwin), or email: ncatsis@abs.gov.au

Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Australia, 1999. (ABS Cat. no. 4710.0), Cost: $24.00

Released on 27 April, this publication provides information from the National Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey, conducted from August to October, 1999. The publication presents summary information from all known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations that own or manage community housing, including the condition and size of community houses, repairs and maintenance expenditure, and rent collected. It also presents summary information on infrastructure resources such as water, electricity, sewerage, drainage, solid waste disposal, transport, communication, education, health, and community facilities, for all discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It also contains maps showing the distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing organisations and discrete communities across Australia. Information is presented at both national, and State/Territory levels.

Further analysis of data and production of customised tables will be carried out by NCATSIS, with results disseminated over the next 12 months. Enquiries regarding specific data requests to Kevin Beere, (08) 8943 2141 or email: kevin.beere@abs.gov.au, Rod Silburn, (08) 8943 2191 or email: rod.silburn@abs.gov.au, and Matthew Stevens, (08) 8943 2168 or email: matthew.stevens@abs.gov.au

Occasional Paper: Mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS Cat. no. 3315.0) Cost: $22.00 - also freely available on the ABS Web Site

This publication, authored by Joan Cunningham and Yin Paradies, describes the mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the three-year period, 1995-97. Most data presented are from Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory combined, as these jurisdictions were believed to have the most complete coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths during the period of interest. The process used by the ABS to assess completeness of coverage is also described in detail in the publication.

Occasional Paper: Hospital Statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS Cat. no. 4711.0) Cost: $21.00 - also freely available on the ABS Web Site

Due for release at the end of May, this publication, authored by Joan Cunningham and Mary Beneforti, provides information about the reasons for which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are hospitalised, the characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are hospitalised, the procedures which are performed on them in hospital, and how this compares with the rest of the Australian population. Information will be presented at Australia and State/Territory geographic levels for public and private hospitals.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ADMINISTRATIVE STATISTICS PROJECT

Administrative statistics are produced as a by-product of the data collected routinely by a range of organisations. Examples of administrative data include hospitals records, birth and death registrations, school enrolments and government payments. NCATSIS staff are working with a number of organisations to improve the data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are captured. Improved data collections through administrative sources will provide information vital to planning and decision-making processes, and in informing community debate.

Births and deaths data:
Data will be available in ABS publications, Deaths Australia, Catalogue number 3302.0 and Births Australia, Catalogue number 3301.0, later this year. For more information on births and deaths collections, please contact the ABS representative in your state:

NSWMichael Overall (02) 9268 4495 or email:
michael.overall@abs.gov.au
QldRon Casey (07) 3222 6312 or email:
ron.casey@abs.gov.au
SAMike Stratton (08) 8237 7414 or email:
m.stratton@abs.gov.au
WAChris Spencer (08) 93605237 or email:
chris.spencer@abs.gov.au
NTTracey Brandrup (08) 8943 2152 or email: tracey.brandrup@abs.gov.au
VicJames Darragh (03) 9615 7476 or email:
james.darragh@abs.gov.au
ACTJohn Connor (02) 6207 0244 or email: john.connor@abs.gov.au
TasKeith Churchill (03) 6222 5832 or email:
keith.churchill@abs.gov.au

Hospitals:
Work continues on the implementation of best practice guidelines in the collection of Indigenous status information from Hospitals, by assisting with training for data collectors and health administrators, public awareness raising and continued assessment of data quality. For more information contact Jenny Davis on (08) 8943 2193 or email jenny.davis@abs.gov.au

Community Services:
Work is currently being carried out promoting principles and standards associated with community services collections. For further details contact Peter Chandler on (08) 89432199, or e-mail: peter.chandler@abs.gov.au

Centrelink:
NCATSIS staff member Kevin Beere is liaising with Centrelink to improve the quality of Indigenous data recording. The work includes a training program to be delivered to Centrelink staff. For information contact Kevin on (08) 8943 2141 or email: kevin.beere@abs.gov.au

TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STATISTICS

In recent years, there has been a growing demand from Torres Strait Islander people and organisations for estimates of the size of the Torres Strait Islander population as separate from the Aboriginal population. To meet some of this need, the ABS has offered to produce experimental estimates of the Torres Strait Islander population for census years. In the first instance estimates will be produced as at 30 June 1996. Estimates will be produced by age groups and sex. For more information contact Phil Browning on (02) 6252 7083.


2001 CENSUS: ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ENUMERATION STRATEGY

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enumeration Strategy (IES) for the 2001 Census is currently being finalised. The IES consists of a collection strategy for enumerating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in both nominated discrete communities and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, and of Census awareness activities targeted at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The proposed IES for 2001 is based on the experience of previous Census strategies and has been modified in light of evaluation of the 1996 Enumeration. Important components of the strategy remain: the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wherever possible, and the continued use of specially designed forms to conduct the Census in discrete communities. It is anticipated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enumeration will be more fully integrated with the standard collection than it has been in the past. Strategies will also be put in place for homeless enumeration and ethnic enumeration.

For more information, contact Kevin Beere on (08) 8943 2141 or email: kevin.beere@abs.gov.au


RECENT PUBLICATIONS (contact NCATSIS to order)

NCATSIS Publications

The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ABS Cat.no. 4704.0)

This publication is the second edition in a biennial series of reports which provides a comprehensive statistical overview, largely at national level, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and welfare. An executive summary of this publication is available on the ABS Web Site.

Assessing the Quality of Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Hospital Data (Free publication)

Examines the completeness of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in hospital separation data. The publication also outlines the method used to assess quality of data collections, caveats associated with the procedure, and an Interviewer training package.


NCATSIS CONSULTANCY SERVICE

NCATSIS provides a statistical consultancy service to clients including the production of customised tables and maps from the Censuses of Population and Housing over the period 1971 to 1996. Data are also available from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey. Please ring Rod Silburn on (08) 8943 2191 or email: rod.silburn@abs.gov.au or Matthew Stevens on (08) 8943 2168 or email: matthew.stevens@abs.gov.au with any enquiries.


OTHER SELECTED ABS PUBLICATIONS

Health

Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1997, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Cat. no. 4704.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1999, 1995 National Health Survey: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, Australia, Cat. no. 4806.0, ABS, Canberra.

Cunningham J & Mackerras D, 1998, Occasional Paper: Overweight and Obesity, Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4702.0, ABS, Canberra.

Cunningham J, 1997, Occasional Paper: Cigarette Smoking among Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4701.0, ABS, Canberra.

Cunningham J, Sibthorpe B, Anderson I, 1997, Occasional Paper: Self-assessed Health Status, Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4707.0, ABS, Canberra.

Anderson P, Bhatia K & Cunningham J, 1996, Occasional Paper: Mortality of Indigenous Australians, Cat no. 3315.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1996, 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Health of Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4395.0, ABS Canberra.


Education, Training and Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics and Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, 1996, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Employment Outcomes for Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4199.0, ABS, Canberra.

Daly, A.1995, Occasional Paper: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Australian Labour Market, 1986 and 1991, ABS Cat no 6253.0, ABS, Canberra.


Social

Ross K, 1999, Occasional Paper: Population Issues, Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4708.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1998, 1996 Census of Population and Housing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, Australia, Cat. no. 2034.0 - 2034.8 (States & Territories), ABS, Canberra.

Mukherjee S, Carcach C, McDonald D, Barnes T, 1998, Occasional Paper: Law and Justice Issues, Indigenous Australians, Cat. no. 4189.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1997, Population Distribution, Indigenous Australians, 1996, Cat. no. 4705.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1997, 1996 Census of Population and Housing: Indigenous Profiles, Cat. no. 2020.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1996, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Australia's Indigenous Youth, Cat. no. 4197.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1996, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Housing Characteristics and Conditions ,Cat 4187.0, ABS, Canberra.



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