Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
Newsletters - National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics (NCCRS) - March 2006



In reflecting on this past year, I am pleased to say that, in addition to the usual work of pushing out statistics, NCCRS staff had a busy year getting to meetings, conferences and seminars to meet with data users. We have had productive regular meetings with key clients, as well as conference papers, workshops and user consultations of various kinds. This trend will continue in 2006, with a number of large consultation processes either underway or being planned.

As this newsletter goes to press, we will have written to over 300 arts and cultural heritage organisations and individual researchers to get feedback on the priority research issues in this field. Soon after, we will consult major national and state government museums, libraries and archives to gauge the feasibility of developing data standards in this area. More details about these projects can be found in this newsletter.

We are also in the early stages of planning a consultation process to obtain feedback on a draft sport and physical activity conceptual model. We hope (perhaps somewhat ambitiously) that this model will ultimately settle the debate on defining such concepts as 'sport', 'physical recreation', and 'exercise'. This consultation process will engage with the sport, recreation and health research community and particularly those interested in physical activity measures.

In addition, over the last year, I have been involved in an ABS priority project to assess data needs in relation to migrant statistics. This has involved extensive consultations with key agencies dealing with migration and migrant settlement issues. Progress has been made to establish a new unit within the ABS to address the need for migrant and ethnicity statistics. Initially, staff in this team will be researching the availability of data sources - in this newsletter there is a call for assistance if you are aware of any relevant migrant or ethnicity data sources.

Given the level of consultation we are planning in 2006, it is very likely that you will be hearing more from us through the year. I would like to encourage your participation in these various consultation processes. As normal, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time. We are always keen to hear from you.

Lisa Conolly

Back to top


The NCCRS, in partnership with the Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group (CMCSWG), is seeking to improve statistical and research information to support informed decision making and community debate across the arts and cultural heritage field. A key issues paper has been prepared to assess our current priorities and decide future directions. The paper identifies policy issues, potential research questions and useful data sources. A questionnaire accompanies the paper and seeks feedback regarding whether we have correctly identified the broad issues and questions, and what the priorities for arts and cultural heritage research and statistics in Australia should be.

The key issues paper and feedback questionnaire have recently been emailed to government arts agencies, peak bodies, community arts networks, city councils, regional bodies and researchers across Australia. Comments are requested by 7 April. After we have compiled all feedback, the paper will be reviewed and priorities determined in consultation with CMCSWG. Decisions will be made on actions, including further analyses, and an "Information Development Plan for the Arts and Cultural Heritage" will be prepared. The plan will be subject to regular review to include new data sources and identify changes in policy priorities and data needs.

If you would like a copy of the key issues paper and the feedback questionnaire - or if you have any questions about this project - please contact Sue McKay on (08) 8237 7394 or email <>.

Back to top


The Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group (CMCSWG), in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has initiated a project to develop data standards for major cultural institutions (i.e. museums, art museums, libraries and archives).

A draft project plan was prepared and the October 2005 meeting of CMCSWG endorsed the project in principle. CMCSWG has agreed to provide funding from 2006-07, but only if there is support for the project from the Collections Council of Australia Ltd, and the major cultural institutions.

The results of a pilot study of NSW institutions (undertaken in 2005) showed that there are a wide range of data items which may be amenable to the development of standards. The institution staff who participated expressed support for the project, as did two Victorian institutions that were consulted separately. These institutions indicated a willingness to develop the coordination and standardisation of their data. They wish to improve data quality and enable comparability across like services and/or institutions both nationally and, in some cases, internationally.

The project was considered by the Collections Council at its recent Board meeting (28 February 2006) and received 'in principle' support. There was agreement that further consultation should proceed with the institutions themselves. This will occur during March.

If you are interested to find out more about this project, please contact Jenny Dobak on (08) 8237 7317 or by emailing <>.

Back to top


Papers on participation in sport and leisure activities by children and participation in sport and physical activities by adults were presented late last year - at the National Physical Activity conference in Melbourne in October, and at the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand conference in Canberra in November, respectively.

The paper on children's participation in organised sport was summarised in the August 2005 newsletter. The analysis found that socioeconomic indicators have a noticeable association with levels of participation as, to a lesser extent, do the age and sex of the child. For adults, a similar analysis of data from the 2002 General Social Survey showed that a range of indicators were associated with participation. People were less likely to participate in sport and physical activity if they
  • had poor proficiency in English
  • had below average self-assessed health status
  • were females aged 25-44
  • were aged over 45, whether male or female
  • had little social contact or access to transport.

The conference papers are available at:
The Young and the Restful (Re-visited) - The Effects of Recreational Choices and Demographic Factors on Children's Participation in Sport. and Sport and Related Recreational Physical Activity - The Social Correlates of Participation and Non-Participation by Adults. Further information about the conference papers may be obtained from Mike Stratton on (08) 8237 7399 or by emailing <>.

Back to top


A research paper reviewing and summarising the literature on barriers to and motives for participation in sport and physical activity will be released shortly. The review was undertaken to assist in developing the additional questions on participation in sport and physical activity included in the 2005-06 Multi-Purpose Household Survey. Key messages from the review are that
  • different people and different groups of people have different reasons for participating
  • reasons can change over time, including very short periods of time
  • barriers can be definite obstructions (e.g. an injury preventing or restricting participation) but they can also be related to attitudes or priorities (e.g. simply being "not interested" or having "insufficient time")
  • motives for participation are particularly difficult to measure as they include poorly defined and overlapping reasons such as "well-being", "enjoyment" and "social reasons".

A conclusion from the review is that quantitative surveys can provide information to give some insight into reasons for participation and non-participation, but more in-depth qualitative research involving personal interviews may be required before the issues can be more fully understood.

Further information on research into barriers and motives may be obtained from Mike Stratton on (08) 8237 7399 or by emailing <>.

Back to top


The 2003-04 Household Expenditure Survey collected detailed information about the expenditure and income of households resident in private dwellings throughout Australia. The results of this survey were released in August 2005. From these results, NCCRS has subsequently extracted data relating specifically to expenditure on sports and physical recreation products and presented the data in a brief report.

Some of the main findings of the report are as follows:
  • The average expenditure by Australian households on all products during 2003-04 was $886.63 per week. Of this amount, $15.70 (1.8%) was spent on sports and physical recreation products.
  • Households outside the capital cities spent a higher percentage of their weekly income on sports and physical recreation (1.6%) than did capital-city households (1.3%).
  • Sports and physical recreation expenditure in South Australia fell behind that in other states and territories - $9.63 per week compared to $15.70 for Australia as a whole.
  • At constant prices, weekly expenditure on Health and fitness studio charges had increased since the 1998-99 survey, while expenditure on Sports facility hire charges had declined.
  • Both constant price expenditure, and the percentage of households incurring expenditure, had declined since the 1998-99 survey for Spectator admission fees to sport.

A copy of the report Household Expenditure on Sports and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2003-04 may be obtained from Colin Speechley on (08) 8237 7363 or by emailing <>.

Back to top


Besides extracting household expenditure data relating to sports and physical recreation products, NCCRS conducted a similar exercise with regard to culture products and presented the data in a spreadsheet.

The average weekly household expenditure on culture products during 2003-04 was $36.39 which was 4.1% of the total average weekly expenditure on all products.

Other main features of the culture expenditure spreadsheet are as follows:
  • At $49.52 and $47.46 respectively, the estimates of weekly culture expenditure for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory were appreciably higher than the estimates for the states. These ranged from $31.22 for Queensland to $39.76 for Victoria.
  • On average, Australian households spent $8.43 per week on Literature and a further $7.87 per week on Broadcasting, electronic media and film.

A copy of the household expenditure on culture spreadsheet may be obtained from Colin Speechley on (08) 8237 7363 or by emailing <>.

Back to top


Request for sources of data about migrants

The ABS is developing a Directory of Migrant Statistics. It is expected that this directory will provide researchers with a ready reference to Australian sources of statistical information (held by public, private or academic bodies) which relate to migrants and their descendants.

The ABS needs your help! If you are aware of any data sources which may be relevant, we would like to hear from you.

Suitable data sources would include statistical collections and administrative data, either directly related to migration issues or containing migrant-related variables such as Country of birth, Year/Period of Arrival, Citizenship, Ancestry, Language spoken at home and Birthplace of mother/father among others.

Please contact Simon McMahon on (08) 8237 7490 <> or Andrew Middleton on (08) 8237 7306 <> if you have any information about suitable data sources.

Release of National Health Survey data

Data from the triennial National Health Survey was released on 27 February 2006 in the publication National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4364.0) which is freely available on the ABS Web site. Along with a wealth of health-related data, this publication includes information about exercise levels, self-assessed health status and injuries (with sports-related injuries being separately identified).

Year Book Australia 2006 out now

The Year Book Australia 2006 is a comprehensive source of information about Australia. The latest issue is presented in one package with CD-ROM, making it great value for money. Order your copy online, or telephone 1300 135 070, and have your credit card details ready.

More free data now available online

You can now access the full range of electronic ABS data free of charge on

Download an expanded range of data from the ABS web site including

  • electronic publications (PDF and HTML based content)
  • Census Community Profiles down to Collection District level
  • time series spreadsheets
  • other spreadsheets and data cubes.

Printed copies of publications and Census maps are still available and can be purchased either online using our
e-commerce facility or by calling 1300 135 070.

New look for

The ABS web site has changed. We asked our web site users and, with their help, we've built a better site. The new design is easier for you to use and navigate.

The new look site provides
  • improved navigation - the introduction of consistent, global navigation and ‘Quick Links’
  • more meaningful terminology - clearer language to help you navigate
  • greater consistency
  • improved Search facility now available from every page.

Key features include
  • corporate information navigator
  • statistical information navigators
  • left-hand navigator - ’Quick links’
  • product and media releases
  • right-hand navigator - National Regional Profiles
  • right-hand navigator - other information.

More information is available at

Back to top


Email: <>
Culture Topics: Chris Giddings on (08) 8237 7326
Sport Topics: Colin Speechley on (08) 8237 7363
Director: Lisa Conolly on (08) 8237 7402
Fax: (08) 8237 7620

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

ABS Internet site: <>

Back to top

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.