Indigenous - Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey (CHINS) 2006

Development is underway for the next CHINS which will be conducted in 2006.

What is CHINS about?
The CHINS collects information about all Indigenous Housing Organisations (IHOs) and the dwellings they manage, as well as information about housing, water, sewerage, power supply, education, health and other services in all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

CHINS was first conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in 1999 and was later repeated in 2001 to coincide with the Census of Population and Housing. With the abolition of ATSIC, responsibility for Indigenous housing and infrastructure programs transferred to the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS), which now provides funding for CHINS.

FaCS has engaged the ABS to conduct the 2006 CHINS to help meet the need for information about the housing and infrastructure in Indigenous communities.

When is CHINS being collected?
All communities and IHOs will be surveyed between March and June 2006.

To minimise disruption in communities, CHINS visits to communities will be combined with visits to consult on arrangements for the 2006 Census of Population and Housing (the Census will be collected in August 2006).

Prior to ABS visiting communities, ABS will make telephone and written contact with communities seeking their voluntary assistance in supplying information for CHINS, advising in advance and in detail the information that will be requested.

During August-September 2005, ABS field interviewers will also visit a small sample of communities to identify areas of the survey that may need refining.

What type of questions are in the survey?
For communities, the survey will ask about:

  • housing
  • water supply and water quality
  • power supply and interruptions
  • drainage
  • solid rubbish disposal
  • sewerage facilities
  • transport (roads)
  • health and education services
  • communications
  • community facilities

For Indigenous organisations that own or manage housing, the survey will ask about:
  • housing income and expenditure
  • number and condition of dwellings

Who we need to talk to:
ABS interviewers will collect information from IHOs and community representatives, rather than from all members of the community. Interviews will be conducted with people such as the community council chairperson, council clerks, housing officers, water and essential services officers and health clinic administrators.

How the data will be used:
The information collected will be used by a range of Commonwealth, state and territory agencies for policy and program development. Housing, water, sewerage, power supply, education, health and other services are all important to the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. FaCS, state and territory agencies, Indigenous Communities and Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs) all need information about the conditions in Indigenous communities to plan for the services needed by the people living in those communities.

The information will provide service delivery agencies and policy makers with a better understanding of the needs of Indigenous communities. Information from the 2001 survey is currently being used to better direct government funding to communities most in need.

For example, FaCS has used the CHINS data to support the following:
  • Aboriginal Rental Housing Program (ARHP)
  • Community Housing Infrastructure Program (CHIP)
  • National Aboriginal Health Strategy projects (NAHS)
  • Fixing Houses for Better Health (FHBH).

The data collected from 2006 CHINS will be compared with data from the 2001 and 1999 surveys to track changes in housing and infrastructure circumstances in Indigenous communities. Information from CHINS 2006 will be available to communities to assist them in identifying significant issues for their region.

FaCS commitment to providers of data for the CHINS:
FaCS will store the information securely and will ensure that it is used only for the purposes for which it was collected. Use of the data will be governed by strict security and confidentiality protocols, and by written agreement to abide by these conditions.

CHINS publications and products:
A publication containing national, state and territory data from the 2006 CHINS is expected to be released in March 2007. Communities will each be provided with a summary statistical profile returning key CHINS data for their own community as well as a regional summary of CHINS information. Summary profiles will also be provided to Indigenous Housing Organisations returning their key CHINS data items to them.

Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Australia, 2001 (Cat. no. 4710.0)
This publication presents results from the 2001 CHINS.
Main Features
Publication Information

For further information:
If you would like more information about CHINS please contact the ABS Indigenous and General Surveys Section on 1800 022 973.