Year Book Australia is the principal reference work produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It provides a comprehensive and detailed statistical overview of various aspects of the economy and social conditions in Australia. In addition, it contains descriptive matter dealing with Australia’s geography and climate, government, international relations, defence, education, and the health and welfare support systems.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and its predecessor, the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, have been providing a statistical service to the Australian, state and territory governments and to the Australian community for more than 100 years.
The first Official Year Book of the Commonwealth was published in 1908, although individual Australian states and colonies had been producing year books for several decades previously.
This 88th edition of Year Book Australia has a major theme of Australia's deserts, marking the declaration by the General Assembly of the United Nations of 2006 as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification. The ABS invited four authors who are experts in their area of interest to contribute to the feature article, Australia's deserts, in this edition. The article addresses three related aspects of Australia's deserts - climate; archaeology and environmental history; and flora and fauna. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research has also contributed an article, outlining the role the Australian Government is playing in assisting countries combat desertification. I am very grateful to these authors for their contributions.
The statistics contained in this edition are the most recent available at the time of its preparation. In many cases, the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au> and the web sites of other organisations provide access to more recent statistics. The ABS Catalogue of Publications and Products (1101.0) lists all current publications of the ABS. The enclosed CD-ROM provides an electronic version of the 2006 Year Book and the publications catalogue.
Further information on the operations of government and non-government organisations referred to in this edition of the Year Book, including their administrative and legislative background, may be obtained from their individual web sites, the addresses of which are provided throughout and at the end of chapters of the Year Book.
ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated.
Particular thanks and appreciation are extended to those Australian Government and other organisations which have kindly supplied material for inclusion in this edition of the Year Book.
I also take the opportunity to extend my thanks to the many ABS staff who contributed to the preparation and production of Year Book Australia 2006.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
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