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What's happening in Victoria
Inaugural NatStats Conference
The NatStatso8 conference was designed to connect users and producers of official statistics and provide an opportunity for participants to discuss strategies for improving statistics for policy and decision makers. The conference, held in Melbourne 19-21 November 2008, had 460 registered attendees from government, business, community and research sectors; with 80 coming from a range of Victorian agencies. Enrico Giovannini (OECD Chief Statistician) attended along with delegations from South Korea, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and right around Australia.
The conference's focus was measuring progress in Australian society and future information needs. The conference was divided into three main themes: informing the nation, measuring the progress of society, and informing the environment debate. There was also a showcase session that demonstrated information platforms and State planning initiatives. The conference is linked with a global initiative being led by the OECD on measuring progress in societies, and with Australian initiatives being developed through the 2020 Summit and National Reform Agenda.
One of the major conference outcomes was tabling a Statistical Declaration to guide development of a national statistics strategy for Australia in the 21st century, available on <www.nss.gov.au>.
Victorian Statistics Advisory Forum meeting 9 Dec 2008
The Victorian Statistics Advisory Forum (VSAF) met on 9 December 2008, marking the end of an era with Mr Vin Martin's retirement as Chair. Mr Martin has held this position since June 2004. Mr Martin was thanked for his significant and lasting contribution to the Victorian statistical community. Three new VSAF members were welcomed, and departing members Ms Jane Brockington (DPC), Mr John Lang (DoJ) and Ms Peggy Hausknecht (DPCD) thanked for their contribution.
Mr Carl Obst (Regional Director, ABS Victoria) provided an overview of recent ABS activity. He noted the successful NatStats Conference held in Melbourne on 19-21 November, drawing attention to the conference's major output, the Statistical Declaration, which will act to guide development of a national statistics strategy for Australia in the 21st century. Mr Obst then discussed ABS's submission to the Victorian Parliament's Inquiry Into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, with key items being pricing and cost recovery strategies for ABS data, governance of the National Statistical Service, ABS involvement in Creative Commons, and ABS involvement in supporting development of privacy frameworks and metadata. Finally, he reported back on the 2011 Census State and Territory Engagement Forum held on 4 September 2008, highlighting that early engagement with State and Local Governments was identified and supported as a key strategy for delivering a successful 2011 Census.
Mr Martin, Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC) representative, provided a report on the 28-29 November 2008 ASAC meeting. Issues discussed included the ABS budget situation, 2011 Census funding, data linking, statistics and innovation, potential impact of the global financial crisis on expectations of ABS output, and consideration of potential future demands that ABS may face in regards to climate change, in particular carbon trading and price index for household consumption. Mr Martin also provided an update on the State Statistical Forum (SSF) of 26 November 2008.
Mr Phillip Norman (Vic Department of Transport) presented a report on Australian Transport Statistics Network (ATSN). The ATSN is composed of stakeholders from ABS; Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics; and Transport and Roads agencies from each state: with an aim to lift the quality of transport statistics by employing a more collaborative approach. Three main areas have been highlighted initially as areas for progress: validation of Survey of Motor Vehicle Usage (SMVU) estimates; developing a common methodology for different jurisdictions so that freight surveys can be compared; and a collaborative ABS and Department of Transport approach to confront interim modelling of SMVU.
The VSAF discussion theme was Improving Indigenous Statistics for Victoria, with a number of speakers from different Victorian State Government Departments presenting and leading discussion. Ms Helen Trihas and Ms Camille Kingston (Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; DoJ) spoke of their agency's initiatives to improve Indigenous identification. Mr Paul Robertson (Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs, DPCD) discussed whole of Government approaches to improving Indigenous statistics and Ms Mary Sullivan (Koori Human Services Unit, Dept Human Services) outlined initiatives to improve Indigenous identification in health statistics.
For further information on VSAF contact Pam Boulton on (03) 9615 7880 or email <email@example.com>.
State Statistical Forum Workshop
The State Statistical Forum (SSF) meets twice annually, usually in March and November, and comprises State and Territory Government representatives only. ABS organises the agenda for the March meeting while State Government provides the agenda for the November. The SSF meeting held on 26 November 2008 was hosted by NSW with Victoria agreeing to undertake this role in 2009.
The November 2008 meeting covered four projects being undertaken to address common State/Territory statistical priorities:
The workshop also included a presentation by Dr Lee Taylor (NSW Health) on administrative data and potential for data linking to add richness to administrative datasets, discussion on advancing Census 2011 in the States, and two topics put forward by Queensland Government. The first of these was the need for State and Territory input-output tables which are required for modelling purposes, with the meeting resolving that Queensland undertake a coordination role with regard to construction of regional tables. The second topic was development of the Government Information Licensing Framework in Queensland and its impact on state, national and international public sector information reuse policy.
For more information about the SSF contact James Darragh on (03) 9615-7049, or email <firstname.lastname@example.org> .
Childhood Education and Care Survey
To specifically meet data needs for early years learning, a new Childhood Education and Care Survey was conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey in June 2008. It examined participation in early childhood education in both preschool and child care settings. The survey will also allow assessment of demand for preschool programs and provide information on communication of learning outcomes to parents. This survey will provide a timely picture of early childhood education, to inform debate in this area. It is planned to continue the survey every three years, as an integrated child care and education survey. Results from the 2008 survey are due for release in April 2009.
Survey of Education and Training 2009
The four yearly Survey of Education and Training will next be conducted from March to June 2009, with results available in early 2010. It has been redeveloped to take into account a number of recent information demands. In particular, a new module is being added about individuals’ education and work history, to provide a more useful analysis of direct links between educational participation and attainment and outcomes in terms of labour force participation and occupation. Collection of information about formal, non-formal and informal learning activities will enable international comparisons with other mainly European countries that have also implemented the OECD Continuing Education and Training module.
Review of ABS Industry Statistics Program
ABS is conducting a review of its industry statistics program and seeking input from users of these statistics to help shape the future work program. One aim of the review is to ensure that information on industry performance is provided for all industries in the economy, while remaining responsive to users' needs for more detailed information for specific industries. ABS is seeking advice and views from users on priorities in terms of industries and/or data items, particularly as they relate to development, implementation and monitoring of specific government policy. The feedback and recommendations received will help ABS to determine data needs and frequency of industry statistic collections. This information will assist design of the industry statistics program from 2010-11 onwards.
For more information about this review, contact Sophie Vassiliou on (03) 9615 7442 or email <email@example.com> before 30 January 2009.
Reinstatement of full monthly Retail Trade sample
The Australian Statistician, Brian Pink announced on 5 November, 2008 that ABS will reinstate the full monthly sample for the Retail Business Survey. The Statistician recognised that global developments over recent months had heightened public interest in government action to support the economy and consequently, there was closer scrutiny of economic data. In addition, key macroeconomic statistics users had indicated that more robust monthly retail trade data are their top priority for improved economic statistics.
Whilst month-on-month changes in retail sales are difficult to measure reliably, even with the best of survey designs and robust samples, reinstating the full monthly sample will reduce some of that uncertainty. At this stage it is expected that results from the reinstated sample will be available in early-2009.
Further information about reinstatement of the full monthly Retail trade sample will be included in coming issues of Retail Trade Trends, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) and Retail Trade Quarterly Indicators, Australia (cat. no 8502.0).
Proposed data items for 2010 household Survey of Water Use and Conservation
ABS runs an Environmental household survey to collect a range of statistics used to monitor the economic and social well being of Australian households, their patterns of consumption, and consumer behaviours which affect the environment. The survey focuses on three major themes that are rotated over three years: energy use and conservation, waste management and transport use, and water use and conservation. The theme for March 2010 is Water Use and Conservation and survey results will be published in late-2010 as 'Environmental Issues: Water Use and Conservation'.
A year prior to running each survey, ABS's Centre of Environment and Energy Statistics reviews and updates data items included in the last cycle to ensure relevance. The review process is usually conducted with data users, and ABS seeks comments or suggestions on proposed data items. Proposals for new questions and reasons for their inclusion are also appreciated and welcomed. Please be aware when framing your suggestions, that changes in existing questions can often result in a loss of time series.
For a data item list or to discuss any aspect of the survey, please contact Fiona Clarke on (02) 6252 5180 or Bonn Maguire on (02) 6252 5716, or email <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Respond by 20 February 2009 for consideration in the current review process.
Victorian household preparedness for emergencies
Emergency services organizations aim to reduce the number of emergency events through prevention activities, and reduce the impact of emergency events through community and operational preparedness. To examine steps households had taken for emergencies, ABS conducted a survey of households during October 2007 in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory. The survey also investigated recent household experiences of emergencies. Some survey highlights follow:
More information can be found in State and Regional Indicators, Victoria, Sept 2008 (cat. no. 1367.2).
'Australian Labour Market Statistics, Oct 2008' (cat no 6105.0, released 03/10/2008) contained an article on Interstate Commuters, i.e. people who live in one state but work in another. The article used 2006 Census of Population and Housing data and relates to the main job of an individual in the week prior to Census. There is a brief analysis of where people are commuting from, destinations they are commuting to, and industries and occupations in which they are employed.
The mining industry accounted for 19% of commuters travelling to Western Australia to work and 13% of those travelling to South Australia. In the Northern Territory, 20% of persons who commuted there for work were employed in construction; while nationally, 9% of interstate commuters were employed in construction.
In 2006, 4% of all employed people living in the Australian Capital Territory commuted interstate for work in the week prior to the Census, followed by those living in New South Wales (2%) and Northern Territory (2%). In terms of numbers, New South Wales had the largest number commute outside the state to work (48,300, mostly to ACT), followed by Victoria (20,200) and Queensland (15,500).
The Australian Capital Territory received proportionally more interstate commuters than any other state or territory: 12% of people working in ACT were usual residents of another state or territory. These people commuted into Canberra from nearby Queanbeyan, Yass and adjacent semi-rural areas of New South Wales. New South Wales received the largest number of interstate commuters (30,000), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (22,500), Victoria (17,900) and Queensland (16,900).
ABS Service Delivery Charter 2008-2011
ABS is committed to increasing access to Australia's wealth of statistical information. We do this by delivering timely, relevant and accurate statistical information, the use of which contributes to informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments, businesses, and Australian and international communities.
Our website presents ABS data free of charge, and is supported by a telephone enquiry service to assist customers accessing our data. More complex data requirements are met through customised data consultancy and microdata access services that provide expert assistance on a cost-recovery basis. We also contribute to the National Statistical System through our involvement in the National Data Network, which provides a distributed library of data holdings relevant to policy analysis and research; and the standardised business reporting program designed to reduce the load on providers of information to government.
This Charter (cat no 1007.0) outlines our commitment to providing a quality customer service, specifying what you can expect when you approach us for statistical or other information through any of our service channels. ABS seeks to continually improve our customer service. We recognise and greatly appreciate the support of individuals and organisations who contribute to the ongoing wealth of statistical information about our nation by participating in ABS surveys. It is only with your assistance that ABS can continue to produce statistics that contribute to quality informed decision making.
ABS discontinues the Web address coder service
ABS has decided to discontinue the Web address coder service provided to clients by ABS, from 31 December, 2008. The cost of supporting the service was not justified given the small number of users utilising the service. ABS does not own the underlying intellectual property in the G-NAF address file or geocoding software, and incurs costs for their use.
ABS is continuing to make a Locality to SLA concordance file available at no charge on request. For geocoding addresses to smaller geographic areas such as CD or Mesh Block, address coding software (engine) is required.
There are a number of commercial and government alternatives available to users:
ABS can provide further advice should clients require it. Please contact <email@example.com> by email.
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