1100.2 - Statistics Victoria, Mar 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/04/2009   
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What's happening

Introducing Mary Cavar as new VSAF chair

The Victorian Statistical Advisory Forum (VSAF) welcomes Mary Cavar as its new Chair. Mary chaired the first VSAF meeting on 7 April 2009. She is currently an Assistant Director in the Economic & Financial Policy Division of Department of Treasury & Finance (DTF), Victoria.  She is responsible for macroeconomic forecasting and fiscal strategy. This role involves significant use of economic and public finance statistics. Mary has been in this role for about three years, and prior to joining DTF worked for the Reserve Bank of Australia in their Economic Analysis Department.  Mary has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from University of Melbourne, and is currently half way through an Executive Masters of Public Administration from the Australian & New Zealand School of Government. We look forward to working with Mary, to ensure that VSAF continues to play a central role in the engagement model between ABS and Victorian State Government.

National Regional Profile

The National Regional Profile (NRP) presents a range of data for various types of small area regions across Australia. Data are available for Local Government Areas, Statistical Local Areas and other larger geographies. The NRP is intended for users interested in the characteristics of regions and in comparing regions across Australia. Data are presented as a five year time series, where available.

Life expectancy at birth

Some highlights of life expectancy at birth for people born in Victoria during 2002-06 include:
    • boys had a life expectancy of 79.3 years,
    • girls had a life expectancy of 84.0 years,
    • the highest life expectancy for a male was in Nilumbik Local Government Area (82.8 years) and the lowest in Loddon (74.4 years), and
    • the highest life expectancy for a female was in Melbourne (C) (87.9 years) and the lowest in Glenelg and Hepburn (both 81.5 years).

More information about life expectancy at birth is presented in the December quarter 2008 issue of 'State and Regional Indicators, Victoria' (cat. no. 1367.2), using data sourced from the Department of Human Services, Victoria. This publication contains Victorian data on a wide variety of subjects, with some data at LGA level.

For further information contact Mizan Laskar on (03) 9615 7806 or email <victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au>

Comparing unemployment and the claimant count

A number of sources of useful information exist to inform analysts about people without work and people receiving assistance to enter the labour force. ABS's monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) has provided the official measure for employment and unemployment since February 1978, using definitions recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Another important source of data is compiled by the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and relates to a count of Labour Market Payment (LMP) recipients. Comparisons are sometimes made between the official unemployment estimates produced by ABS and the claimant count produced by DEEWR. While both series have tended to move broadly in line with each other over time, the two measures differ in many ways.

A feature article in 'Australian Labour Market Statistics, Jan 2009' (cat no 6105.0) 'Comparing unemployment and the claimant count' explores key differences between the two measures. In 2007, there were an estimated 478,300 unemployed people compared with 321,800 job seekers receiving labour market payments.Jobless families

Also in 'Australian Labour Market Statistics, Jan 2009' was an article on jobless families. Using the measure 'parent/s not employed', 12% of all families with children under 15 years are jobless, while 44% of lone parent families and 4% of couple families are jobless. There are more couple families (1,797,800) in Australia than lone parent families (459,500); however, there are more jobless lone parent families (203,700) than jobless couple families (74,800).

Review of Labour Force Survey design

ABS is currently conducting a review of the Labour Force Survey, including survey outputs, survey rotation pattern, and survey design. This review has been prompted by quality limitations of some of the more detailed survey data. This review will explore the possibility of releasing key aggregate data monthly, and remaining data on a quarterly basis. This would allow ABS to reduce the number of products currently being released, while still producing high quality estimates for key series.

Before undertaking any changes, ABS will be producing a discussion paper in the next few months, which will consider different output strategies. The paper's aim is to generate discussion among clients as part of the consultation process. If you are interested in the changes being proposed and would like a copy of the discussion paper, please contact us on (02) 6252 7206 or email <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.

Measuring the Progress of Australian Communities: Community Indicators Summit, Brisbane, July 2009

ABS is pleased to be hosting a Community Indicators Summit in Brisbane during 22-23 July, 2009. The Summit will provide a unique opportunity for those interested in community based indicators to share learnings, exchange ideas and strategies, and report on advancements in the field of community indicators in Australia and internationally.

A discussion is occurring around the world about the need to move 'beyond GDP', to a more comprehensive view of societal progress that takes into account social and environmental concerns as well as economic ones. As a result, hundreds of initiatives are underway around the world relating to measuring progress and wellbeing at the international, national and sub-national levels.

The Summit aims to:
  • promote a more coordinated, coherent and consistent approach to development of community indicators across Australia;
  • establish a national network of community indicators practitioners as part of an evolving National Statistical Service; and
  • engage community indicator practitioners with on-going development of ABS's publication 'Measuring Australia's Progress'.

The conference program will feature practical workshops to explore current issues in development and application of community indicators. The summit is being held in cooperation with the OECD-hosted “Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies”. Summit outcomes will be presented at the 3rd World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge, and Policy which will focus on 'Charting progress, building visions, and improving life'; to be held in Busan, Korea during 27-30 October, 2009.

For further information use the link above, contact Jeanette Cotterill (02) 6252 7819 or email: <inquiries@nss.gov.au>.New survey - Creative Participation in Selected Cultural Activities

ABS's National Centre for Cultural and Recreational Statistics (NCCRS) is currently developing a new survey to collect information about adult creative participation in selected cultural activities. At this stage, ABS anticipates the survey will collect information about people aged 15 years and over regarding their 'hobby' participation. While the list of data items has not yet been finalised, the survey will attempt to cover activities such as performing arts, visual arts, writing and design.

This new survey will replace a previous survey 'Work in selected cultural and leisure activities', and has been designed to fill an identified gap in our culture and recreation statistics. The survey is scheduled to go into the field in April 2010, with data available in December 2010. For more information please contact Jenny Dobak on (08) 8237 7317.

October 2009 State Supplementary Survey: Household Water and Energy Use and Conservation

In October 2009, ABS will conduct a survey on Household Water and Energy Use and Conservation, as a supplementary component to its monthly Labour Force Survey. Data from this survey will present information on the barriers to energy and water efficiency and other climate change related behaviour relevant to households in different income groups. The survey will also provide information about purchasing habits of households and whether they are taking environmental issues into account.

For more information on this survey, contact Sophie Vassiliou on (03) 9615 7442.

Australian Statistical Geography Standard Review - Proposed SA2 boundaries for Victoria

ABS will replace the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). The ASGS will be available from late 2010 and become effective from 1 July 2011.

In creating a new Australian statistical geography, ABS aims to better meet the contemporary needs of users and address some of the ASGC's shortcomings. Regions of the ASGS, their codes and labels will be designed over the next two years. The first will be Statistical Area 2s (SA2s), as these have emerged as a key level in the ABS Main Structure. They are the level for which the majority of ABS sub-state intercensal data will be available.

Consultation on SA2 design and implementation is presently underway. A seminar on this subject was held in Melbourne on 26 March 2009. For more information on this review, contact Darren Hossack, ABS Geography in Canberra (02) 6252 5284. ABS Victoria planning for 2011 Census

The five-yearly Population Census is a huge logistical undertaking with many challenges such as:
  • counting vulnerable groups accurately (homeless, Indigenous peoples and migrants),
  • overcoming physical barriers (secure apartment buildings, snowfields and isolated dwellings), and
  • finding the resources to support operations (recruitment of census collectors, access to meeting rooms for public awareness presentations and training).

A key aspect of ABS Victoria's 2011 Census planning is the Census Engagement Strategy, which aims to increase support for the Census across the community to achieve the best possible count. Over the coming year, ABS staff will be visiting various parts of Victoria to gather local intelligence and share ideas for addressing challenges in field collection. We will be seeking opportunities to work with organisations and community groups to progress this strategy.

In addition, a small team from ABS Victoria will be examining state geography as part of the design of Census collector workloads from mid-2009. This team may be in contact with various government agency planning areas, real estate companies, property developers and other holders of information to discuss recent building approvals, land developments and other impacts on dwelling counts.

Census data play a central role in determining funding allocations to local governments and is an important resource for planning carried out by governments, organisations and individuals. ABS contact with local representatives in Victoria will help produce statistics that are accurate and paint a clear picture of communities.

For further information contact Lana Condie on (03) 9615 7520 or email victoria.statistics@abs.gov.au. Link to Census Engagement brochure.

What shape is your data in? Healthy habits for data managers

The 2009 National Statistical Seminar Series kicked off in early March with ABS's Simon Wall explaining the value of metadata in statistical collections and achieving business outcomes. 'Keeping your data in good shape: Healthy habits for Australia's statistical resources' was delivered to an audience of around 60 members of the National Statistical Service (NSS) community representing numerous government departments. The seminar, followed by a panel discussion, covered what some organisations have been doing to realise the benefits of metadata management, how metadata management has helped achieve business goals, and the impact on business. These real-world case studies were accompanied by an introduction to some simple principles for success.

The presentation forms part of a larger body of work being done by NSS Leadership Branch (ABS) to make statistical concepts, like metadata, simple and easy to understand. Data fitness is increasingly important for data managers because maintaining data value ensures that, for example, data has the ability to be repurposed. Access the case studies and principles here. For more information about future presentations and the NSS generally, contact Laura Neill on (02) 6252 6695, email <inquiries@nss.gov.au>.