1376.0 - Local Government and ABS (Newsletter), Dec 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/12/2007   
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Newsletters - Local Government and ABS - Issue 20, December 2007

In this issue:

About this newsletter

'Local Government and ABS' is a quarterly newsletter published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to help the Local Government Sector use statistics to assist with planning and other community servicing decisions.

This is a free newsletter and we encourage you to forward it to others and post it on your bulletin board. Anyone is welcome to receive 'Local Government and ABS' - for details on how to subscribe to this newsletter see 'Newsletter and ABS Contact Details'.
NatStats 08 conference: Measuring societal progress

Preliminary planning for the ABS hosted NatStats 08 Conference is underway. This conference, to be held in November 2008, will connect users and producers of official statistics, and provide an opportunity for participants to discuss strategies for measuring progress in Australian society. The conference focus will be on improving the range and quality of official statistics for the nation.

The main theme for the conference will be "Working together for a better informed and performed Australian Society". Key note speakers are being identified who can discuss and debate issues in their area of expertise or can provide insight into measuring the progress of Australian society and the future development of national statistics.

The NatStats 08 Conference will be linked with the global initiative being led by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Measuring Societal Progress in the 21st Century. As part of this initiative, the OECD will be holding its third major international forum on Measuring the Progress of Societies, in Korea in mid 2009. The OECD World Forums are major events that provide an opportunity for collaboration between those who wish to measure, or assess, the progress of their society. The OECD World Forums attract politicians, policymakers and statisticians from around the globe. Previous forums were held in Pisa in 2005 and Istanbul in 2007 and the initiative is gaining a significant profile in many parts of the world.

We are also interested in hearing your suggestions on topics for the NatStats Conference program or perhaps you have an interesting or innovative case study which you would like to share with the statistical community. If you would like to share your ideas with us please email Mark Lound at inquiries@abs.gov.au or phone (02) 6252 6325.

Details of the conference will be included in future editions of Local Government and ABS newsletter and posted on the NSS website www.nss.gov.au.

Release of 'Patterns of internet access in Australia' publication

In recent years there has been a strong policy focus as well as community interest on internet access and its use in Australia. Policy makers are increasingly focussing on the economic and social impacts arising from the adoption and use of information and communication technology. People with less opportunity to access the Internet are generally believed to be disadvantaged socially and economically. On 29 November 2007, the ABS released the following publication examining the spatial distribution of the internet for the first time:

Patterns of internet access in Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 8146.0.55.001)

Based on data from the Census of Population and Housing 2006, this publication looks in particular at broadband access by households and individuals by region, including the influence of socio-demographic characteristics such as household income and major expenditure; family and household characteristics; education level; occupation; labour force and Indigenous status. The relationship of these variables to internet and broadband access are also explored using regression modelling and where possible, comparisons are made with 2001 Census and other related survey data.

Findings from these analyses include that regional and remote areas are less likely to have broadband access compared to those residing in major cities. Broadband access was also found to be lower for individuals on lower incomes, those with no post school qualifications, people who are unemployed, not in the labour force, and for various other socio-economic factors.
Fertility and mortality statistics for 2006 are now available

Detailed statistics for both live births and fertility, and deaths and mortality for 2006 were released by the ABS in two recent publications:

Births, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 3301.0)

Released on 29 October 2007, this publication presents statistics on live births and fertility for 2006, with analysis of related demographics such as male and female births, births of Indigenous children, age and birthplace of parents, duration of marriage, previous issue of the current relationship, nuptial and exnuptial births, single and multiple births, usual residence of mother (by state or territory), and regional comparisons. Also presented are comparisons of various rates and time series comparisons. Data are available for states and territories, Statistical Divisions, Statistical Local Areas and Local Government Areas.

Two feature articles of interest are also included, which are entitled 'Delayed Indigenous birth registrations in Australia' and 'How many children do Australian women have?'.

The publication highlights that Australia's total fertility rate increased to 1.81 babies per woman in 2006, compared to 1.79 in 2005, which is largely attributable to an increase in births for women aged 30 to 39 years. The median age of all mothers who gave birth in 2006 was 30.8 years, and for fathers was 33.1 years. Overall there were 265,900 births registered in Australia in 2006.

Deaths, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 3302.0)

This publication was released on 9 November 2007, and contains statistics on deaths and mortality for 2006. The number of deaths are classified by age, sex, birthplace, marital status, cause of death and usual residence of deceased by state or territory, and also information on infant deaths, deaths of Indigenous persons, age-specific death rates, expectation of life at birth and standardised death rates.

Data cubes on deaths are included for states and territories, Statistical Divisions, Statistical Local Areas and Local Government Areas. Death rates and life expectancy tables are also included for states and territories.

Of particular interest, the publication draws attention to the continual increase in life expectancy in Australia, with the life expectancy of a boy born today being 78.7 years, while for a girl 83.5 years. The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest life expectancy for both males and females in 2006, while the Northern Territory experienced the lowest life expectancy for both males and females in 2006. In 2006 there were 133,700 deaths in Australia.

Upcoming release of the National Regional Profile

The fourth edition of the National Regional Profile (NRP) is due for release in late February 2008. This edition spans the years 2002 to 2006 with data based on the geographical boundaries described in the 2006 edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC).

The NRP provides a brief statistical summary of key economic and social information for various levels of the ASGC including Statistical Local Areas and Local Government Areas (LGAs) making the NRP a useful tool for users of small area data.

Improvements in the February 2008 release

The upcoming release of the NRP will feature a number of improvements on the current edition (released in late 2006) including:

  • a new Welcome page to assist users in navigating through the site and in finding data;
  • examples, a 'how to' tutorial and a 'frequently asked questions' guide to assist users;
  • a data availability search facility for identifying what data are available for different years and regional levels;
  • improved mapping with the introduction of LGA maps in this edition (users will still have the option to search for the region of interest by map or by region name);
  • additional data series including: motor vehicle Census data, an expanded range of data on taxation and wage and salary earners, and commodity data from the 2006 Agricultural Census (note: Agricultural Census data will be added to the NRP in mid 2008).

For further information on the National Regional Profile please email: regional.statistics@abs.gov.au.

Update on Second Release 2006 Census Data

2006 Community Profiles and Census Tables

Updated 2006 Community Profiles and Census Tables were released on 27 November 2007 and are available for viewing free of charge on the ABS website. In this latest release the already existing Community Profiles and Census Tables were expanded to include second release Census data items and also Place of Enumeration and Time Series Profiles.

2006 Census Community Profiles and Census Table are available to view or download on the ABS website via the Census of Population and Housing homepage.

Census DataPacks

The ABS has released a CD-ROM product called Census DataPacks, which contain 2006 Census of Population and Housing Community Profile Data for all of Australia down to the Collection District level in comma-separated values (CSV) format and the matching digital boundary basemaps in generic Geographical Information System (GIS) format. Please note that there is no software included in this product and that Census DataPacks are a charged product.

For more information, or to order Census DataPacks contact the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or see the 'DataPacks Product Brief'.

Census Data Quality

The Census Data Quality page on the ABS website was updated on 15 November 2007, and provides Census data users with important information and updates on Census data quality issues as they arise. There are three components to this page:
  • Census Data Quality Declarations (includes information on the quality of Census Data);
  • Census Characteristics Documents (provides detailed information on each census characteristic); and
  • Census Data Updates and Corrections (provides an up to date list of known errors in Census data products and information on corrections).
What's happening in Local Government Finance?


Electronic forms for the annual data collection, conducted cooperatively by the ABS and the Department of Local Government and Local Government Grants Commission in each state and the Northern Territory, have now been dispatched for all jurisdictions. Whilst return due dates are different in each state, data for the earlier due date states have started to be received by the ABS via the Department of Local Government and the Grants Commission.

The main focus of the Local Government Statistical Unit (LGSU) over the next few months will be processing the data in time for use in the ABS National Accounts. Given the tight deadlines involved, the LGSU encourages all councils to return their forms to their respective Department of Local Government or Grants Commission at the earliest possible time. To assist in the quality assurance processes the LGSU performs on the data, the ABS would also encourage all councils to complete the relevant comments section of the form to report any unusual activity which has occurred.

The LGSU has now completed the quarterly survey of financial information for the September quarter 2007 cycle. The letters requesting data for the December quarter 2007 will be dispatched on 17 December 2007. The due date for councils to return the completed form is 9 January 2008. Once again, the form will request only a restricted range of data items but seeks a prompt response in order to ensure the financial activity of local government is accurately represented in Australia's National Accounts, which are prepared on a quarterly basis. As always ABS personnel are available to assist councils in completing the form where requirements are unclear. LGSU would like to thank all councils for promptly returning their previous quarter's form.

The LGSU would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a safe, happy and healthy Christmas and New Year. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2008.


For further information or inquiries about Local Government Statistics, contact the Local Government Statistical Unit on (07) 3222 6022.
Recent ABS Releases

What's New in Regional Statistics, Dec 2007 (cat. no. 1386.0)

Released on 5 December 2007, What's New in Regional Statistics is a biannual newsletter with a focus on regional and small area statistics. It also includes topical articles and reviews of relevant ABS publications and developments. In particular, it highlights developments in statistics relevant to regions, including metropolitan, urban, non-urban and rural areas, and other information of likely interest to researchers, policy makers and other users of small area data.

Regional Statistics, Northern Territory, 2007 (cat. no. 1362.7)

Released on 31 October 2007, this publication presents a statistical summary of key economic and social information for the Northern Territory (NT) as a whole and various regions within it, by Statistical Subdivision and Statistical Local Areas where available. It contains both current and historical data which is drawn from both ABS and non-ABS sources including: the Australian Tax Office, Territory Housing, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations' and the NT Department of Health and Community Services.

This publication includes information on population, employment, education and training, prices, income and expenditure, law and public safety, health, transport, housing and construction, agriculture and fisheries, mining and energy, tourism, imports and exports and government finance. Indigenous statistics are also included. Data are also available in a time series for the first time.

This latest release forms a key part of the ABS' strategy to improve the availability and range of regional statistical information. Its purpose is to give users an overview of the social, economic and environmental characteristics of the NT and its regions.

Building Approvals, Australia, Oct 2007 (cat. no. 8731.0)

Released on a monthly basis, Building Approvals, Australia, provides data by Statistical Local Area in datacubes, including:
  • the number and value of dwelling units approved by sector (public/private);
  • the number and value of new other residential dwelling units approved by type of building; and
  • the number and value of non-residential building jobs approved by type of building.

Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates by state are included for the number of dwelling units and value of building approved.

Australian Standard Geographical Classification, Jul 2007 (cat. no. 1216.0)

Released on 28 September 2007, Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is an annual publication outlining the geographical classification system designed and maintained by the ABS which divides Australia into geographical areas for the purpose of collecting and disseminating statistics.

The ASGC is a common framework of statistical geography consisting of seven ASGC structures, in which statistics may be compiled and aggregated for output at differing geographical levels. The purposes of this publication are to outline the ASGC structures, describe the codes and names of geographical areas used and depict the statistical relationship between different types of geography used in the classification.

Note: The Australian Standard Geographical Classification is currently under review. For further information on this review refer to: Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2007 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.001).

Tourist Accommodation, Australia, Jun 2007 (cat. no. 8635.0)

This publication was released on 27 September 2007, and presents the results from the on-going quarterly Survey of Tourist Accommodation. Data are presented on the supply of, and demand for, tourist accommodation facilities, including number of establishments, capacity and employment for the quarter and occupancy and takings from accommodation for each month; by type of establishment and by star grading. Data are provided for each state/territory and Australia and by Tourism Regions as defined by the respective state or territory commissions, and may be a useful reference for policy makers, industry monitors and advisors.

Links to previous editions of Local Government and ABS

Local Government and ABS Issue 19 September 2007
Local Government and ABS Issue 18 June 2007
Local Government and ABS Issue 17 March 2007
Local Government and ABS Issue 16 December 2006
Local Government and ABS Issue 15 September 2006

Newsletter and ABS Contact Details

This newsletter is one way to help improve communication between the ABS and the Local Government Sector. New ABS initiatives to assist local government organisations will be announced in this newsletter as they evolve.

We would appreciate receiving your views and suggestions about this newsletter so that it remains useful and assists you to understand and use ABS statistics. We would also welcome suggestions for articles that you feel should be included. Please email your comments and suggestions to regional.statistics@abs.gov.au or telephone (08) 8237 7598.

To subscribe to this newsletter, see the Free email notification service on the ABS web site. Choose the 'Update your subscription' option. In the next screen select the 'Advanced' tab. Choose the Topic - '1. General', then the Subtopic - '13. Year books and other multi-subject products'. Press 'Go', then from the selection list tick '1376.0 - Local Government and ABS' and any other products of interest, and fill in the remaining fields on the form to set up your subscription.

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For other enquiries contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or e-mail: client.services@abs.gov.au.