1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics (Newsletter), Dec 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/12/2007   
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In This Issue

Welcome from the Director
Future Directions of the ABS
National Regional Profile
2006 Census Data – second release
2006 Census Products: Community Profiles
2011 Census – Your chance to have a say
Australian Standard Geographical Classification
Patterns of Internet Access in Australia
Regional Statistics: Highlighting the Northern Territory
Other Regional Statistics Releases
Children and Youth Statistical Portal
Recent and Upcoming Releases
Other News
About Us
Contact Us

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the second release of the 'What's New in Regional Statistics' newsletter!

A lot has happened since the last release of this newsletter. In this issue we provide information on some of these developments, including the Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, the release of additional 2006 Census data and planning and consultation commencing on content and procedures for the 2011 Census.

Other developments during this period include the release of the Children and Youth Statistical Portal, on 8 October 2007. This portal is a pilot project of the National Data Network and contains a range of publicly available information resources related to children and youth from a range of national and state organisations and the ABS.

In this issue we also take a closer look at the Census Community Profile Series as well as highlighting two recently released publications:Patterns of internet access in Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 8146.0.55.001) and Regional Statistics, Northern Territory, 2007 (cat. no. 1362.7). Both of these publications contain regional level information that may be of interest to users of small area data.

In the meantime, work is continuing on updating and improving the National Regional Profile (NRP) due for release in February 2008. The NRP is a key output of the Rural and Regional Statistics Program which brings together a range of ABS and non-ABS data available at the small area level for regions across Australia.

I trust that you will find this newsletter useful and we welcome your feedback and comments.

Danny Zabrowarny
Regional Statistics Branch

Future Directions of the ABS

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Forward Work Program detailing directions for the next three years was released on 22 August 2007.

This work program is established in the context of the ABS mission to 'assist and encourage informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by leading a high quality, objective and responsible national statistical service'.

Key strategic directions for the 2007-08 to 2009-10 reference period include:
  • upgrading the availability of regional statistics;
  • improving the statistical value of administrative data;
  • developing statistical standards and methodologies for both survey and administrative data;
  • collaboration with key agencies in developing, updating and implementing Information Development Plans;
  • enhancing and expanding current ABS statistics;
  • playing a leadership role in the international statistical community;

For further information on these and other priorities refer to Forward Work Program, 2007-08 to 2009-10 (cat. no. 1006.0).

Subscribe to our free email notification service on the ABS website to receive notifications of the release of the 'What's New in Regional Statistics' newsletter. By subscribing you can also choose to receive news about other ABS releases.

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. Data are provided in the NRP from a variety of ABS and non-ABS sources covering: population characteristics, births and deaths, unemployment, taxable income, wage and salary earners, building approvals and motor vehicle sales etc., enabling users to obtain a snapshot of selected characteristics of a local area or to compare the same characteristics across areas.

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 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).

As 2006 was a Census year, recently released Census data will also be included in the upcoming release of the NRP. Along with the traditional Census data items such as occupation, households and families, this edition of the NRP will include data on unpaid work, access to the internet and the mobility of the population.

Data in the fourth edition will again be presented in three main formats: as Summary pages, Excel spreadsheets and Supertable cubes.

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

2006 Census Data - second release

Developing the picture of our nation

The ABS second release of Census data have now been published. This allows users access to an even greater amount of free data on-line. This latest Census release includes data on topics such as:
  • Usual Residence: includes place of usual residence five years ago and one year ago.
  • Journey to work: includes type of travel to work.
  • Employment: includes employment type, occupation and hours worked.
  • Education: includes level of highest educational attainment, non-school qualification: field of study and level of education.

There are a number of means of accessing the latest Census data and discovering information on-line about your local community and the people of Australia. You can search for data based primarily on your selected location or topic, or you can access data through one of the following products:

QuickStats icon QuickStats - provides a summary of key Census statistics and includes a short descriptive commentary for a selected area.
MapStats icon MapStats - create your own thematic map of an area of interest.
Census Tables icon Census Tables - a quick and easy way of selecting individual Census data tables.
Community Profile Series icon Community Profile Series - this series provides a comprehensive statistical picture of an area through six profiles containing a series of tables.

A number of additional products containing Census data are expected to be released in the first half of 2008. Refer to the 2006 Census: New Product Briefs for further information.

Note: If the Census information you require is not available as a standard product or service, the ABS also offers a Consultancy Service that can help you with customised services to suit your needs. A fee applies for this service.

2006 Census Products: Community Profiles

As mentioned, a number of 2006 Census Products have now been released by the ABS. This article focuses on one of these products - the 'Community Profile Series'.

There are six types of profiles within the Community Profile Series which are aimed at providing key Census characteristics relating to persons, families and dwellings and cover most topics on the Census form. These profiles are freely available online and are an economical way of obtaining a comprehensive statistical picture or for comparing different areas or different population groups.

The six profiles within the Community Profile Series include:

Basic Community Profile
Consists of 45 tables containing key Census characteristics on persons, families and dwellings.

Place of Enumeration Profile
Consists of 42 tables. Provides data on where people were counted on Census night rather than where they 'usually' live or their 'usual address'.

Indigenous Profile
Consists of 34 tables containing key Census characteristics of Indigenous persons and households with some comparison with the non-Indigenous population.

Time Series Profile
Consists of 25 tables. Data is based on place of enumeration (not place of usual residence). Compares data from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses and is based on 2006 Statistical Local Area boundaries.

Expanded Community Profile
Consists of 42 tables. Contains more detailed versions of the standard Basic Community Profile tables, plus additional tables relating to relationships within a family, living costs and dwelling structures.

Working Population Profile
Second release data due: 29 February 2008. Contains 22 tables providing a range of data on the working population including how many people work full or part-time, incomes, which occupations utilise the internet and how people travel to work.

Templates for each of these profiles are available on the ABS web site.

Using the Basic Community Profile

Here is an example of some of the data that are available from the 45 tables contained in the Basic Community Profile.

The Augusta-Margaret River Statistical Local Area (SLA) has been selected for the location through the 'Search' option. In the table below, information has been obtained on internal migration using the second release data, extracted from table 36.

Migration (internal) for the Augusta-Margaret River SLA

AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS 2006 Census of Population and Housing

Count of persons

Persons aged 15 years and over
Lived at same address 1 year ago(a)
Lived at different address 1 year ago(a)
Lived at same address 5 years ago(b)
Lived at different address 5 years ago(b)

(a) Excludes persons less than 1 year of age.
(b) Excludes persons less than 5 years of age.

Map showing Augusta-Margaret River Statistical Local Area

2011 Census - Your chance to have a say

While more new and exciting products and services continue to be delivered from the 2006 Census, the ABS is already turning its attention to the next Census to be conducted in 2011.

The Census is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and one of the most important.

Following the release of the Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing: ABS Views on Content and procedures, 2011 (cat. no. 2007.0) released on 26 October 2007, the ABS intends to conduct user and public consultations on the procedures and content of the next Census.

Some of the areas that the ABS are inviting public comment on are:

  • procedures for conducting the Census,
  • arrangements to protect the privacy of individuals,
  • measures to ensure the confidentiality of the information collected, and
  • topics to be included, reviewed or excluded from the Census.

The ABS also wishes to inform users of current developments and seeks further information on a number of topics under review, including: internal migration, Australian citizenship, income (including family and household income), second residence, second job, and journey (and mode of travel) to educational institutions.

Demand for additional topics (and the expansion of existing topics) on the Census form remains high, and decisions regarding which topics to include will be carefully considered and extensively tested to satisfy user demand while balancing respondent burden and maintaining data quality.

Making a submission
Users of Census data, small area data and interested members of the public are invited to make submissions on any aspect of the Census by 31 March 2008. Submissions can be lodged either on-line, by email or in hardcopy. Guidelines for making a submission and submission forms are available at www.abs.gov.au/2011censusviews.

For further information on the review process refer to the Information Paper, Census of Population and Housing: ABS Views on Content and Procedures, 2011 (cat. no. 2007.0).

Australian Standard Geographical Classification

Review update
The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is in wide use both within and outside the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The introduction of mesh blocks has prompted a review of the ASGC. Mesh blocks are a spatial unit containing a relatively small number (between thirty and sixty) of households and can be used as a building block for, or to approximate, larger geographic areas.

The aim of this review is to create a new Australian statistical geography that better meets the contemporary needs of users and addresses some of the shortcomings of the ASGC. It is expected that data from the 2011 Census will be disseminated based on the new geography.

The major problems with the current ASGC include:
    1. It is not stable due to the need to align boundaries with Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries.
    2. The definition of urban and rural does not reflect recent developments in communications and social interactions.
    3. The population range of the ASGC units at each level is too great.
    4. Collection Districts are compromised by the requirement to be the basis for both collecting and publishing statistics.
    5. It is difficult to relate to other geographies (e.g. postcodes, electoral divisions).
    6. It is not based on sufficiently objective criteria.

Scope of the Review

This review includes all units and structures of the ASGC with the exception of the Remoteness Structure and the structures defining Urban and Rural (Urban Centres and Localities, and Section of State). The definition of Rural and Urban will be the subject of a further review in 2008.

Review Progress
The ASGC review commenced in late 2006, when the ABS convened the ASGC Review Committee. After considerable consultations the information paper referred to below was produced. Further consultation, by way of a call for written submissions, closed in early October 2007. The ASGC Review Committee is currently in the process of considering and preparing a final proposal and report for consideration by the ABS.

For further information refer to the Information paper, Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.001) that was released in August 2007.

Patterns of Internet Access in Australia

The publication Patterns of Internet Access in Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 8146.0.55.001) was released on 29 November 2007. This publication is based on internet access data available from the 2006 Census.

The availability of these data enables a better understanding of the patterns of internet access across Australia and provides the most detailed information available on the profile of access in Australia by geographic spread.

Key findings in this publication include:
  • Nearly two thirds (63%) of homes across Australia had internet access in 2006.
  • Nationally, two-thirds (66%) of homes in major cities have internet access, compared to under half (42%) for very remote Australia.
  • Broadband is used by 46% of homes in major cities and 24% in very remote Australia.
  • People in low skilled occupations are less likely to have broadband.
  • Families with children under 15 or dependent students were more likely to have internet access than other families.

This publication also illustrates the patterns of internet access across each state and territory by Collection District, the smallest spatial unit in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification. This publication also includes selected analysis at the Statistical Local Area (SLA) level.

The following tables show the SLAs with the highest and lowest rates of persons having access to broadband in Australia. These tables show the highest and lowest rates for both SLAs in capital cities and also for SLAs in the rest of the state/territory.

Note: a small number of SLAs have been excluded from these tables where the population of these SLAs is too small to enable comparisons with the majority of SLAs in Australia. Refer to the publication for further details.

SLA in the Capital Cities and Rest of the State/Territory of Australia, with the Highest Percentage of Persons with Access to Broadband - Highest 5 (by percentage)

Capital Cities
Broadband connection %

QLDFig Tree Pocket
QLDMount Ommaney
NSWKu-ring-gai (A)
WAPeppermint Grove (S)
QLDChapel Hill
Rest of the State/Territory
SARoxby Downs (M)
WACapel (S) - Pt A

Note: - nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

SLA in the Capital Cities and Rest of the State/Territory of Australia, with the Lowest Percentage of Persons with Access to Broadband - Lowest 5 (by percentage)

Capital Cities
Broadband connection %

QLDIpswich (C) - South-West
NTLee Point-Leanyer Swamp
NTLitchfield (S) - Pt A
NTLitchfield (S) Pt B
Rest of the State/Territory
QLDInjinoo (S)
QLDUmagico (S)
NTWatiyawanu (CGC)
QLDWarraber (IC)
QLDBoigu (IC)
NTMamgarr (CGC)
QLDHammond (IC)

Note: - nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

Regional Statistics: Highlighting the Northern Territory

The recently released publication titled Regional Statistics, Northern Territory, 2007 (cat. no. 1362.7) released on 31 October 2007, presents a statistical summary of key economic and social information for the Northern Territory (NT) as a whole and various selected regions within it. It contains both current and historical data which is drawn from both Australian Bureau of Statistics 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. All areas referred to below are Statistical Subdivisions (SSDs), except for Groote Eylandt which is an island in the East Arnhem SSD.

This latest edition 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. Following are a few highlights from the publication.
  • People living at Groote Eylandt had the highest recorded average taxable income in the NT at $68,101 per tax payer - a result driven by persons employed in the manganese mine. In contrast, the Tiwi Islands had the lowest average taxable income at $37,148 per tax payer.
  • The official estimated resident population of the NT at 30 June 2006 was 210,674 persons, an increase of 3.6% over the previous year - with the highest average annual growth rate in Finniss (3.2%) and lowest in Central NT (0.3%).
  • The majority of public housing applicants in the Katherine and Barkly Regions waited six months or less to be allocated public housing during 2003-04 (72% and 60% respectively), in contrast with a greater than 12 month wait for the majority of applicants in the East Arnhem and Central Regions.
  • Overall, unemployment in the NT decreased from 6.0% in 2004 to 4.7% in 2006 - with the lowest rate observed in Darwin City (2.5%) and the highest rate in Daly (15.4%).
  • The NT has five public hospitals, with a total 569 beds, of which half are in Darwin City. Even though Indigenous persons only comprise approximately 30% of the population, hospital separations were higher for Indigenous persons than non-Indigenous persons in all SSDs with hospitals - except for Darwin City.

Map of Norther Territory Statistical Subdivisions

Other Regional Statistics Releases

  • State and Regional Indicators, Victoria, Sep 2007 (cat. no. 1367.2) was released 7 November 2007.
  • Australian Capital Territory in Focus, 2007 (cat. no. 1307.8) was released 29 November 2007.
  • New South Wales Regional Statistics, 2007 (cat. no. 1368.1) is due for release 18 December 2007.
  • Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Dec 2007 (cat. no. 1367.5) is due for release 16 January 2008.
  • Tasmanian State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2007 (cat. no. 1307.6) is due for release 31 January 2008.

Children and Youth Statistical Portal

The Children and Youth Statistical Portal provides access to an electronic catalogue of children and youth statistical information resources and a discussion forum to provide a space where the community of children and youth statistics users can identify and discuss relevant issues. The forum is publicly available, and posts are moderated prior to being made public. Contributions to the forum are encouraged to help shape the forum into a valuable community tool.

The Information paper: Improving Statistics on Children and Youth - An Information Development Plan, 2006 (cat. no. 4907.0) released on December 2006, sets the framework for custodians to consider which information resources are most relevant to children and youth research, and hence guides initial contributions to the Portal.

Information in the portal is provided by the ABS as well as other government and private sector sources as well agencies such as: the Health Insurance Commission, the Australian Drug Foundation, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Institute of Criminology, the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

Seeking collaborative partners

The ABS is seeking collaborative partners to add to the information resources that can be located through the Portal. The ABS is also consulting with a range of agencies across jurisdictions that are active within the children and youth sphere so that the development of the Portal and the National Data Network generally will meet their statistical and data management needs.

Agencies interested in more information about the Portal, are encouraged to contact Lorraine Cornehls on (02) 6252 6079. If you would like more information about the NDN in general, contact Patricia O'Reilly from the NDN Business Office in Canberra (02) 6252 5875 or email: inquiries@nationaldatanetwork.org.

For further information on the Children and Youth portal refer to the Brief, Information Pack and Questions and Answers.

Children & Youth Portal icon

Recent and Upcoming Releases

Planning for Business, 2007 (cat. no. 1391.0.55.001) was released 26 October 2007. Planning for Business is the first of a planned series of products which will provide case studies to demonstrate how statistics can be used to inform a range of decisions including: locating potential clients, targeting promotions, improving your marketing strategy.

Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Structure Digital Boundaries, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 1259.0.30.004) was released 8 November 2007. It contains the digital boundaries for the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Structure for the Census of Population & Housing years.

Agricultural Commodities: Small Area Data, Australia (cat. no. 7125.0) is due for release 21 January 2008. This electronic product enables clients to compare agricultural commodities across small geographic areas within each state. It contains annual estimates for all commodities for Statistical Divisions and five-yearly Agricultural Census data for selected commodities for Statistical Local Areas.

Water Use on Australian Farms, 2005-06 Final (cat. no. 4618.0) is due for release March 2008. Included in this issue are data on the type and area of crops irrigated, volume of water applied, and the sources of water used in agriculture. Data are available for each state and Statistical Division.

Other News
The ABS is planning to host a conference, to be called NatStat Conference 08, tentatively scheduled for November 2008. NatStat Conference 08 will provide a unique opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss strategies for measuring the progress of Australian society and improving national statistics. The broad theme for the conference will be: 'NatStat Conference 08: Working together for a better informed and performed Australian Society.'

About Us
'What's new in Regional Statistics' is produced by the Rural and Regional Statistics National Centre in Adelaide. The newsletter has been prepared as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Regional Statistics Program, to improve the availability of regional and small area data by leading the development of regional statistics and coordinating their dissemination. More information is available on the ABS Regional Statistics Theme Page.

Contact Us
If you would like further information, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or e-mail client.services@abs.gov.au.

Please send your comments or queries regarding this newsletter to regional.statistics@abs.gov.au.