1100.2 - Statistics Victoria, Mar 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/04/2010   
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What's Happening

NatStats 2010 Conference, 15-17 Septemeber 2010, Darling Harbour Sydney logo
NatStats 2010 Conference, 15-17 Septemeber 2010, Darling Harbour Sydney,

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is pleased to announce that Dr Ken Henry, Secretary to the Treasury, will be providing the opening Plenary address at the upcoming NatStats 2010 Conference.

NatStats 2010 is an initiative of the National Statistical Service and will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, from 15 - 17 September 2010.

NatStats 2010 will bring together an array of leaders and high profile commentators, researchers and policy makers from all levels of government, academia, community and business. The conference was initiated to assist in the development of a collaborative approach to national statistics. It focuses on various issues surrounding quantitative and qualitative research, which have been highlighted by key government initiatives.

The overall theme of this year's conference is "Measuring what counts: economic development, wellbeing and progress in 21st century Australia". Delegates will discuss issues surrounding various topics including;

1. Challenges facing Australian society: issues, policy and information.
2. Australia in the global economy. Do we measure up?
3. Improving Australian's wellbeing.
4. Measuring progress: from theory to practice.

NatStats 2010 will build on the success of the first NatStats conference held in 2008, where around 480 delegates attended. A major outcome of the 2008 conference was the tabling of a statistical declaration to guide the development of a national statistical strategy for Australia in the 21st century.

An exciting program is being developed and will address a range of issues regarding national statistics. If you would like any further information, please email natstats@nss.gov.au.

Understanding Statistics logo

ABS: Helping you make sense of statistics

ABS collects statistics on most aspects of Australian life, capturing vital information about our economic performance, well-being of our population and the condition of our environment. However, in order to make effective use of these statistics, it is vital that you're equipped with the knowledge and skills to understand, interpret and evaluate statistical information for research, planning and decision-making purposes. This is why ABS is committed to building the statistical know-how of the Australian community and in particular our key data users.

Recently, ABS released a suite of 'Understanding Statistics' webpages on the ABS website. These webpages consist of fact sheets, information guides, video tutorials, presentations and online courses, to assist you:

  • find the statistics you're looking for
  • analyse, interpret and evaluate statistical information, and
  • communicate statistical findings with tables and graphs

Check out the Introduction to Statistics Online Course for a comprehensive overview of statistics. Or have a look at our Online Video Tutorials to explore how to find and navigate to specific information on the ABS website. A range of Fact Sheets have been developed to assist with understanding statistical concepts and processes, and help you find the most recent population estimates; understand the difference between original, seasonally adjusted and trend data; assess how reliable your conclusions are; and much more.

ABS also delivers a range of Training Courses to help you develop skills for high quality statistical collections and statistical analysis. Browse through the numerous courses we deliver on analysing data, survey design, making informed decisions, and questionnaire design. Subject specific courses are also available on environment, labour and demographic statistics.

Explore portals tailored specifically to the needs of those working in Local, State and Federal Government. So, if you're looking to build your knowledge about statistics, and how to use statistics to make informed decisions, check out the resources available on the ABS website under Understanding Statistics.

CData Online version 2, 24 March 2010

CDATA2006 Online Version 2 was released on the ABS Website on 24th March 2010. This version improves speed and usability, and provides users with additional features to customise their Census tables. A full list of product enhancements can be read in the CDATA 2006 User manual.

CDATA Online is a web based tool which combines information on Australian society from the 2006 Census, with web graphing and mapping capability. The range of Census topics available include: age, education, housing, income, transport, religion, ethnicity, occupation and more. This free online product allows you to create tables, maps and graphs of Census characteristics for all ABS geographic areas. You can access data for areas as small as a collection district (approximately 225 households) or as large as an entire state/territory or all of Australia.

A couple of the new features of interest to CDATA 2006 users are:
    • No more secure content warnings.
    • Improved system speed.
    • Inclusion of "Place of Work" data.
    • Introduction of "Large Table Preview Mode" for tables with more than 20,000 data cells.
This link will take you direct to the CDATA Log in Screen.

If you need assistance in using CDATA 2006 Online, there is a comprehensive suite of on-line training modules, or you can ring the National Information and Referral Service for free assistance, 9.00am - 5.00pm, every business day of the year, on 1300 135 070.

University free access to ABS confidentialised unit record file (CURF) data

CURF Microdata News, Feb 2010 (cat. no. 1104.0) included a reminder to universities about ABS products and services provided under the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement. The agreement provides member universities free end-user access to a range of microdata related products and services. These are free to end-users because Universities Australia has paid for access on behalf of its member universities. The agreement also includes access to Census Table Builder, ABS Expanded CURFs in the on-site Data Lab, Statistics New Zealand Basic CURFs and a range of permitted commercial uses of CURFs and Census Table Builder.

This issue also notes the March release of the keenly awaited National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey CURFs. Previously released as one CURF, for the 2008 Survey two Expanded CURFs will be released. A CURF is a confidentialised unit record file, allowing very fine level examination of data.

ABS Surveys Charter

In March, ABS released the ABS Surveys Charter, 2010. This was used as an opportunity to upgrade two charters to develop a single charter, for use by all survey participants. The Charter specifies what you can expect when the ABS approaches you for inclusion in any of our household or business surveys. ABS seek to continually improve our relationship with survey participants, and would appreciate your feedback in relation to any contact you have with ABS, and on the standards identified in this Charter in particular. Please provide your comments by using the website Feedback Form or emailing: surveys@abs.gov.au.

ABS 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 the statistics that contribute to quality informed decision making.

ABS Views on 2011 Census Output Geography

ABS is to replace the Australian Statistical Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) commencing in 2011. The Census of Population and Housing is a key source of high quality statistical data for small geographic areas. The move to the new classification will lead to quality improvements in small area time series data from the Census, and enable better comparison between Census and other data sources that adopt the new geographic classification.

In March 2010, ABS released a discussion paper which informs census users of the geographical areas for which 2011 Census data will be available: Discussion Paper: Census of Population and Housing - ABS Views on 2011 Census Output Geography, 2011 (cat. no. 2911.0.55.002, released 09/03/2010). Statistics from the 2011 Census will be released using the ASGS, with provisions to met the needs for time series data. The Statistical Local Area (SLA) is not a defined region in the new ASGS but will be available for the 2011 Census for time series comparisons. Census data for Local Government Areas (LGAs) will continue to be made available for the 2011 Census and beyond.

The smallest ASGS geographical unit for which full 2011 Census statistics will be published will be the Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1). The SA1 will be composed of aggregates of Mesh Blocks (MB) and be of slightly smaller average size than a 2006 Collection District (CD). SA1s will aggregate to form higher level units in the ASGS main structure.

Data for Mesh Blocks will be published with Usual Resident population and total dwelling counts, as they were for the 2006 Census. Please note, that 2006 mesh block data is only available on the website in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) file formats. Statistics based on user defined aggregations of Mesh Blocks will not be available.

The ASGS, with improved geographic resolution, will provide statistics of comparable or better quality for most non-ABS geographies that were previously derived from whole CDs. These will include Local Government Areas (LGAs), suburbs, postal areas and Commonwealth and State electoral divisions. The ASGS will also offer users a more stable and consistent output geography that is based on land use and population ranges to optimise output. Whereas, the old CD-based geography was designed for ease of collection of census forms.

2nd Annual Research Officers' Forum, 2010

Informing policy decisions through innovative research skills, tools and frameworks. Liquid Learning is delighted to present the 2nd Annual Research Officers' Forum 2010. The premier information, professional development and networking opportunity for researchers to increase their knowledge, capabilities and performance in an evidence based policy environment. The ABS has two speakers at the forum, with one session titled "Statistical Data in Evidence-Based Policy - Examining New Tools for Research Officers". The forum in being held at Rydges Hotel, Exhibition Street, Melbourne on 12th and 13th May 2010. For full details on conference speakers, program and registration please see the Liquid Learning Website .

18th International Conference on Input-Output Economics, Sydney

The ABS is sponsoring the 18th International Conference on Input-Output Economics from 20-25 June 2010 at University of Sydney. The theme of this conference will be "Re-thinking economic growth towards sustainability and wellbeing”. The ABS will be hosting a session discussing how ABS compiles it's Input-Output (IO) tables, as well as inviting key users to discuss how IO tables are used for modelling policy initiatives. ABS has also invited the OECD to present a paper detailing their methodology for the estimation of embodied carbon emissions in International Trade.