1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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January 24, 2007

Year Book Australia 2007
- media story-lines

Year Book Australia 2007 has two themes: Surf lifesaving and Antarctica

The volunteer surf lifesaving movement is celebrating 100 years of continuous service to the community patrolling Australia’s surf beaches. The Australian Government has declared 2007 the Year of the Surf Lifesaver. Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) has contributed a feature article for this edition of the Year Book.

The International Council for Science in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organisation has established an International Polar Year in 2007–08. The ABS invited Professor Michael Stoddart, of the Australian Government Antarctic Division, and Dr Tom Griffiths, of the Australian National University, to contribute feature articles to this Year Book edition, looking at the prominent role Australia and Australians have played in Antarctica.

Year Book Australia 2007 contains a series of articles exploring these themes, as well as other specific topics of interest.

Surf lifesavingCulture and recreationTourism
PopulationAgricultureInformation technology
LabourForestry and fishingEnvironment
Income welfareMiningScience
HousingEnergyFinancial system
HealthManufacturingInternational accounts
Education and trainingConstruction
Crime and JusticeService Industries

Many thousands of lives saved (Surf lifesaving – an Australian icon in transition)

Australian surf lifesavers have rescued more than 500,000 people in the 80 years since records have been kept.

A special article in Year Book Australia 2007 says that the number of rescues each season in recent years has fluctuated between 8,000 and 10,000.

One of the most spectacular rescues took place on what was later dubbed ‘Black Sunday’ at Bondi Beach on 6 February 1938, when five lives were lost in treacherous conditions, but lifesavers rescued hundreds more, dozens of whom were resuscitated on the beach.

Life savers role backed by study
(Surf lifesaving – an Australian icon in transition)

An independent economic study conducted for Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) in 2005 concluded that if not for the presence of surf lifesavers, 485 people would drown each year and 313 would be permanently incapacitated as a result of accidents in the surf.

A special article in Year Book Australia 2007 concludes that the fact that such carnage is averted is one explanation for the iconic status of Australia’s lifesavers – the volunteers in red and yellow who have kept our beaches safe for 100 summers.

Lifesaving after the Cronulla riots (Surf lifesaving – an Australian icon in transition)

A special article in Year Book Australia 2007 says that in the wake of the Cronulla riots, ‘surf lifesaving must seize the opportunity to break down the preconceptions that prevail about the movement’.

‘The truth is that anyone can become a surf lifesaver, irrespective of age, gender, cultural background, and, interestingly, swimming ability,’ the article says.

It says that increasing the ethnicity of its membership has been a strategic objective for SLSA since 2000, but lack of financial resources has limited the organisation’s ability to develop and fund ‘sustainable initiatives’.

The magnitude of the Antarctic ice cap (Discovering the continent of ice: Antarctica in world history)

About 90% of the world’s land ice and 70% of its fresh water are locked up in ‘the great south land’ of Antarctica, according to a feature article in Year Book Australia 2007 by Dr Tom Griffiths of the Australian National University.

'There is so much ice down there … that it distorts the globe into a slight pear shape,’ says the author. ‘It took people a long time to realise that Antarctica was much colder than the Arctic, and that it constantly affects the climate of the rest of the world.’

Dr Griffiths traces the history of discovery, scientific research and political debate over Antarctica since the earliest expeditions to find the south magnetic pole in the 19th century.

Antarctica facing change: a worrying trend?
(Antarctica – in from the cold)

'Antarctica is facing change today as never before in human history,' writes Professor Michael Stoddart of the Australian Government Antarctic Division in a feature article in Year Book Australia 2007.

'Climate change is being felt more keenly in polar regions than in other parts of the earth and this is causing some change in the amount of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula,' he writes. 'Most ice-shelves fringing the Antarctic Peninsula are showing some signs of decline.'

'Overall this is quite a small proportion of Antarctica’s total ice mass, but the trend is worrying,' writes Professor Stoddart.

The article looks at the likely impact on Antarctica of growing tourism, illegal fisheries and changes in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, among other issues.

Water conservation on the ice
(Antarctica – in from the cold)

A feature article in Year Book Australia 2007 paints a picture of life in Australia’s Antarctic bases and describes the seemingly unlikely problem of water shortages in the frozen continent.

'Despite being surrounded by 70% of the earth’s fresh water, there is no liquid water available in Antarctica for human use,' writes Professor Michael Stoddart of the Australian Government Antarctic Division. He describes the difficulties encountered in providing a scarce supply of flowing water for use by expeditioners.

'The flow to bathrooms and kitchens must be kept ice-free through heated pipes, and water must be used most sparingly,' he writes.
Our population growth is keeping pace with the rest (Population chapter)

Australia’s estimated resident population grew by 1.2% over the year to June 2005, the same as the overall world growth rate.

Our population was estimated at just over 20.3 million. The US Census Bureau’s international database ranked Australia as 52nd country in size for 2005.

State and territory growth uneven
(Population chapter)

The proportion of Australia’s population living in each state and territory has changed over time.

In the half-century between 1955 and 2005, the proportion living in NSW decreased from 37.9 to 33.3%. The same happened in Vic. (27.4% to 24.7%), SA (8.9% to 7.6%) and Tas. (3.4% to 2.4%).

In all other states and territories the proportion increased: Qld from 14.7 to 19.5%; WA from 7.1 to 9.9%; the ACT from 0.4 to 1.6%, and the NT from 0.2 to 1.0%. WA overtook SA to become the fourth most populous state in 1985.

Our ageing population
(Population chapter)

Sustained low fertility (proportionally fewer children) and increased life expectancy is resulting in proportionally more older people in our population.

This is in spite of the fact that the absolute numbers in all age groups increased over the past 50 years. In 2005 there were just over 2.7 million people of 65 years or over, an increase of 2.4% over 2004.

SA has the highest median age (the age at which half the population is younger and half is older) at 38.8 years, closely followed by Tas. (38.7 years). The NT has the youngest median age of 30.9 years.
More women than men
(Population chapter)

In 2005 there were 97,000 more females than males in our population, compared with 113,000 more males 50 years earlier.

Roughly speaking, there are 99 males to every 100 females.

Our future population
(Population chapter)

NSW is projected to remain the most populous state in Australia, with Qld replacing Vic. as the second most populous state in 2041, according to the medium series of population projections published by ABS.

The medium series shows WA as remaining number four with an increasing share of the population. However SA and Tas. will have a declining share, with the NT share slightly increasing and the ACT slightly declining, but with both territories’ shares of the population remaining much the same as at present.

Population density increasing
(Population chapter)

Australia’s population density was 2.6 people per square kilometre (sq km) in June 2005, compared with 2.5 people in 2000.

The ACT had the highest density at 138 per sq km, followed by Vic. with 22 people per sq km. This reflects the fact that Canberra makes up a large proportion of the ACT’s land area.

The NT had the lowest density at 0.1 people per sq km.

Regional population changes
(Population chapter)

Melbourne’s capital city statistical division (SD) experienced the largest increase in population between 2000 and 2005 (212,000 people) followed by Brisbane (192,000) and Sydney (186,000). However Brisbane was the fastest growing capital over the five years, with an average annual growth rate of 2.3%, with Perth second at 1.5%.

Generally, the largest growth outside capital cities occurred in coastal regions, with Mandurah region south of Perth growing fastest, averaging 5.1% per year, and Gold Coast-Tweed achieving the largest numerical growth over the period and averaging 3.3% per year. Mandurah’s growth was faster than any capital city.

Qld, Tas., WA and the NT all experienced net gains in population through interstate migration, while NSW, Vic., SA and the ACT all experienced net migration losses.

Indigenous life expectancy
(Population chapter)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have a life expectancy around 17 years lower than that of all Australians.

Life expectancy at birth for Indigenous Australians was expected to be 59.4 years for males and 64.8 years for females for the period 1996-2001.

Having babies later: changes in birth patterns
(Population chapter)

Births to teenage girls have fallen while those to women aged 40-44 have more than doubled over two decades.

The fertility rate of teenagers fell from 23.2 babies per 1,000 girls in 1984 to 16.3 in 2004, while those to the older group rose from 4.3 babies per 1,000 to 10.6 over the same period.

The median age at child-bearing increased from 27.1 years in 1984 to 30.6 in 2004.

Life expectancy among the highest in the world
(Population chapter)

Australians live longer than citizens of most other nations.

Life expectancy at birth of males in Australia (78.1 years) is exceeded only by Hong Kong and Iceland (both 79 years) and is close to that of Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and Israel.

Life expectancy at birth of Australian females (83 years) was exceeded only by Hong Kong and Japan (both at 85 years) and is the same as that for Spain, France, Iceland, Italy and Switzerland.
Infant mortality among lowest (Population chapter)

Australia’s infant mortality rate (IMR) is among the lowest in the world.

UN figures for the period 2000–2005 show Australia’s IMR as 4.9 infant deaths per 1,000 births, compared with Italy (5.2), the United Kingdom (5.3) and New Zealand (5.4). Japan’s IMR was much lower than Australia’s at 3.2.

Ethiopia (99.5) and Indonesia and South Africa (each 42.7) had the highest IMRs.

Migration represents half our population growth
(Population chapter)

Net overseas migration – the difference between total international long-term and permanent arrivals and departures – represented 50% of Australia’s population growth in 2004–05, or 123,800 people.

Traditionally, Australia’s population growth has come from natural increase, the excess of births over deaths. However since 1998–99 net overseas migration has contributed 45% or more.

One-quarter of us born overseas
(Population chapter)

More than 4.8 million Australians were born overseas, making up nearly one-quarter of the population (24%).

And 3.5 million of those born in Australia, or 26%, had at least one overseas-born parent.

The United Kingdom remains the main country of birth of those born overseas, followed by New Zealand, Italy, China and Vietnam.

Brides and grooms are older
(Population chapter)

Men and women are marrying later in life. The median age of marriage for men has reached 32 years (29 years a decade ago), and for women 29 (up from 27).

Men marrying for the first time have a median age of 29 (up from 27 a decade earlier), and women 28 (up from 25).

Part of the increase can be attributed to couples increasingly entering de facto relationships. Another factor is young people staying in education longer.

(Population chapter)

Marriages are lasting longer prior to separation and divorce.

The median duration of marriage prior to divorce is 12.3 years, compared with 10.9 years a decade ago.

In 2004, 6% of divorces involve separation within the first year of marriage, and 33% within the first five years. An estimated 59% of divorcing couples were married for 10 years or more.
Family makeup changing
(Population chapter)

Couples with children are still the most common type of family in Australia, but now make up less than half of all families (47%). In 1991 they made up 54%.

Families made up of couples without children have increased by 30% since 1991, and one-parent families by 38%.

Participation by women in the workforce up (Labour chapter)

The rate of participation of women in the labour force increased from about 47% to 57% over the 20 years to 2005–06.

By contrast, the participation rate of men fell from around 76% to 72% over the same period.

More women are participating in the workforce during their peak child-bearing years (age 25–34). Over the past 20 years, the participation rate for women in this age group has risen from around 59% to 72.5%.

Men are more likely to work longer hours
(Labour chapter)

Nearly one-third (30%) of employed men worked 45 hours or more a week in June 2006, compared with 11% of employed women.

The average weekly hours actually worked by full-time employed people rose from 39.1 hours in 1985–86 to 40.1 hours in 2005–06.

Lack of qualifications main barrier to finding work
(Labour chapter)

The most commonly reported main difficulty encountered by people available to start a job or work more hours, and who were looking for work, was their lack of training, qualifications and experience.

The second main difficulty reported is a lack of jobs with suitable conditions.

An article in Year Book Australia 2007 examines barriers and incentives to labour force participation.

Health problems trigger one in four retirements
(Labour chapter)

Although most retired people whose last job was less than 20 years ago cited ‘reaching retirement age or being eligible to receive superannuation or the pension’ as their main reason for ceasing employment (34%), more than one in four cited ‘sickness, injury or ill health’ as the main reason for leaving their last job (26%).

An article in Year Book Australia 2007 looks at retirement and retirement intentions.

‘Being retrenched, dismissed or (having) no work available’ is cited as the main reason for retirement in 11% of cases.
Long-term unemployment declines
(Labour chapter)

The proportion of unemployed people who have been out of work for less than six months has been rising steadily in recent years, while the proportion who have experienced unemployment for a year or more (long-term unemployed) has declined.

In 2005–06, 69% of unemployed people had been so for less than 26 weeks, while the long-term unemployed made up 18% of the unemployed population. This compares with around 64% and 22% respectively in 2001–02.

Working at home (Labour chapter)

In November 2005, one-quarter of employed people (25%) worked at least some hours at home in their main or second job. Almost one-third of those (31%) are employed, only or mainly, at home.

An article in Year Book Australia 2007 focuses on people who work at home. It finds that 40% of people who worked at home did so because they wanted to have their office at home, or they wanted no overheads or rent. The majority of these (82%) were owner managers.

Miners top the earnings chart
(Labour chapter)

The mining industry recorded the highest average weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE) for full-time adults in May 2006, at $1,729 for men and $1,318 for women.

The industries with the lowest AWOTE for full-time adults were accommodation, cafes and restaurants ($770 for men and $725 for women) and retail trade ($834 for men and $731 for women).

AWOTE were lower for full-time women than for men in all industries.

Awards versus individual agreements
(Labour chapter)

Workers in the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry were more likely to have their pay set by award only (60%) in May 2004, followed by retail industry workers (31%).

Collective agreements were more prevalent in government administration and defence (89%), education (84%) and the electricity, gas and water supply industries (80%).

The industries with the highest proportion of employees whose pay was set by individual arrangement were the wholesale trade (62%), mining (58%) and property and business services (57%).
Industrial disputes
(Labour chapter)

Working days lost due to industrial disputes fell by 40% from 2004 to 2005, and there were fewer disputes (472 in 2005 compared with 692 in 2004).

The number of working days lost per thousand employees fell from 46 to 26 from 2004 to 2005.

The Coal mining industry continued to record the highest number of working days lost per 1,000 employees in 2005 (500 days). This industry also had the largest percentage increase from 2004 (up 41%).

Trade union membership
(Labour chapter)

The electricity, gas and water supply industry and the education industry are the most unionised, with each recording 43% of employees belonging to a union in August 2005.

The lowest levels of unionisation are in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (6%), the property and business services and the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industries (both 7%) and the wholesale trade industry (9%).

Our wealth (Income and welfare chapter)

The average net worth of Australian households at last count was $467,600. This represented the difference between the mean value of assets of each household ($537,100) and the value of mean household liabilities ($69,400).

Owner-occupied dwellings were the main form of asset held by households. About 70% of households own their home outright or with a mortgage, and the average home value is $355,000.

Fewer home loans (Housing chapter)

The number of homes financed for owner occupation in Australia fell by 23,000 to 637,000 between 2003–04 and 2004–05, despite continuing low interest rates.

While the number of established dwellings financed for owner occupation has grown from 348,000 in 1994–95 to 560,000 to 2004–05, the number of new homes financed for construction or purchase declined from 103,000 to 78,000 over the decade.

In 2004–05, new homes represented 12% of all homes financed in Australia.

We rate our health as good (Health chapter)

Most Australians aged 15 and over consider themselves to be in good health.

In the last National Health Survey in 2004–05, 84% reported their health as good, very good or excellent. The proportion of people reporting fair or poor health increased with age, up to 35% for those aged 75 or over.

The survey found almost 77% of Australians reported that they had one or more long-term health conditions (conditions that had lasted, or were expected to last for six months or more).

Causes of death (Health chapter)

Heart attack and related illnesses, or cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) remain the leading causes of death for Australian men and women.

Lung cancer ranks third for men, followed by chronic lower respiratory diseases. For women, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is third, followed by breast cancer.
Improvements in treatment increase life expectancy
(Health chapter)

Reductions in risk factors and improvements in treatment and care have been instrumental in reducing deaths from heart disease and stroke in recent decades.

In 1970–72 over one-third (35%) of all deaths were attributed to ischaemic heart disease, but by 2002–04 this disease accounted for one-fifth (20%) of deaths of people aged 50 or over.

An article in Year Book Australia 2007 says that statistically the fall in death rates from ischaemic heart disease has resulted in a gain of four years in life expectancy for men over 50, and nearly three years for women in the same age group.

Almost all older people have at least one health condition
(Health chapter)

The proportion of Australians with at least one chronic health condition increases with age, from 41% of children aged under 15 to almost 100% of people aged 65 and over.

An article in Year Book Australia 2007 says these high proportions partly reflect the large numbers of people with very common but less serious conditions, such as long or short sightedness or hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

However, other chronic conditions had the potential for more serious effects on wellbeing. These included circulatory conditions (18%), behavioural disorders (11%) and cancer (2%).

Health of Indigenous Australians
(Health chapter)

A survey of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2004–05 showed that just over three-quarters (78%) of the Indigenous population reported their health as either good, very good or excellent. Nevertheless, after adjusting for age differences between the populations, Indigenous people were almost twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to rate their health as fair or poor.

Eye and sight problems (30%), asthma (15%), back and disc disorders (13%), heart and circulatory diseases (12%) and ear or hearing problems (12%) were the most commonly reported long-term conditions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

After adjusting for age differences between the populations, Indigenous people were three times more likely than non-Indigenous people to report some form of diabetes and ten times more likely to have kidney disease.

After adjusting for age differences between the populations, Indigenous people were more likely than non-Indigenous people to report certain risk behaviours that can lead to health problems. While rates of risky/high risk alcohol consumption were similar in the two populations, Indigenous people were more likely than non-Indigenous people to be daily smokers, be overweight/obese and have no usual fruit or vegetable intake.
One in four adults still smoking
(Health chapter)

Almost one in four Australian adults (23%) smoke and 13% of adults consume alcohol at levels which pose a risk to health, according to the last National Health Survey (2004–05).

Seven out of ten people aged 15 or over reported sedentary or low exercise levels in the two weeks before they were surveyed. More than half (52%) of people aged 15 or over were classified as overweight or obese, based on their height and weight.

Only 14% of people 12 years or over eat the recommended five or more serves of vegetables every day.

(Health chapter)

As at December 2005, nearly 10,000 cases (9,859) of AIDS had been diagnosed in Australia since 1981, and the total number of deaths following AIDS was 6,668.

The number of newly diagnosed HIV infections since 1985 was 25,242.

Girls more likely to complete secondary schooling (Education and training chapter)

Girls are more likely than boys to continue secondary schooling to Year 12.

The ‘apparent retention rate’ of female students to Year 12 in 2005 was 81% compared with 70% for males, continuing the trend of previous years.

However the apparent retention rates for both sexes in 2005 were more than two percentage points higher than in 1998.

Indigenous students less likely to finish secondary education
(Education and training chapter)

The apparent retention rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander full-time students increased between 1998 and 2005, but remains below that of non-Indigenous students.

The proportion of Indigenous students staying on until Year 12 increased from 32% to 40% over the period, compared to 73% and 77% for non-Indigenous students.

Management courses popular
(Education and training chapter)

Management and commerce courses attracted one in five vocational and preparatory students in 2005 (20%), followed by engineering and related technologies (17%) and society and culture (10%).

Some 1.6 million students enrolled in publicly-funded vocational education and training (VET) courses in 2005.
Males still dominate trade apprenticeships
(Education and training chapter)

Most apprentices and trainees in the ‘tradespersons and related workers’ occupational group are male (88%). The group accounts for 43% of the 389,000 apprentices and trainees in training at 31 December 2005.

In the construction, automotive and electrical/electronic trades groups, females represented under 1%.

The only field of trade in the group with a female majority was hairdressing (93% females).

Higher education students approaching 1 million
(Education and training chapter)

The number of students enrolled in higher education institutions during the calendar year 2005 reached more than 957,000, up 1% on the 12 months ended 31 August 2004.

The greatest increase in numbers was for students choosing multi-modal tuition, a mixture of face-to-face and external tuition. Some 63% of multi-modal higher education students in 2005 were female.

More mature-age people in training
(Education and training chapter)

The proportion of mature-age people enrolling in training courses is increasing, according to an article, ‘Skilling mature age Australians for work’, in Year Book Australia 2007.Mature age students are those aged between 45 and 64.

Between 2001 and 2005 their proportion increased from 31% to 35%, with their numbers rising from 1.5 million to 1.8 million.

Victims of crime (Crime and justice chapter)

Nearly one in 20 Australians aged 15 or over (4.8%) were victims of assault at the time of the last National Crime and Safety Survey.

Of Australian households, 3.3% were victims of at least one break-in, and 2.6% had at least one attempted break-in. Stolen motor vehicles affected 1% of households.

How safe do we feel?
(Crime and justice chapter)

Some 82% of Australians feel safe or very safe when at home alone during the day, but only 72% feel so when at home alone after dark.

Only 4% feel unsafe or very unsafe at home alone during the day, while twice that number (8%) feel so after dark.
Drug arrests
(Crime and justice chapter)

Cannabis-related offences top drug arrests in Australia, with almost 55,000 arrests recorded in 2004–05. Those involving amphetamine-type stimulants are next with more than 10,000 arrests.

Heroin and other opioids accounted for some 3,300 arrests, while cocaine was involved in 425.

The prison population
(Crime and justice chapter)

At last count there were more than 25,000 prisoners in Australia’s prisons, or 163 prisoners per 100,000 of the general population. Women accounted for 7% of prisoners.

The median age of imprisonment (the age at which half of prisoners are younger and half are older) was 33 years for both men and women.

More than a little bookish (Culture and recreation chapter)

Australia’s book publishing industry employs 5,300 people and generates more than $1.5 billion in income, with more than $1.3 billion of that from the sale of new books.

More than $800 million in book sales comes from Australian titles, and the value of books exported is $190 million.

Volunteers vital to many museums
(Culture and recreation chapter)

Almost half (49.1%) of Australia’s 1,300 plus art and other museums are operated without paid employees, relying on the work of more than 9,000 volunteers.

The 676 museums that do have paid employees employ a total of 7,600 people, who are assisted by 11,000 volunteers.

Jobs in sport
(Culture and recreation chapter)

One in 100 employed Australians has their main job in a sports or physical recreation occupation – that’s 83,000 people.

Between the 1996 Census and the 2001 Census this number increased by 21.6%, compared with an 8.7% increase for all occupations.

Fitness instructors were the largest group (12,364) followed by greenkeepers (11,928).

Industry performance (Industry chapter)

The property and business services industry contributed the largest share to Australia’s GDP in 2004–05 (11.6% or $103 billion).

This was followed by the manufacturing industry (11.3% or $101 billion) and the finance and insurance industry (6.9% or $61 billion).

Over a decade to 2004–05, the property and business services industry recorded the largest increase in gross value added (GVA) share of GDP (up 1.7 percentage points). Manufacturing recorded the largest fall, a decline of 2.5 percentage points.

Biggest industry employers
(Industry chapter)

Of the 9.8 million Australians employed across all industries at last count, the retail trade employed the largest number (1.5 million or 15%).

Property and business services employed 1.1 million (12%), followed by manufacturing (11%), health and community services (10%), construction (9%) and education (7%).

Agricultural employment down (Agriculture chapter)

The area of land used for crops during the 2004-05 year increased 3% while the area of land used for grazing as at 30 June 2005 was 4% greater than at the same time in 2004.

The value of crop production in 2004-05 decreased 13% while the value of livestock slaughterings and livestock products increased 10% and 3% respectively.

Employment in agriculture and services to agriculture declined in 2006 to just over 330,000, compared with 412,000 in 2002. The biggest fall over that period, 62,000 in 2003, was largely the result of drought.

The majority of people employed in agriculture in 2006 were men (68%).

Fisheries production up, but exports down (Forestry and fishing chapter)

Australian fisheries production increased by 5% during 2004-05 to 287,403 tonnes. However, the value of this production fell by 6%, the fourth consecutive decrease.

The total value of exports of Australian fisheries production was down 7% in 2004–05, to $1.5 billion.

Australia remained a net exporter of fisheries products, with rock lobster the highest earner at 29% of the total value. Abalone and prawns were the next highest earning edible fisheries exports.

The highest value non-edible fisheries export, pearl, recorded a 6% fall to $291 million.

Mineral exploration expenditure up (Mining chapter)

Mineral exploration expenditure in Australia in 2005–06 was the highest recorded for 30 years at more than $1.2 billion, 94% higher than in 2001–02.

An increase of 21% over 2004–05 was mainly due to increases in exploration expenditure on copper (up 96%), silver, lead and zinc (up 128%) and uranium (up 171%).

Exploration in Tas. increased by $19 million (more than five times) in the four years to 2005–06. WA continued to account for the majority of exploration spending over the four year period (48–59%), followed by Qld (14–18%).

Energy production increases (Energy chapter)

Australia’s total energy production increased by 25% over the five years from 1999–2000 to 2004–05. Nearly all the increase (95%) related to increased production involving non-renewable energy sources such as black coal, uranium and natural gas.

In the same period, total renewable energy production decreased by 6%. However renewable energy production, including wood, bagasse (sugar cane by-product), biofuel, hydro-electricity and solar energy) accounted for only 2% of production in 2004–05.

Manufacturing dominates exports (Manufacturing chapter)

Manufacturing industry dominates Australia’s value of exports (by industry of origin), accounting for 49% of total exports in 2005–06.

The value of manufacturing exports was 55% higher in 2005-06 than in 1996–97, although the industry’s share of the total value of exports has been trending down over the period.

In May 2006 more than 1 million people worked in the manufacturing industry, or 10% of the workforce.

Construction employment on the increase (Construction chapter)

Employment in the construction industry rose by 6.9% between 2004–05 and 2005–06, to 867,300 people.

The number of both employees and ‘own account’ workers rose by 7.2%, and the number of employers also rose (2.9%).
Club income grows (Service industries chapter)

Australia’s 2,116 clubs had a total income of $7.375 billion in 2004–05, up more than $1.3 billion on 2000–01.

Gambling was the main source of income at $4.3 billion. Clubs employed more than 63,000 people.

International visitors as an export medium (Tourism chapter)

International visitors to Australia in 2004–05 consumed more than $18 billion worth of goods and services produced by the Australian economy. This was a slight increase over the previous year.

The figure represented 11.1% of Australia’s total exports of goods and services.

The tourism industry’s share of GDP in 2004–05 was 3.7%, three-quarters of which was generated by domestic rather than international visitors.

Road fatalities declining over the decades (Transport chapter)

Road fatalities in Australia have dropped to a level equivalent to the 1950s, after peaking at 3,798 deaths in 1970.

The road toll in 2005 (1,636) was higher than in 2004 (1,583). However, a graph in Year Book Australia 2007 shows a general downward trend from 1970, following the steady rise in road deaths between 1926 and 1970.

The broadband revolution (Information technology chapter)

More than half of Australia’s almost 6 million active Internet subscribers are now using broadband access technology, according to an ABS survey of Internet service providers (ISPs) in mid-2006.

Digital subscriber line (DSL) remained the predominant (76%) technology used by broadband subscribers.
Rise in threatened fauna species (Environment chapter)

The number of Australian fauna species listed as threatened has risen by nearly 20% since 1999, and now stands at 384 species. A total of 54 of these are already classified as extinct.

Of the total species listed as threatened, 130 are birds and 117 are mammals. The remainder are fish, frogs and reptiles.

What happens to waste in the Antarctic?
(Environment chapter)

Waste material generated at Australia’s Antarctic research stations is returned to Australia, and detailed records are kept of the types and quantities involved.

In addition, since station rubbish tips were closed in 1985, a clean-up program has seen much of that old waste removed to Australia as well.

Recent records of waste returned from the stations in one full year show the removal of 72 tonnes of waste each from Casey and Davis Stations, 64 tonnes from Mawson and 12 tonnes from Macquarie Island.

The waste includes packaging materials such as bottles and cardboard and also metals, batteries, photo waste and sewage.

Household use of energy
(Environment chapter)

More Australians use electricity than other forms of energy for cooking (54%), and this is more pronounced outside capital cities (68%) than within them (47%).

Electricity is also favoured for water heating (51%), again particularly outside capital cities (68%).

Solar energy is primarily used for heating water, and was employed by 4% of households in 2005. The Northern Territory had the largest proportion of households using solar energy for water heating (42%) followed by Western Australia (16%).

Business spending more on research (Science chapter)

Australian businesses spent $7.2 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2003–04, up 10% on the previous year and the highest level recorded.

Pension fund assets growing (Financial system chapter)

Australia's pension funds held financial assets worth more than $840 billion at 30 June 2006, up from $688 billion the previous year.

The number of small pension funds, including self managed superannuation funds, grew to 326,839 in 2006, an increase of almost 20,000 funds since 2005.
Personal finance
(Financial system chapter)

New lending commitments for individuals for their own personal use increased to more than $76 billion in 2005-06, an increase of $2.6 billion on the previous year.

Credit card, overdraft and other credit limits available for individuals continued to rise, reaching almost $225 billion at 30 June 2006. However, less than half of these limits had been used by customers ($107 billion).

Rise in Australia’s foreign debt (International accounts chapter)

Australia had a net foreign financial liability of $540.9 billion at 30 June 2006, an increase of $37.1 billion over the previous year.

The position resulted from a net decrease in foreign equity of $24.8 billion, to $47.0 billion, coupled with an increase in net foreign debt of $61.9 billion, to $493.8 billion.

The net foreign debt of the public sector was $5.2 billion, or 1% of total net foreign debt. The net foreign debt of private financial corporations and private non-financial corporations were $397.7 billion and $90.9 billion respectively.

Foreign investment up
(International accounts chapter)

Australian investment abroad totalled $764.9 billion at 30 June 2006, up 26.5% on the level a year earlier.

Foreign investment in Australia totalled $1,305.8 billion, up 17.8% on the previous year.

Total imports of goods and services worth more than exports
(International accounts chapter)

Australia’s imports of goods and services in 2005–06 were worth more than its exports. This resulted in a deficit of $16.5 billion.

However, as the value of exports grew faster than imports, the deficit was less than in 2004–05, when a record deficit of $24.5 billion was recorded.