1316.3 - Statistical Update Queensland (Newsletter), Dec 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/12/2004   
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In This Issue

Statistical Developments
Information Consultants - Working with You
ABS Service Industries Program
Queensland’s Regions on Display
A New View of What Queenslanders Do at Work
The Changing Face of Family Life
The Health of Children in Australia
First Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile Now Available: Population and Cultural Diversity
Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile: Labour Force

Indigenous Statistics
The Indigenous Community Engagement Strategy
Indigenous Population - Youthful and Growing

Statistical Corner
When Is A Change Significant?

MajorChanges in Census Output Strategy

Season’s Greetings to All Our Readers
Selected Recent and Expected Releases
Notice of Christmas/New Year Closure

Information Consultants - Working with You

Image: The Queensland Information Consultancy team - your information resource: Greg Carey, Kirsty Parkes, Sarah Parker, Sarah Keating and Martin Brady. Queensland Information Consultants are able to assist with all your data needs, whether they relate to policy, planning, research or commercial analysis. This specialist team has access to Australia’s largest and most comprehensive range of statistical data, as well as the ability to use other data sources, and are sure to be able to find a solution to your information needs.

Our Information Consultants are able to provide advice and accurate information to satisfy your data requirements. As part of this service, consultants will provide advice on cross classification, derivation and collation of variables of interest.

Production of customised tables to fit your data needs is a user pays service, with prices varying depending on the size and complexity of the data tables requested. Our Information Consultants will provide you with a written, no obligation quote.

In addition to providing customised tables, our Information Consultants now offer value-added services aimed at providing a complete solution to your information needs, beyond just supplying tables of data.|

Some examples of these value-added services include:
  • preparation of presentations and reports containing graphs, maps and data commentary;
  • provision of training in the use of data supplied;
  • integration of data with user systems;
  • compilation of data for user-defined geographic areas;
  • preparation of interactive maps and data displays using existing ABS products (such as CDATA 2001); and
  • solutions to other data problems on which we can work with you.

These services are designed to assist users who are less confident in the use of statistical data, and for those users or organisations who don’t have the available time or resources to undertake this type of work.

For basic queries about ABS data, contact the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or <client.services@abs.gov.au>.

For further information about complex data requirements or value added consultancies contact Sarah Keating on 07 3222 6042 or <sarah.keating@abs.gov.au>.

ABS Service Industries Program

The Service Industries Survey Program is currently developed with strong consideration given to topics where:
  • the results of the surveys are linked to specific government policy;
  • the industries are significant or rapidly changing; and
  • the surveys have strong support from relevant industry associations.

Industries included in upcoming Service Industries Surveys are:
  • (for 2004-05) - Sport; Pubs, Taverns and Bars; Clubs (Hospitality); and Gambling and
  • (for 2005-06) - Retail and Wholesale.

The program for the years 2006-07 to 2009-10 is currently being finalised with particular discussion focussing on the competing requirements for:
  • cultural surveys (including film and video production, music and theatre production, motion picture exhibition and video hire outlets);
  • tourism related surveys (including accommodation, cafes and restaurants);
  • personal services surveys (including funeral directors and crematoria, laundries and dry cleaners and gardening services) and
  • business services (including legal, security and real estate).

For further information contact Gabrielle Robbie on 02 6252 6133 or <gabrielle.robbie@abs.gov.au>.

Queensland’s Regions on Display

The ABS released Regional Statistics, Queensland, 2004 (cat. no. 1362.3) on 15 October 2004.

This publication gives you a wide selection of data for a variety of Queensland regions ranging from state level to local government areas (LGAs).

Data are presented from a number of surveys and sources, including non-ABS sources, on subjects such as : Area, Population, Schools, Income support customers, Individual income, Number of single location businesses, Building approvals, Motor vehicles on register, Motor vehicle sales, Tourist accommodation, Local government finances and Housing.

For the first time, Regional Statistics, Queensland contains a section presenting data by Remoteness areas, including data on population characteristics, educational attendance and weekly family income. Other themed chapters present data on Population and people, Environment, Economy and Industry, and Bicycle Usage and Telephone Connections.

Some examples of the range and variety of facts and figures you will find in Regional Statistics, Queensland, 2004:
  • Queenslanders in the Central West Statistical Division, including Longreach, had the lowest access to a doctor in the state, with over 1,250 people for each General Practitioner (GP) in the area during 2001. This compares with the average of 655 Queenslanders to every GP for the state.
  • Residents of the Mackay Statistical Division had the lowest access to dentists (4,298 people for every dentist), while people in the North West Statistical Division had the lowest access to nursing professionals (158 people for every nurse in the area).
  • Mt Isa experienced the largest decline in population in 2002-03 (down 184 people or -0.9%). There were 32 other shires in Queensland that also experienced a decline in population.
  • The Wide Bay-Burnett region recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate of 11% in 2003. The Darling Downs-South West region had the lowest (5%).
  • Noosa shire had the highest median house price in the state ($385,000) in 2003, while Jericho in Central Queensland had one of the lowest ($10,000).
  • The majority (96%) of Queenslanders lived in 11% of the state’s area within major cities and regional areas. The remaining 4% of the population lived in areas classified as remote and very remote.
  • The Gold Coast Tourism Region had the largest takings from accommodation of $358.5m during 2003. The Brisbane Tourism Region recorded the highest room occupancy rate of 71%.
  • Redcliffe City continued to be the most densely populated local government area in Queensland, with 1,356 people per square kilometre in June 2003.
  • The people in Belyando Shire reported the state’s highest average taxable income in 2001-02 of $54,353, which was over $20,000 more than the state average.

For further information contact Bob McPhail on 07 3222 6377 or <bob.mcphail@abs.gov.au>.

A New View of What Queenslanders Do at Work

Fundamental changes have taken place in the nature of labour markets of Australia and regional areas over the past 25 years. The provision of services has expanded rapidly and the management and administration of firms has responded to this changing business environment. Jobs concerned with the organisation and trade of information, money, advice and resources have proliferated. The immediate output of this work is neither physical products nor, in many cases, services.

The identification of this multifaceted ‘new’ economy is a key result of the functional analysis used in Research Paper: Workplace Functions in Regional Labour Markets, Queensland, 1976 to 2001 (cat. no. 6601.3) which is expected to be released on 14 January 2005.

This research paper looks at a 25 year time series from 1976 to 2001, to get a long term perspective of the changes taking place in the supply of labour in regions. Globalisation, technological change and deregulation of markets have contributed to structural changes in the economy during this period. The impact of these changes on the labour market has been measured to some degree on an industry basis, but their nature and drivers are not fully understood.

This paper provides a complementary view of changes in Queensland labour markets, with implications for their future directions.

What does this paper mean by a function?

Similar workplace activities occur in many industries, so functions categorise employment according to an individual worker’s direct contribution to economic output. This provides a framework for analysing changes occurring in the labour market complementary to the traditional industry and occupational based frameworks.

Functions take into account both the type of activities performed by workers (their occupation) and how the employing firm’s business activities fit within the economy (its industry). The function group structure particularly focusses on separating out the management, marketing, accounting and coordination tasks performed in a firm’s administration office, from the production or service tasks involved in producing the firm’s output.

The separation of the management of resources from direct production and service tasks allows a closer analysis of changes taking place in this growing part of the economy. Self employed persons are recognised as having, in part, a role similar to managers in the administrative and executive tasks involved in running their own business.

Use of the function framework has identified that much of the employment growth in Queensland has been in management and coordination. Strong employment growth has also occurred in consumer services. Employment in industrial production has shown little growth, but a young, highly educated and well paid workforce has been maintained over the past 25 years. Ageing of skilled workers in the workforce is evident in some functions and may represent a skill replacement issue. Regional labour markets have particular issues, which are identified by differences in qualifications, income, age, hours worked and migration of workers from overseas and interstate.

Function groupFunctions
1 Farm/mineF1 Farm/mine
2 FactoryF2 Manufacturing
F3 Construction and transport
3 Retail/personal servicesF4 Personal services
F5 Retail services
4 Social infrastructure servicesF6 Health care
F7 Education
F8 Security and communication
5 OfficeF9 Management
F10 Finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE)
F11 Business professionals
F12 Office support
F13 Public administration

Main findings

The 1,554,209 employed persons in Queensland at the 2001 census was almost double the number employed in 1976 (807,994). All function groups except the Farm/mine showed increased numbers of employed persons over this period.

The largest function group in all census years was the Office, which grew from 36% to 43% of all employed persons, providing an additional 376,053 jobs. The fastest growth occurred in Retail/personal services, from 12% of employed persons in 1976 to 20% of employed persons in 2001, an additional 224,404 workers. Social infrastructure services grew by 115,936 workers, from 12% to 14% of all employed persons in the state.
Graph: Employed Persons by Function Group, Queensland - 1976 to 2001
The Factory and Farm/mine function groups did not keep their share of total employment over the period. The Factory, which accounted for 25% of all employed persons in Queensland in 1976, decreased to 15% of all employed persons in 2001. However, the number of workers actually increased by 29,197 to 234,548. The Farm/mine function group also fell substantially over this period, declining from 8% to 4% of total employed persons with the number of workers decreasing from 66,946 to 64,834.

For further information contact Mark Chalmers on 07 3222 6307 or <mark.chalmers@abs.gov.au>.


The ABS released Information Paper: ANZSIC 2006 Development (cat. no. 1294.0) on 9 September 2004. It outlines the development of a new standard classification of industrial activity, the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006, which will replace the existing classification, ANZSIC 1993.

ANZSIC 2006 was developed to provide a more contemporary industrial classification system taking into account changes in the structure and composition of the economy, changing user demands and the need for compatibility with other major international classification standards.

The conceptual framework adopted for the development of ANZSIC 2006 uses supply-side based industry definitions and groupings. Using this approach, units engaged in similar productive activities are grouped together. Units in an industry will therefore exhibit similar production functions.

One of the impacts of the redevelopment of the ANZSIC is an increase in the number of industries at each level of the hierarchy within the classification.

The ANZSIC 2006 division structure will include 19 divisions, compared with 17 in ANZSIC 1993.

ANZSIC 2006 will include 86 two digit sub-divisions compared with 53 for ANZSIC 1993. The increase in the number of two digit sub-divisions is driven by a number of factors including:
  • improving the international comparability of the classification at the Sub-division level;
  • identifying groups of economic activities with significantly different production functions and
  • promoting some of the more economically significant industries to this higher level of the classification.

The introduction of ANZSIC 2006 will also change the lower levels of the classification by merging and deleting some existing ANZSIC 1993 classes and recognising some new classes and primary activities. More detail on the lower levels of the ANZSIC 2006 hierarchy will be available in an information paper to be released in 2005.

A number of measures will be taken by the ABS to minimise the disruption to users of ABS statistics caused by the introduction of ANZSIC 2006. These include publishing data on both ANZSIC 1993 and ANZSIC 2006 basis and the back-casting of ABS statistics on an ANZSIC 2006 basis.

For further information on developmental issues contact Branko Vitas on 02 6252 5604 or <branko.vitas@abs.gov.au>.
For further information on implementation issues contact Paul McCulloch on 02 6252 5964 or <paul.mcculloch@abs.gov.au>.

The Changing Face of Family Life

The publication Family Characteristics, Australia, June 2003 (cat. no. 4442.0), released by the ABS on 22 September 2004, was compiled from data collected in the Family Characteristics Survey conducted throughout Australia in June 2003.

There were 5.5 million families in Australia in 2003. The average size of family households was 3.1 persons in both 1997 and 2003, down from 3.3 persons in 1992.

Of all families in 2003, 84% (4.6 million) were couple families., 14% (799,800) were one parent families and 2% (98,900) were other families. Families with children made up 60% of all families.

In 2003, there were 1.1 million children aged 0-17 years who had a natural parent living elsewhere (23% of all children in this age group). Of these children, 76% lived in one parent families, 13% in step families and 9% in blended families. Children were more likely to live with their mother than their father after parents separate. The survey found that in 84% of cases it was the father who was the natural parent living elsewhere.

Of the children aged 0-17 years with a natural parent living elsewhere, 50% (or 543,500) saw their other parent frequently (at least once per fortnight), while 31% (339,000) only saw their other natural parent either rarely (once per year, or less often) or never.

Graph: Children Seeing Another Natural Parent, Proportion of children seeing other natural parent frequentlt/rarely By Age Group of Child

Younger children were likely to see their other natural parent more frequently than were older children. Of children aged 0-2 years, 66% saw their other natural parent frequently while 23% saw them rarely or never. The corresponding proportions for children aged 15-17 years were 38% and 36% respectively.

There were 22,500 grandparent families with children aged 0-17 years in Australia in 2003. These families represented around one percent of all families with children aged 0-17 years.

Graph: Grandparent Families by Age of Youngest Child

In around one-third (34%) of grandparent families, one or both grandparents were employed, and 62% received a government pension, benefit or allowance as their main source of income.

For further information contact Joye McLaughlin on Canberra 02 6252 6682 or <j.mclaughlin@abs.gov.au>.

The Health of Children in Australia

The ABS released the publication The Health of Children, Australia (cat. no. 4829.0.55.001) on 27 October 2004. The publication draws together data from a number of surveys.

In general, Australian children enjoy good health. Their life expectancy at birth is increasing, and perinatal, infant and childhood deaths are declining. Unless otherwise stated, children are defined as persons aged 0-14 years.

Long-term conditions

The most commonly reported long-term conditions for children were allergic related diseases, such as asthma (13.4%), hayfever (7.1%), sinusitis (4.2%), and eczema (2.5%). Other common long-term conditions included otitis media (middle ear infection) (2.4%) and eyesight problems. In 2001, 3.5% of children aged 0-14 years were reported to have long-sightedness, and 3.4% were reported to have short-sightedness.

Results of the 2001 National Health Survey showed that 17.6% of children aged 0-14 years (19.5% of boys and 15.6% of girls) reported sustaining a recent injury in the 4 weeks before the interview. When the type of event leading to injury is considered, falls were the most common.

Of children aged 0-14 years who were injured in a low fall (1 metre or less), 74% were engaged in sporting or leisure activities at the time, and around 16% had visited a doctor or other health professional as a result of their low fall.

Recent Illness

While children do experience long-term conditions, such as asthma, they are more likely to have short-term illnesses, such as infectious diseases.

SELF-REPORTED RECENT ILLNESS, children aged 0-14 years - 1995
Graph: Self-reported Illness, children aged 0-14 years by Sex - 1995


The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers indicated that approximately 319,900 Australian children (aged 0-14 years) had a reported disability (any limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least 6 months and restricts everyday activities).


The main reasons for hospitalisation of children included diseases of the respiratory system and injuries and poisoning.

Asthma is one of the most common reasons for children to be hospitalised. In 2002-03, just over half (51%) of the 37,200 hospital separations with a principal diagnosis of asthma (19,200) were for children aged 0-14 years. Hospitalisation for asthma is highest among young children (aged 0-4 years). Boys are more likely to be admitted to hospital for asthma than girls, particularly for those aged up to 9 years.

Infant mortality

The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is defined as the number of deaths per 1,000 live births between birth and exactly 1 year of age. The survival of infants in their first year of life is commonly viewed as an indicator of the general health and well-being of a population. A low infant mortality rate is a major contributor to increased life expectancy.

Graph: Infant Mortality Rate, - 1902-2002

Despite a continued decline, infant mortality still counts for two thirds of all deaths of children aged 0-14 years. Of 1,882 registered child deaths in 2002, 1,264 were infants. Leading causes of death among infants included conditions originating in the perinatal period. For example, congenital malformations counted for 22% of infant deaths and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) counted for 9% of infant deaths.

For further information contact Tian Erho on 02 6252 6916 or <tian.erho@abs.gov.au>.

First Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile Now Available: Population and Cultural Diversity

The first of a series of reports on Australia’s mature age people Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile: Population and Cultural Diversity (cat. no. 4905.0.55.001) was released by the ABS on 12 October. The complete set of profiles will be released progressively and will cover the following topics: Population and Cultural Diversity, Labour Force, Health, Housing, Living Arrangements, Education and Training and Community Life.

Mature age persons are those aged 45-64 years. This profile focuses on the demographic characteristics of this group, as well as the geographic distribution and cultural diversity.

Australia’s population is ageing and the change in Australia’s demographic composition has implications for a range of government and community services including health, housing, education, income support and aged care.
Graph: Proportion of the Population in Selected Age Groups, 1921 to 2031

The above diagram shows the proportion of mature age persons and children aged 0-14 years over time. Of note, is the peak around the 1960s for those aged 0-14 years and a corresponding peak for those aged 45-64 years from 2011. Many of the current mature age persons were born during the post war 'baby boom'.

The Projected Mature Age Population

Australia’s total population is projected to grow to 26.4 million by 2051, based on the medium projection series. The mature age population is projected to grow to 6.6 million by that time. As a proportion of the total population, the mature age population is projected to grow steadily until 2011 and remain at around 25% of the population for at least the next forty years after that.

States and Territories

In 2003, the proportion of the population aged 45-64 years was highest in Tasmania (25%) and lowest in the Northern Territory (21%). The Northern Territory also had the lowest median age (30.3 years). This reflects the much higher proportion of Indigenous persons in the Northern Territory (27% compared with 2% for Australia).

Indigenous People

At 30 June 2001, the experimental estimated resident Indigenous population of Australia produced by the ABS was 458,500, or 2% of the total population. The Indigenous population has a much younger age structure than the non-Indigenous population as it experiences higher fertility and mortality rates. Consequently, Indigenous people were under represented in the mature age population. In 2001, mature age persons comprised 12% of the Indigenous population compared with 23% of the non-Indigenous population.

Country of Birth

In 2002, 35% of the overseas-born were aged 45-64 years compared with 20% of those born in Australia. For overseas-born mature age persons, the most common birthplace was the United Kingdom accounting for 29% of the group, followed by New Zealand and Italy (both 7%). More than half of the Australian resident population born in Malta, the Netherlands and Greece was made up of mature age persons (59%, 51% and 51%, respectively). Conversely, those born in Viet Nam, China and New Zealand were relatively younger and these populations in Australia had lower proportions of mature age persons (25%, 26% and 27%, respectively).

Proficiency in Spoken English

Within the 45-54 years age group, only those born in Viet Nam (56%) and China (45%) reported that they spoke English not well or not at all. These are both countries where immigrants were more likely to have arrived in Australia in recent years.

Within the 55-64 years age group, people born in Viet Nam (70%) and China (54%) were most likely to report lack of proficiency in English followed by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (45%), Greece (35%) and Lebanon (34%).

For further information contact Angela Lazzaro on 07 3222 6013 or <angela.lazzaro@abs.gov.au>.

Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile: Labour Force

The second mature age persons statistical profile was released on 4 November 2004. This profile (cat. no. 4905.0.55.001) focuses on the labour force characteristics of the mature age population.

The Australian labour force is ageing. In 2003, people aged 45-64 years numbered 4.7 million with 3.3 million in the labour force, representing almost a third (32%) of the total labour force. In 1983, there were 2.9 million people aged 45-64 years in the population with 1.6 million in the labour force, 23% of the total labour force.

Graph: Age Profile of the Labour Force by Age Groups 1983 and 2003

The overall labour force participation rate of people aged 45-64 years has increased steadily over the last 20 years, from 56% in 1983 to 69% in 2003. As well, the unemployment rate for people aged 45-64 years has decreased from 5.8% in 1983 to only 3.8% in 2003.

This increase in participation has been driven largely by the increased participation of women in the labour force, reflecting a range of social changes, including greater acceptance of, and opportunities for, women in the workforce. In 2003, the participation rate for women aged 45-64 years was 60%, well above the proportion participating in the labour force in 1983 (35%).

Graph: Female Labour Force Participation by Age Groups, 1983 and 2003

Graph: Male Labour Force Participation by Age Groups, 1983 and 2003

For employed people, there has been a shift to part-time employment across all age groups and in particular those aged 45-64 years, influenced by various changes in the economy and society.

The proportion of employed people aged 45-64 years working part-time increased from 16% in 1983 to 26% in 2003. People aged 24-44 years experienced a similar increase, from 17% in 1983 to 23% in 2003.

In August 2003, 58% of workers aged 45-64 years were employees with leave entitlements (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises). Owner managers formed the next largest group of workers aged 45-64 years (28%), compared with only 19% of workers aged 25-44 years. The likelihood of this employment type increased with age and was more common among men than women. Men aged 55-64 years were the most likely to be owner managers(40%). In comparison, just over one-quarter (26%) of employed women in this age group were owner managers.

OWNER MANAGERS, Proportion of employed by age and sex - 2003
Graph: Owner Managers, Proportion of employed by age group and sex - 2003

While the unemployment rate for people aged 45-64 years is relatively low, once unemployed, they tend to remain unemployed longer than their younger counterparts. In September 2003, there were 48,600 people aged 45-64 years who had been unemployed for 12 months or longer.

More than two-fifths (43%) of unemployed people aged 55-64 years had been unemployed for 12 months or longer, compared with just under one-third (33%) of 45-54 year olds and 23% of 25-44 year olds.

In September 2003, there were 41,600 people aged 45-64 years who wanted to work and were available to work but did not actively look for work for labour market reasons, that is, they were discouraged jobseekers. This represents 52% of the total 79,000 discouraged job seekers in September 2003, and is considerably higher than the number for people aged 25-44 years (23,200).

For further information contact Henry Zuk on 07 3222 6061 or <henry.zuk@abs.gov.au>.


The Indigenous Community Engagement Strategy

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recognises the difficulties facing enumeration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in its surveys and statistical collections. It also recognises that barriers exist within Indigenous communities and organisations which hinder easy access to and use of ABS information about Indigenous peoples and communities. One of the principle aims of the ABS is to ensure that its statistics can be easily accessed and used by all Australians and to create equal opportunity of access for all users.

The Indigenous Community Engagement Strategy was developed to:
  • engage and seek greater participation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations,
  • raise awareness of data collection processes,
  • provide statistical training and
  • return ABS information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This strategy is implemented largely through the employment at each state/territory office of Indigenous Engagement Managers who provide a focus and contact point internally and externally for the strategy and give relevant and timely advice and direction to the ABS on Indigenous corporate issues.

Duties of the Indigenous Engagement Managers include:
  • building and maintaining networks with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations,
  • advising on appropriate materials to raise statistical awareness,
  • assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to analyse and use statistics for their own needs and
  • facilitating greater engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to ensure ABS policies and procedures are commensurate with Indigenous community aims and self-determining principles.

From the Queensland Indigenous Engagement Manager

A Little Bit About Myself and Aims for the Job

Hi, my name is Dena Dodd-Ugle. I belong to a very large Aboriginal family (10 brothers and sisters) and originate from Central Queensland, moving around from small country towns (Baralaba, Theodore, Moura, Mount Morgan) before eventually settling in Rockhampton.

I have worked extensively for the last 20 years in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations including youth affairs, kindergarten/preschool, housing, education, employment, training, health and policy. These positions have been located across all levels of government and community organisations including a peak Aboriginal community controlled health agency.

A major focus of these jobs was to assist governments and organisations introduce effective practices in order to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples. This has seen me assist in implementing a range of culturally appropriate best practices in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and health networks and partnerships, as well as develop and participate in cultural training for internal and external clients and mentor and develop policies and strategies.
Image: Dena Dodd-Ugle, the Indigenous Engagement Manager, Queensland.
Briefly, my aim for this job is to increase meaningful dialogue between Indigenous people and agencies and the ABS and to improve ABS practices so that Indigenous data are comprehensive and accurate and can be used in meaningful ways by all parties to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

For further information contact Dena Dodd-Ugle on 07 3222 6406 or <dena.dodd-ugle@abs.gov.au>.

Indigenous Population - Youthful and Growing

Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2009 (cat. no. 3238.0) was released by the ABS on 27 September.

At 30 June 2001, the estimated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia was 458,500, or 2.4% of the total Australian population. Indigenous people of Aboriginal origin only, comprised 89% of the total Indigenous population; people of Torres Strait Islander origin only, comprised 6% and those of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin comprised 4%.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) regions with the largest number of Indigenous people were Sydney, (43,100 or 9%), Brisbane (39,000 or 9%), Coffs Harbour (36,100 or 8%), Wagga Wagga (24,100 or 5%) and Perth (23,200 or 5%). These five regions accounted for 165,500 or 36% of the total Indigenous population in 2001.

More than half of the Torres Strait Islander population (59%) lived in Queensland, while the remaining 41% were dispersed throughout the rest of Australia. ATSIC regions with the largest number of Torres Strait Islanders were Torres Strait Area (6,900 or 14%), Cairns (6,200 or 13%), Brisbane (5,600 or 12%) and Townsville (5,400 or 11.0%).

The 30 June 1996 and 30 June 2001 estimates of the Indigenous population of Australia, both based on the 2001 census, were 414,400 and 458,500, respectively. The average annual growth rate of the Indigenous population of Australia for the period 1996 to 2001 was 2.0%.

Unexplained Growth

The difference between the 1996 and 2001 census counts of Indigenous persons, recorded on census forms, was significantly larger than would be expected based on demographic factors i.e. the increase cannot be fully accounted for by births, deaths and net migration over the intercensal period. The previously published experimental Indigenous population estimate for 1996, based on the 1996 census, was 386,000. The upward revision of the 1996 estimate to 414,400 reflects this unexplained increase between 1996 and 2001. The reasons for the unexplained increase in Indigenous census counts are varied and include: changes in who completes the form, changes in attitudes toward Indigenous identification in the census, and improvements in census procedures, including procedures aimed specifically at improving Indigenous enumeration.

A Young Indigenous Population

The much younger age structure of the Indigenous population is largely a product of high levels of fertility and mortality compared with the non-Indigenous population. In 2001, the proportion of Indigenous people under 15 years of age was 39% compared with 20% of non-Indigenous people. Persons aged 65 years and over comprised 3% of the Indigenous population and 13% of the non-Indigenous population. The age structure of the male Indigenous population is similar to that of the female Indigenous population.
Graph: Estimated Resident Population, Australia - 30 June 2001 by Age groups, Sex and Indigenous Status

Using specific assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration and two assumptions about future unexplained growth in the census counts, two series of projections of the Indigenous population have been generated - High and Low Series Projections. Low Series assumes no further unexplained growth. High Series assumes the unexplained growth continues at the same rate as observed between 1996 and 2001. The proportion of the total Indigenous population aged under 15 years is projected to fall from 39% at June 2001 to 35% in 2009 in both the high and low series.

Indigenous persons aged 65 years and over comprised 3% of the total Indigenous population in 2001. This proportion would remain unchanged in 2009 in both series.
Graph: Projected Indigenous Population, Low Series - Australia, by age Group and Sex, 30 June 2001 and 30 June 2009

A Rapidly Growing Population

Using the Low Series projections, the Indigenous population of Australia would grow from 458,500 persons in 2001 to 528,600 in 2009. The Indigenous population of Queensland would grow to 148,100 persons in 2009.

With the High Series Projection, the Indigenous population of Australia is projected to grow from 458,500 persons in 2001 to 600,200 persons in 2009.
Graph: Projected Indigenous Population - 2001-2009

The projected average annual growth rate of the Indigenous population for the high series is 3.4% while for the low series it is 1.8%. These projected growth rates are both higher than the observed increase in the total Australian population for the 2001-02 financial year (1.2%).

For further information contact Shahidullah 02 6252 5129 or <m.shahidullah@abs.gov.au>.


When Is A Change Significant?

Identifying a significant change in an estimate between two time periods can be difficult. This is because the magnitude of the derived change may or may not be significant for that particular estimate.

An estimate change is defined as the difference between estimates over time for the same variable. A negative change, i.e. the new estimate is less than the previous estimate, is shown by a negative number. A positive change is denoted by a positive number representing the new estimate is larger than the previous estimate.

A change in an estimate can be due to several factors including a reference period change, a real world change, an altered edit condition or changes in sampling methodology.

To determine how significant a change is for an estimate, the analysis of both the movement estimate and the standard error (SE) for the movement is required. The movement estimate is simply the subtraction of the old estimate from the new estimate; while the SE of the movement provides a measure of reliability for the movement estimate.

When comparing estimates between two time points it is imperative to use both the movement estimate and the SE of the movement to determine if a change in an estimate is significant. This is because a large magnitude for the movement does not necessarily indicate the change is significant as the corresponding SE of the movement could also be large. Likewise, a small SE of the movement does not necessarily indicate that the change in the estimate is significant as the corresponding movement estimate could be small.

Independently observing either the movement or the corresponding SE can infer misleading results which may not be significant estimate changes. As part of standard ABS practice, both the movement estimate and its SE are used to establish if a change is significant.

As a working example, we will compare estimates from the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU). For total kilometres travelled by type of vehicle from the 1999 and 2003 SMVU, the movements, their SEs and the estimates from which they are derived are shown in the following table.

Level estimates
Movement estimates
RSE 1999
RSE 2003
SE Movement(a)
million km
million km
million km
million km
Passenger vehicles
Motor cycles
Light commercial vehicles
Rigid trucks
Articulated trucks
Non-freight carrying trucks

(a) Calculated on unrounded data.

The SE for the movement from the 1999 to the 2003 SMVU of the estimate for total kilometres travelled for all passenger vehicles registered in Australia is 5,649 million kilometres. The magnitude of the movement between the estimates of 19,037 million kilometres is more than twice the SE for the movement. Using sampling theory, the ABS can say with 95 percent confidence that the movement is significant.

The SE for the movement of the estimate for total kilometres travelled for all buses registered in Australia is 90 million kilometres. Since the magnitude of the movement between the estimates of 50 million kilometres is approximately half the SE for the movement, the ABS can not confidently infer that the movement is significant.

For further information contact Caitlin James on 07 3222 6305 or <c.james@abs.gov.au>.


Major Changes in Census Output Strategy

The ABS released Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing: ABS Views on Census Output Strategy (cat. no. 2009.0) on 18 October 2004. The aims of this paper are to inform census users of the proposed ABS strategies for 2006 census products and services, and to seek their views on them.

The ABS intends to recast its range of products and services for the 2006 census. The range of data available as standard census output will be expanded. All of the profile tables that were released for 2001 census will be made available again in 2006.

Use of the Internet will enable expansion of the range of census information that can be readily available and improve access to the 2006 census data.

The following key strategies are proposed:
  • Place of usual residence as the basis for the dissemination of standard census tables.
  • Development of an expanded range of products and services based around the Internet.
  • Timely release of data through a two-phase release strategy, increasing the number of first release data items while maintaining timeliness.
  • Rationalisation of the range and complexity of CD-ROM products.

Community Profiles series will once again be available for the 2006 census dissemination. However, users will have greater flexibility in choosing tables that meet their particular needs.

Previously, two types of CD-ROM products were produced:
  • data only products (e.g. Census Basics and the 2001 Census Household Sample File) that supply data for use with the user’s own software packages and
  • CD-ROM products that provided both data and software (e.g. CDATA 2001 and CLIB 2001).

The Quickbuild version of CDATA will be delivered on-line. The proposed functionality planned for the ABS web site will provide clients with basic Geographic Information System (GIS) functionality such as the capacity to define custom areas and to thematically map data. Users of more sophisticated GIS products will be able to choose from a number of different software products designed to meet their needs.

The ABS will continue to supply data only products on CD-ROM but for the 2006 census, the ABS plans to deliver CD-ROM products that provide both data and software via the Internet. This means there will be no lag between the general release of data and its availability through CDATA on the ABS web site.

First release data (containing variables that are relatively easy to process) will be made available as soon as possible after the census with a target date of June 2007. The second release of data will follow 5 months later in November 2007.

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) 2006 users will be able to access the data via the Internet or by importing the data into their existing GIS software packages. The delivery of SEIFA 2006 has been bought forward by 6 months, to March 2008.

Collection District and Statistical Local Area maps will again be produced for the 2006 census. The maps will be available for purchase in electronic form using a generic display format. Hard copies of these maps will be printed on demand for an additional charge. Customised reference and thematic maps of user-specified census characteristics will continue to be provided as a customised service.

The Advance Ordering Service for specialised cross-classifications will continue for the 2006 census.

For further information contact Michael Beahan on 02 6252 7007 or <michael.beahan@abs.gov.au>.


Season’s Greetings to All Our Readers

How quickly time goes by! Already the festive season is upon us and the inevitable rush seems to start earlier each year. For many, Christmas becomes a time of stress rather than relaxation. My season’s wish to all our readers is that you have the opportunity to share a relaxed time with loved ones and to enjoy all the benefits that this holiday season may bring.

I would also like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, with a reminder to take special care and be patient while on the roads during the holiday season. Enjoy yourselves, be safe and may you have a prosperous 2005.


The Editor

Selected Recent and Expected Releases

1362.3Regional Statistics, Queensland, 2004
Census Papers
2009.0Information Paper: 2006 Census of Population and Housing, ABS Views on Census Output Strategy, 2006
4232.0.55.001Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia: Dictionary of Standards for Education and Training Statistics, 2004
4430.0.30.002Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia, Confidentialised Unit Record File on CD-ROM, 2003
4430.0.55.001Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Disability and Long Term Health Conditions, 2003
4905.0.55.001Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile: Health, December 2004
Social and Population
3301.0Births, Australia, 2003
4172.0Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2004
4444.0.55.003Child Care Survey, Australia, Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File, June 2002
4905.0.55.001Mature Age Persons Statistical Report: Population and Cultural Diversity, October 2004
4602.0Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, March 2004
4905.0.55.001Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile: Labour Force, November 2004
7111.0Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2003-04
8501.0Retail Trade, Australia, October 2004
8221.0Manufacturing Industry, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03

Notice of Christmas/New Year Closure

The public access areas of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in all states and territories, will close at 12.00 noon on Friday 24th December 2004 and re-open at 8.30 am on Tuesday 4 January 2005. There are no ABS releases scheduled during this time.

During this temporary closure there will not be access to:
  • ABS Reception
  • ABS Bookshops
  • ABS National Information Service
  • ABS Libraries
Although we will be closed, ABS clients will still be able to access a range of ABS data sources.
These include:
  • the ABS web site at www.abs.gov.au
  • ABS 24 hour Dial-A-Statistic and CPI Infoline service
  • selected ABS publications for perusal at many public libraries
The Dial-A-Statistic service 1900 986 400 (call cost 77c per minute) offers data on key national indicators such as:
  • National Accounts
  • Balance of Payments
  • Labour Force Estimates
  • Average Weekly Earnings
  • Estimated Resident Population
  • Consumer Price Index
    The CPI Infoline 1902 981 074 (call cost 77c per minute) provides current and historical CPI data.

    For further information contact Lipan Rahman on
    07 3222 6482 or <lipan.rahman@abs.gov.au>.

    National Information and Referral Service
    Telephone: 1300 135 070

    TTY: 3222 6325

    Consultants will assist with your statistical inquiries

    Internet Site

    email: client.services@abs.gov.au


    Electronic copies of ABS publications as far back as 1998 are available for sale. Hard copy will be produced for those who require it. Visit us on the 18th floor at 313 Adelaide Street Brisbane and browse. We are open 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.


    The Library is situated alongside our bookshop and provides a complete range of ABS current and historical publications.
    Queensland Government Employees
        1 Go to GovNet
        2 Click on the GovInfo button
        3 Click on the Data Hub
        4 Click on ABS Data

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