1383.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2006  Reissue
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Contents >> Endnotes

Progress in Australia: The headline dimensions


  1. Data for 1993 and 1994 are based on individual years. Data for 1995 onwards are three-year averages, with the year shown being the last year of the three-year period.

  2. The percentages for the two bottom lines in the headline indicator graph for Education and training do not sum to the top line. This is because the top line includes people who have a qualification where the level cannot be determined. Some of the people with a higher education qualification (the bottom line in the graph) may also have a vocational qualification. As the data are based on people's level of highest non-school qualification, it is not possible to give the proportions of people with both qualifications.

    The educational attainment indicators refer to vocational and higher education qualifications (defined below) which are also called non-school qualifications. Qualifications are defined as formal certifications, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs. Statements of attainment awarded for partial completion of a course of study at a particular level are excluded.

    Vocational education qualifications include Advanced Diploma, Advanced Certificate, Diploma, and Certificates I to IV. Higher education qualifications include Postgraduate Degree, Master Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, and Bachelor Degree.

    Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include the higher education qualifications and vocational education qualifications listed above. Collectively, this group of qualifications is referred to as non-school qualifications instead of post-school qualifications because students can now study for vocational qualifications, such as certificates and diplomas, while attending high school.

  3. The unemployment rate (bottom line in the graph for Work) is the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force. It is an annual average.

    The labour force underutilisation rate (the top line in the graph for Work) is the number of persons who are either unemployed or underemployed (defined below), expressed as a proportion of the labour force. It relates to September each year as a percentage of the labour force.

    People who are unemployed or underemployed are defined as follows:

    Unemployed - people who were not employed during the reference week, but who had actively looked for work in the four weeks up to the reference week and were available to start work in the reference week.

    Underemployed - people working less than 35 hours a week who wanted to work additional hours and were available to start work with more hours and full-time workers who worked less than 35 hours in the reference week, for economic reasons.

  4. Reference year 2003-2004.

  5. Disposable (after income tax) income amounts are equivalised by applying the OECD equivalence scale. The equivalised income amounts are also adjusted for changes in living costs as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). No surveys were conducted in 1998-99 and 2001-02. The respective data for these two years shown in the graph for economic hardship are just the midpoint values of the previous year and the following year. The base of each index is at 1994-95 and equals 100.

    The low income group comprises people in the 2nd and 3rd income deciles from the bottom of the distribution after being ranked, from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income. The middle income group comprises people in the middle income quintile (5th and 6th deciles) when all people are ranked, from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income.

    People falling into the lowest decile are excluded because, for many of them, the value of their income does not appear to be an appropriate indicator of the economic resources available to them. Their income tends to be significantly lower than would be available to them if they were reliant on the safety net of income support provided by social security pensions and allowances. At the same time, their expenditure levels tend to be higher than those of people in the second deciles, indicating that they have access to economic resources other than income, such as wealth, to finance their expenditure.

  6. Volume measure; reference year 2003-2004.

  7. Excludes seabirds, marine mammals and animals living on islands far offshore. Extinctions data have been backcast to take account of rediscoveries. Includes subspecies. There is likely to be a time lag between a species being identified as threatened and being listed.

  8. Forest conversion is land that has been cleared for the first time.
    According to the National Carbon Accounting System of the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), "the results for 2002 and 2003 will increase when areas of uncertain 'Land Use Change' are confirmed/included during the next update". Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Land Use Change in Australia, Results of the National Carbon Accounting System 1988-2001, AGO, 2003, Canberra.

  9. The National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA) defines land as having a high potential to be affected by salinity if groundwater levels are within two metres of the surface or within two to five metres with well demonstrated rising watertables. Remnant vegetation includes planted perennial vegetation.

    The NLWRA's salinity projections are based on a range of assumptions and data including an assumption of a continued rate of increase and no change to water balances.

  10. Australia has 325 surface water management areas, based on the country's 246 river basins, and 538 groundwater management units (hydrologically connected water systems).

    A highly developed water source is one where 70%-100% of the sustainable yield of water is extracted. An overdeveloped water source is one where more than 100% of the sustainable yield is extracted.

  11. Data are from representative sites in Sydney (Liverpool), Melbourne (Footscray), Brisbane (Rocklea), Perth (Duncraig) and Adelaide (Thebarton from 1997-2002 and Netley for 2003-04), and have been combined in proportion to each city's population.The data are the number of days when the National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM) average daily PM10 (defined below) standard is exceeded. The PM10 data from each state environmental protection agency (EPA) was obtained using the Tapered Element Oscillation Microbalance (TEOM) method, which continuously monitors PM10 levels in the air averaged over a 24 hour period. 1997 was the first year all of the five EPAs used this method.

    Fine particles in the atmosphere come from a wide variety of sources, including soil (dust), vegetation (pollens and fungi), sea salt, fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning (including bushfires) and industry. Particles suspended in air have the ability to penetrate the lower airways of the lung if smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter (referred to as PM10). Increasing evidence suggests the acute health effects may, in fact, be the result of exposure to very fine particles, such as those smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (referred to as PM2.5). It is these finer particles that are the main cause of urban haze, which typically appears white. Most of these particles are generated by people, rather than occurring naturally. The human health effects are many and depend on the size and chemical composition of the particles. Particles can aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease and asthma, can affect eyesight and cause allergies.

  12. The indicator measures million tonnes (megatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions. Different greenhouse gases have different effects and remain in the atmosphere for different periods of time. A tonne of methane, for example, contributes as much to global warming as 21 tonnes of CO2. To assess the impact of the different gases together, emissions of each gas are converted to a common CO2 equivalent scale and added. For example, a tonne of methane and a tonne of CO2 would equate to 22 tonnes of greenhouse gases CO2 equivalent.

    The data are based on estimates produced using Kyoto accounting methods.

  13. The victimisation rates for personal crimes are for assault and robbery victims among people aged 15 or over, and sexual assault among people aged 18 and over.

  14. The victimisation rates for household crimes are for actual or attempted break-ins and motor vehicle thefts across all households (private dwellings).

  15. According to the Australian Electoral Commission's Annual report 2004-05 "the results of the Sample Audit Fieldwork indicate that an estimated 96% of the eligible population was enrolled for the correct division". Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) 2005, Annual report 2004-05, AEC, Canberra.

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