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The ABS provides information about Australia’s diverse society. This information is made available to governments and community groups, and assists them to develop and monitor relevant issues and responses, and to take action to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers in the collection of data.
The ABS Forward Work Program includes ABS plans to meet the needs of government to support social justice and equity policies by identifying specific population groups of policy interest. Such groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrants, people with disabilities, unemployed people, older Australians, women and children. During 2006–07, the ABS continued to provide data on population, families, health and welfare, education, labour force participation, earnings and income, housing and recorded crime and justice administration.
NATIONAL MIGRANT STATISTICS UNIT
The National Migrant Statistics Unit was established in July 2006 in partnership with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). This unit focuses on providing leadership in the field of migrants and ethnicity-related statistics; improving access to, and the quality of, ABS and non-ABS migrant-related statistics; and developing new statistics, where necessary, to meet identified program and policy needs. The unit is looking for ways to make better use of administrative data, where available and appropriate. These activities are aimed at informing issues related to migrant settlement outcomes including their contribution to the workforce, their health and welfare and their use of services, along with developing a greater understanding of the role that migrants and their descendants play in Australia.
Deputy Australian Statistician Susan Linacre and Department of Immigration and Citizenship Secretary Andrew Metcalfe at ABS House, at the signing of a memorandum of understanding to establish the National Migrants Statistics Unit within the ABS
Continuing its regular contribution to the social justice and equity area was Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0), an annual publication drawing on data from the ABS and other official statistics to inform on social conditions and wellbeing in Australia.
The 2005 Personal Safety Survey collected data on people’s feelings of safety at home and in the community and, in particular, on the nature and extent of violence against women and men in Australia. Results were released in August 2006. The data provides information to inform public debate about violence against men and women. The data also informs the further development and evaluation of policies and programs aimed at preventing and responding to violence. For more information see Personal Safety, Australia, 2005 (cat. no. 4906.0).
For the first time in June 2007, the ABS released experimental data for Indigenous Australian victims of a selected range of personal crimes recorded by police. Data are currently available for three states and territories—New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The ABS will be working with other jurisdictions to collect data of sufficient quality for national reporting in the future. For more information see ‘Indigenous Victims of Crime, Experimental Estimates’ in Recorded Crime—Victims, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4510.0).
Findings from the 2006 General Social Survey (GSS) were published in May 2007. The GSS is a multidimensional social survey that covers different aspects of life, to enable analysis of the interrelationship of social circumstances and outcomes, including the exploration of multiple advantage and disadvantage. Topics covered in the 2006 GSS included: health; disability status; family relationships and engagement with wider social networks; educational opportunities and outcomes; employment and other work; financial resources; experience of financial stress; housing; residential mobility; personal safety and security; access to, understanding of, and being understood by, service providers; and access to transport. Three flexible components were added to the 2006 GSS. These components covered more detailed indicators of family and community involvement, voluntary work and visa status. For more information see General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2006 (cat. no 4159.0).
The Time Use Survey (TUS) was conducted in 2006, with results expected to be published in October 2007. The survey collected information on how various key groups, including women, people with disabilities, young and older people, students and parents, use their time. It covered the activities people are doing at all times through the day and night, where these activities take place and whether they are done for the household, family, work, or other people or groups. There is interest in the time spent on each type of activity and in the way the use of time is structured through the day and the week. The TUS will provide insight into issues such as unpaid work, paid work, caring for family and time spent on education.
In 2006–07 work was underway to prepare data collected in the 2005–06 Survey of Income and Housing, to be published in August 2007. This survey provides insight into the material wellbeing of the population and includes information on the household income of different population groups. These statistics are supplemented by information about household wealth. Housing is of interest as it relates to the basic human need for shelter, and for most households is either a major item of expenditure or a major form of wealth. The housing data provide information on housing affordability, housing assistance schemes and the comparison of the costs of various types of tenure.
The ABS provides information about Australia’s diverse society