1316.3 - Statistical Update Queensland (Newsletter), Dec 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/12/2005   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All

In This Issue

Statistical Developments
Christmas Greetings from the Regional Director
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Queensland Office Has Moved!
Queensland’s Baby Boomers
Queensland’s Population Growth Still the Fastest
Queenslanders Ageing Well
Gambling Down to 38.6% of Turnover of Hotels and Clubs

Statistical Corner
How the ABS Collects Data

Indigenous Statistics
Report on Indigenous Health and Welfare

Data Processing Centre Begins Test Run
Creating a Statistical Longitudinal Dataset
Census Recruitment

The CensusAtSchool Is Coming to Australian Schools
Queensland Methodology Unit - Ensuring Our Statistics Are Reliable
Selected Recent and Expected Releases
Key National Indicators
ABS Queensland Contact Points
Christmas Greetings from the Regional Director
Image: Mal Greig, Regional Director, QueenslandAlready we are at the end of another year; and what a year it has been for the Australian Bureau of Statistics!

2005 is the Centenary of Statistics in Australia and the 100th birthday of the ABS. Many special events were hosted by the ABS in each state to celebrate the centenary. In Queensland, we held a Centennial Celebration Ball at the Riverside Ballroom, New Farm in November.

The official 100th birthday of the ABS was held on 8 December. All offices celebrated on the day with a ‘Big Birthday Bash Breakfast’ and a special live video hookup of the commemorative ceremony in Canberra. The celebrations included an address by the Hon. Peter Costello and Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin.

Also this year, the Queensland Office relocated to Citygate, in Fortitude Valley in September. Management, staff and clients are enjoying the new building, the location and brand new facilities. The building was officially opened on 21 October with an opening ceremony, attended by interstate visitors, ex-ABS staff and invited officers from the Office of Economic and Statistical Research (OESR).

During the day, we sealed a ‘time-capsule’ on the day, to be opened by the Queensland Regional Director of 2030. Some of the items in the time capsule include :
  • a letter to the Regional Director of 2030
  • the Queensland office staff profile
  • an ABS tie
  • media articles of relevance to Queensland in 2005
  • a copy of Queensland’s Baby Boomers a joint publication (with OESR).

On the business side, 2005 also saw a number of significant events in relation to our core business. Two of these will significantly drive the ABS forward work program, namely:
  • A successful New Policy Proposal was submitted to Parliament. The main aim was to ensure the maintenance of the quality of a range of statistics where limitations in ABS existing capacity was putting these series at risk. It also provided funding to extend the range of free information available from the ABS website.
  • The ABS will implement strategies following the Allen Consulting Group report, a review into the strategic positioning of the ABS in the 21st century. The ABS response covered four broad themes: Relationship Management; Statistical Leadership; Priorities; and Internal Changes to Improve Responsiveness.

We thank you for your continued assistance and support during 2005 and look forward to working closely with you in 2006.

In closing, I would like to wish you and yours a very happy and safe Christmas. If travelling, please take care - we can provide Australia with statistics, we don't want you to do it!

Cheers and a Merry Christmas to all,
Malcolm Greig
Regional Director


The Australian Bureau of Statistics Queensland Office Has Moved!

On Monday 26 September, the ABS Queensland office moved to 639 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, 4006.

The postal address of the ABS Queensland office remains unchanged at GPO Box 9817, Brisbane 4001.

The ABS values the relationship with your organisation & looks forward to receiving your correspondence at the new address.

Queensland’s Baby Boomers

The publication Queensland’s Baby Boomers: A Profile of Persons born 1946-1965 (cat. no. 4149.3) was released by the ABS on 29 September 2005. It analyses a range of issues relating to Queensland’s baby boomers using both ABS and non-ABS data. A brief synopsis of each chapter is provided below.

Baby boomers are tracked from 1961 to 2001, showing the increase in the number of baby boomers and comparing them as a proportion of the population at specific points in time. Population projections to 2051 demonstrate how baby boomers will continue to impact on Queensland’s population as they age. Population age by sex profiles graphically show the progression through the population distribution of the baby boomers from their early years in 1961 to 2001 and their projected profiles to 2051.

Cultural diversity
Characteristics examined include country of origin, age profile, year of arrival in Australia, languages spoken and proficiency in English. Overseas-born baby boomers are compared with their Australian-born counterparts in terms of household tenure, income and education. This chapter also looks at other aspects of cultural diversity for all baby boomers, including ancestry and religious affiliation.

Families and care
Families are the basic unit of home life for most people and provide supportive relationships, companionship and assistance, especially as people grow older. In 2003, over half (52%) of the 1 068 000 families in Queensland were baby boomer families (i.e. contained one or more baby boomers). The majority of the baby boomer families were couples with children (57%), while 30% were couples without children and 13% were lone-parent families. The proportions of baby boomer families as couples without children and lone-person households are expected to rise. These changes will affect the demand for family and community resources and will be important considerations in policy and program development.

In 2001, 87% of Queensland baby boomers were living in separate houses. Housing is an important issue for baby boomers as they are likely to make decisions over the next two decades about their retirement, based on factors such as their current housing arrangements and housing costs.

The type of dwellings baby boomers live in, tenure type, dwelling size and condition, home value and equity, and propensity to move are examined. Housing characteristics of baby boomers compared with other age groups and regional differences in baby boomers’ housing are also examined.

Education and training
In 2001, 40% of baby boomers held non-school education qualifications. The education achievements of the baby boomer cohort are tracked from 1981 to 2001 to assess their contribution over time. Other characteristics examined include fields of study and future study intentions. This chapter also examines training undertaken by baby boomers, including numbers and areas of training, perceived effectiveness of training and barriers to study and training.

As the baby boomer cohort begins to move into the older age groups, there will be a greater number and proportion of the population living into old age needing a range of support. The health status of baby boomers (self-assessed and reported) and a range of health risk factors that have been associated with preventable and chronic illnesses are examined. This chapter also examines health related actions, health care costs and the coverage rates of private health insurance.

Community life
The average baby boomer spent nearly four hours a day on recreation and leisure in 1997. A large proportion of baby boomers also visited cinemas, libraries, botanic gardens and other venues. In 2000, 38% of baby boomers were involved in voluntary work through an organisation or group. The way baby boomers are involved in community life is expected to change as they grow older and retire.

This chapter examines how baby boomers use their time, their involvement in voluntary work, and their level of family and community support. It looks at what they do for recreation and leisure, what types of cultural venues they attend and how much they spend on recreation. It also looks at baby boomers’ perceptions of crime in the community, whether they have been a victim of crime themselves, the availability of transport and how they travel to work, and the extent to which they use computers and the Internet.

Income and wealth
The amount of wealth, in particular superannuation, together with the capacity to access government benefits will be a major factor influencing the retirement decisions of baby boomers and their wellbeing in retirement.

The level and distribution of income and wealth of Queensland’s baby boomers is compared with that of other age groups. This chapter also examines retirement intentions of baby boomers as well as looking at the amount of superannuation held by baby boomers who are yet to retire from the workforce.

Almost half of Queensland’s labour force are baby boomers. The older baby boomers are already approaching or have reached retirement age. As more baby boomers retire from the labour force, one of the challenges for government and business will be to maintain a viable labour market.

The labour force characteristics of baby boomers including their type of employment and working patterns are discussed. A section on job mobility analyses the length of time baby boomers have worked in their main job and the extent that employment factors influenced their moving house.

For further information contact Vicki Eckert on 07 3222 6232 or vicki.eckert@abs.gov.au.

Queensland’s Population Growth Still the Fastest

The publication Population by Age and Sex, Queensland -- Electronic Delivery June 2004 (cat. no. 3235.3.55.001) was issued by the ABS in June 2005.

The estimated resident population of Queensland at 30 June 2004 was 3,882,037, an increase of 80,998 persons since 30 June 2003. This increase resulted from net interstate migration of 36,686 persons, net overseas migration of 19,670 persons and natural increase of 24,642 persons. Queensland continues to be Australia’s fastest growing state or territory with an average annual growth rate of 2.1% during the period 30 June 1999 to 30 June 2004. The average annual growth rate for Australia was 1.2% for the corresponding period.

The south-east region of Queensland, the Brisbane and Moreton Statistical Divisions (SDs), experienced an increase of 61,868 persons from 30 June 2003 to 30 June 2004, accounting for 76.4% of Queensland's growth for the period. Wide Bay-Burnett and Northern SDs recorded increases of 5,656 (2.3%) and 3,298 (1.7%) persons, respectively, during this period. Central West, North West and South West SDs recorded small declines.

Median age

Within Queensland, the highest median ages were Wide Bay-Burnett SD at 40.7 years (40.4 for males and 41.0 for females) and Moreton SD at 38.7 years (37.9 for males and 39.5 for females). North West SD at 30.5 years (31.2 for males and 29.6 for females) recorded the lowest median age, more than 2 years below any other SD in Queensland.

Older persons

There were 465,225 persons aged 65 years and over at 30 June 2004, an increase of 65,289 persons since 30 June 1999. The proportion of persons in this age group increased from 11.4% in 1999 to 12.0% in 2004. The highest proportions of persons in this age group occurred in the Wide Bay-Burnett SD (16.4%) and Moreton SD (14.5%) while the Brisbane SD recorded 11.0%. The lowest proportions of persons in this age group occurred in North West SD (6.5%) and Mackay and Far North SDs (each with 9.9%).

At 30 June 2004, there were 51,505 persons aged 85 years and over, an increase of 11,443 persons since 30 June 1999. The proportion of the population aged 85 years and over is increasing, rising from 1.1% of the Queensland population in 1999 to 1.3% in 2004. The statistical divisions with the highest proportion of their population in the 85 years and over age group were Wide Bay-Burnett and Darling Downs (each with 1.7%), followed by Moreton (1.5%) and Brisbane (1.3%).


At 30 June 2004, there were 797,906 persons aged 0-14 years in Queensland, representing 20.5% of the state's population. Although the number of persons aged 0-14 years has increased by 44,222 over the five years since 30 June 1999, the proportion of persons in this age group decreased, from 21.5% of Queensland's population at 30 June 1999. In 2004, the highest proportions of persons in this age group were found in the North West and South West SDs with 26.0% and 23.9% respectively. The lowest proportions of persons in this age group were recorded in the Moreton SD (19.1%) and Brisbane SD (20.1%).

For further information contact Katie Smeets on 08 8237 7355 or katie.smeets@abs.gov.au.

Queenslanders Ageing Well

Ageing Well Queensland, a suite of webpages on the ABS web site, was released by the ABS in July 2005.

The 'Ageing Well' webpages explore a range of data about Queenslanders showing that the over 50s are an active group of people. Although wellbeing is difficult to measure, Queenslanders appear to be ageing well and seem likely to continue to do so.

Although there can be no single measure of well-being that satisfies all, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development proposed that wellbeing could be measured by defining areas of concern.

These include good health, good family relationships and engagements with wider social networks, good educational opportunities and outcomes, suitable employment, a decent income and freedom from financial stress, a decent and affordable place to live, feeling safe and secure, and having access to suitable transport.

Web pages in the suite include
Population, Income & Housing, Employed persons & Persons not in the labour force, Family and Community Life, Caring for Others, Caring for the community and Social participation.

Some samples of the data available:
  • In 2000-02, life expectancy at 50 for females was 84.2 years and for males 80.1 years.
  • Over the 20 years from June 1974 to June 1994, the proportions of males and females aged 50 years and over resident in Queensland increased for both sexes from 22% to 23% for males and from 24% to 25% for females. Over the last 10 years, the proportion increased to 28% for males and 30% for females in June 2004.
  • In Queensland at the time of the 2001 Census, most persons aged 65 years and over (60%) and the largest proportion of persons aged 50-64 years (30%) reported that their gross individual weekly income was $120-$299. The second largest proportions for both age groups were those reporting $300-$499 a week with 17% of persons aged 50-64 years and 16% of persons aged 65 years and over reporting this income.
  • Households who have purchased their own home are widely considered to enjoy benefits not so readily available to renters. These include greater security and the freedom to modify the dwelling to suit household tastes without reference to a landlord.
  • At the 2001 Census, Queenslanders in the two oldest age groups (50-64 years and 65 years and over) were more likely to report a relatively low income ($120-$299 a week) but they were far more likely to fully own their own homes and therefore have fewer housing costs. Over half (56%) of persons aged 50-64 years and 70% persons aged 65 years and over fully owned their own homes.
  • The labour force participation rate for males aged 50-64 years had minimal change between March 1985 (70%) and March 2005 (73%). In contrast, the rate for females had more than doubled from 27% in March 1985 to 56% in March 2005.
  • A large majority (83%) of Queensland's 3,360,000 usual residents at home on Census night lived in family households. A smaller proportion (73%) of persons aged 50 years and over lived in family households and this age group were more likely than younger persons to be living in a lone person household (19%) or a non-private dwelling (3.5%).
  • Persons aged 50 years and over were more likely to live in a couple family without children (48%) than in a couple family with children (19%).
  • Many people provide support to the wider community by voluntary work through various organisations. Voluntary work in the community makes a substantial contribution to the national economy. Most volunteers were employed (69%) although this proportion varied with age. Volunteers aged 18-49 years were more likely to be employed (81%) than those aged 50-64 years (59%) while only a small proportion of volunteers aged 65 and over were employed.
  • After the age of 49, volunteers were more likely to be out of the labour force. In 2000, 37% of volunteers aged 50-64 years were not in the labour force and for those aged 65 and over the proportion was 89%.
  • In the 2002 General Social Survey, going out to a cafe, restaurant or bar was the most common social activity for all age groups. All persons, except those aged 65 and over, reported attending movies, theatre or concert and taking part in or attending sport or physical activities as their second and third most common social activities.
  • Persons aged 65 and over were more likely to visit a library, museum or art gallery than take part in or attend sport or physical activities. They were also the most likely to take part in community or special interest group activities (19%).

For further information contact Shell McConville on 07 3222 6428 or shell.mcconville@abs.gov.au.

Gambling Down to 39% of Hotels and Clubs Turnover

Contribution of Gambling to Retail Estimates (cat. no. 8501.0.55.003) was released by the ABS on 15 November 2005.

This quarterly release supplements information presented in the publication,
Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0). It presents information about net proceeds received from licensed gambling activities (hereafter called gambling) undertaken by businesses in the Pubs, taverns and bars and Clubs (hospitality) industries. These industries are called 'Hotels and licensed clubs' in Retail Trade, Australia.

Gambling includes:
    • commission from TAB and Keno transactions
    • net takings from Bingo
    • net revenue received from poker machines and other electronic gaming machines.

For each quarter, the rate of quarterly growth can vary between the Gambling, Hotels and licensed clubs and Total retail series. Over the period from September quarter 2003 to September quarter 2005, the Total retail series grew by 10.1%, Hotels and licensed clubs grew by 12.5% and Gambling grew by 18.8%.

Gambling remained a relatively stable proportion of turnover for hotels and licensed clubs (between 36.2% and 38.4%) and total retail (between 3.2% and 3.4%) up to December 2004. After a small increase in gambling as a percentage of total retail turnover and of hotels and licensed clubs (to 40.4%) in both March and June quarters 2005, there has been a small decrease in gambling as a percentage of total retail turnover and of hotels and licensed clubs (to 38.6%) for September quarter 2005.

In September quarter 2005, gambling as a proportion of state turnover remained highest in New South Wales (6.7%) and Queensland (3.0%) and lowest in Western Australia (0.0%) and Tasmania (0.4%). This needs to be considered in the context of the varying state restrictions on gaming machines.

For further information contact Jeremy Walker on 02 6252 5451 or jeremy.walker@abs.gov.au.

How the ABS Collects Data

A number of methods are used by the ABS for collecting data. These can be divided into four basic types:
  • use of administrative data
  • personal interview
  • self-enumeration
  • telephone interview.

Use of administrative data
An increasing number of statistics are being produced by agencies other than the ABS. This can sometimes be deliberate, but more often it is due to the increasing availability of administrative and transactional data other agencies collect as a by-product of their own work or core business.

There are gains to be made in the effective use of this type of data by the ABS, particularly with data substitution; reducing the need to collect directly from individuals and/or businesses. It also allows the application of standards and the central editing of files, which can save significant clerical and computing resources.

Important in the use of administrative data is the security of the information from the provider and the data custodian perspective. The ABS has strong relationships with data custodians to ensure the privacy and integrity of the information used. The ABS will only use administrative data in which it has a degree of confidence. Examples of ABS publications derived from administrative data include; Building Approvals, Government Finance Statistics, Motor Vehicle Census, New Motor Vehicle Sales, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Marriages, Divorces and Trade.

Personal and Computer-assisted Personal Interview
This method of data collection is used mostly for household social surveys. It involves a trained interviewer asking particular survey questions of potential respondents and recording their responses. The interviewer is provided with a notebook computer in which to enter responses from the interview. This increases the accuracy of the data as some edit checks can be carried out at the time of the interview, thus improving data quality and timeliness. Examples of some ABS surveys using this method include; General Social Survey, National Health Survey, Survey of Education and Training and Time Use Survey.

Self-enumeration Methods
This method is used in most ABS business surveys and the Census. In self-enumeration surveys, respondents complete survey questions themselves. The following are three of the most common self-enumeration methods.
    1. Postal/Mail Survey
    Questionnaires are mailed out to respondents with a reply-paid envelope.
    Advantages of this method are:
    • respondents can complete the questionnaire in their own time
    • respondents can check refer to their records or with others eg: their accountants to answer questions
    • more detailed instructions and explanations can be included
    • wider geographic areas can be covered for lower cost than personal interviews
    • respondents who provide only post office boxes as addresses or are away from home can be reached.

    Examples of ABS collections using this method include; Selected Service Industry Surveys, Agricultural Census, Survey of Employment and Earnings, Innovation Survey, Manufacturing Survey and many more.

    2. Dropoff-Mailback and Dropoff-Pickup
    The questionnaire is delivered to respondents by an interviewer who explains the aims of the survey and how to fill out the questionnaire, providing higher response rates than postal surveys where no face-to-face contact is made with the respondent. The questionnaire is left with the respondent to be completed and either mailed back by the respondent or picked up by the interviewer at a later date. The Census is the major ABS collection that is done this way.

    3. Electronic Form
    The questionnaire can be sent to the respondent's computer via email or can be accessed from the World Wide Web. The data is entered on an electronic version of the questionnaire and can be edited in the process, improving quality. The use of electronic returns produces a faster response than other self-enumeration methods. Since the Electronic Transaction Act came into effect in July 2001, the ABS has begun to offer respondents this option for ABS surveys.

Telephone and Computer-assisted Telephone Interviews
This method involves the respondent being telephoned and asked survey questions. For computer assisted telephone interviews, the responses are then keyed into a computer by the interviewer. This technique allows for some editing to be carried out immediately and questions to be sequenced so that only relevant questions are visible to the interviewer. It is efficient and inexpensive compared with other methods of data collection. However, telephone interviews can be limited in the number and complexity of the questions that can be asked especially if difficult concepts are used. ABS collections using this method include the Labour Force Survey, State Supplementary Surveys and Job Vacancy Survey.

Some surveys use a combination of methods; postal surveys may be combined with computer assisted telephone interviews or computer assisted personal interviews for complex surveys.

For further information contact Kylie Lane on 07 3222 6168 or kylie.lane@abs.gov.au.

Report on Indigenous Health and Welfare

The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (cat. no. 4704.0) was released by the ABS in August 2005.

This report brings together, from a wide variety of sources, information about the health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and presents a broad picture at the national level. Some information is also presented at the state/territory level, and by remoteness.

Between 1996 and 2004, there were steady increases in Indigenous primary and secondary school enrolments and in apparent retention rates. The proportion of Indigenous people aged 25-64 years who had a non-school qualification rose from 20% in 1994 to 32% in 2002.

Employment and income
Between 1994 and 2002, the proportion of Indigenous people aged 18-64 years in mainstream employment rose from 31% to 38% and the unemployment rate fell from 24% to 13%. However, Indigenous people continue to experience lower levels of employment (and higher levels of unemployment) than non-Indigenous people, with Indigenous adults in 2002 being more than twice as likely to be unemployed (13%) as non-Indigenous adults (5%). The real mean equalised gross household income of Indigenous people was $394 per week in 2002, equal to 59% of that of non-Indigenous adults in 2002.

Home ownership
From 1994 to 2002, the proportion of Indigenous households (households containing at least one Indigenous person) that were owner/purchaser households increased from 26% to 30%. Indigenous households are much less likely than other Australian households to be owner/purchaser households and much more likely to live in some form of social housing such as state or territory owned housing or Indigenous or mainstream community housing.

Population growth
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia is projected to have grown to about 492,700 by mid-2005 (low series). Indigenous people represent 2.4% of the total Australian population. The Indigenous population is relatively young, with a median age of 21 years compared to 36 years for the non-Indigenous population.

Health Status
In 2002, after adjusting for age differences between the populations, Indigenous Australians were twice as likely to report their health as fair or poor compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Levels of reported fair or poor health were higher for those in the lowest income quintile of equivalised household income, for those who were unemployed or not in the labour force, and for those whose highest year of school completed was Year 9 or below.

In 2002, 36% of Indigenous people aged 15 years or over had a disability or long-term health condition and 8% had a profound or severe core activity limitation, meaning that they sometimes or always needed assistance with core activities of daily living (self-care, mobility or communication). The prevalence of disability among Indigenous people is higher at all ages and they are more likely to experience the earlier onset of disability and long-term health conditions than non-Indigenous people. In 2002, over two-thirds of people aged 55-64 years, and one-half of people aged 45-54 years had a disability or long-term health condition.

After adjusting for age, Indigenous Australians were about twice as likely to be hospitalised as other Australians in 2003-04. However, for certain diagnoses, the hospitalisation rates for Indigenous patients were much higher than for other patients. For example, Indigenous males and females were hospitalised for care involving dialysis at 9 and 17 times the rate of other Australian males and females, and at 7 times the rate of other Australians for potentially preventable chronic diseases.

Torres Strait Islander peoples
Torres Strait Islander people comprise 11% of Australia's Indigenous population. Around one in seven Torres Strait Islander people (14%) live in the Torres Strait area, with a further 45% in other parts of Queensland and 18% in New South Wales.

Torres Strait Islander people share many of the population characteristics of Indigenous Australians generally. They are a relatively young population, with a higher birth rate and lower life expectancy than the non-Indigenous population and experience levels of disadvantage similar to other Indigenous Australians. In 2002, Torres Strait Islander people were less likely than non-Indigenous people to have completed Year 12 (26% compared with 44%); less likely to have a non-school qualification (33% compared with 57%); almost four times as likely to be unemployed (22% compared with 6%); and more than twice as likely to be living in a low income household (46% compared with 20%).

For further information contact Katrina Poyser on 08 8943 2131 or katrina.poyser@abs.gov.au.

Graphic: Census 2006 logo

Data Processing Centre Begins Test Run

On 1 July this year, the ABS formally took custody of the building that will house the Data Processing Centre (DPC) for the 2006 Census. Located in the heart of Melbourne, the DPC will employ around 860 people during peak processing time. In previous Censuses, the DPC was located in Sydney.

The first step in processing is known as precapture, and involves the checking of forms to ensure key fields have been completed. Any damaged or badly presented forms are transcribed to ensure they will pass successfully through the scanning process.

The forms are then scanned to capture an image of each page of each form. In 2006, for the first time, the collector record books will also be scanned and the data captured. The use of images of forms dramatically reduces the need for the movement of large quantities of paper around the DPC.

Data on the millions of Census forms is transformed into a single computer data file that is then used by ABS staff to create Census products and services for users. Name and address information is destroyed once processing is complete and is not stored on this file.

Written responses are scanned using intelligent character recognition to automatically allocate a classification code based on the response provided. If a code can not be automatically determined, manual intervention takes place.

Processing is split into two stages and the release of Census data is in two phases. In the first, topics such as age, sex and religion, which are relatively simple to process, are released. The second release contains topics such as industry, qualifications and occupation which require more complex processing and manual intervention.

When the forms are no longer needed for processing, they are pulped and turned into recycled paper and cardboard. The images of the forms are also destroyed. The DPC is currently being used to process forms from the Census dress rehearsal that was held in early August. This will allow the systems and programs to be tested and any last minute problems ironed out before the processing of around 10 million forms in next year’s Census.

For further information contact Peter McMillan on 07 3222 6189 or peter.mcmillan@abs.gov.au.

Creating a Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset

The Census will be made more useful to future researchers with the decision announced by the ABS, to establish a statistical longitudinal Census dataset based on a 5% sample of the Census.

This decision on the Census data enhancement proposal follows a period of public consultation involving the release of a discussion paper and consideration of submissions received.

The vast majority of the submissions were supportive and pointed to the value of the proposal in providing an enhanced dataset for research. The nature and content of these submissions was wide ranging and covered many areas of potential use, for example studies relating to community planning, occupational mobility, migrant settlement, socioeconomic and environmental impacts on health and better understanding of Indigenous mortality.

On the other hand, some submissions expressed significant concern at the privacy risks associated with the development of a rich longitudinal dataset that related to the whole population.

A privacy impact assessment was undertaken and this assessment, along with the ABS response, can be found on the ABS website.

After consideration of the submissions and the assessment, the Australian Statistician decided to substantially modify the original proposal.

Rather than covering the whole population, the ABS will create a statistical longitudinal Census dataset covering a 5% sample of the population enumerated during the 2006 Census. For further details of the elements of the proposal see Census Data Enhancement.

For more information including the Privacy Impact Assessment, the ABS response to the Privacy Impact Assessment and public submissions see Census of Population and Housing - Enhancing the Population Census - Privacy Impact Assessment and Public Submissions.

The original proposal is available as Discussion Paper: Enhancing the Population Census: Developing a Longitudinal View on the ABS web site.

For further information contact Karen McGuigan on 02 6252 5415 or karen.mcguigan@abs.gov.au.
Census Recruitment

Advertising for Area Supervisor positions will commence on 11 February 2006 with a nationwide advertising campaign.

Advertising for Collector positions will commence on 8 April 2006 with a nationwide advertising campaign.

Applicants for Area Supervisor and Collector positions will be able to apply on-line or by telephoning a call centre that will take the callers details. Alternatively, applicants can request a paper application form from the call centre if required. The URL for on-line applications and the call centre phone number will be advertised closer to the above dates.


Graphic: Census at School banner heading with ABS logo, Census 2006 logo and Census at School logo

CensusAtSchool Is Coming to Australian Schools

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is currently developing an Australian version of the international CensusAtSchool project. This has proven to be a very successful project internationally.

The CensusAtSchool project was officially launched by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Honourable Chris Pearce MP at the Melbourne Museum on 20 October 2005.

The CensusAtSchool project will be conducted during 2006 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, (ABS) as part of the lead up to the Census of Population and Housing on 8 August 2006.

The ABS will provide a web site that enables students to take part in a census-like Australia-wide data collection exercise collecting data about themselves. When the data have been collected, students will be able to use the web site to answer questions such as ‘How much taller/shorter am I than average for my age group?’, ‘How long do most children take to travel to school?’ and ‘What is the average income for my age group?’

The primary aim of CensusAtSchool is to support teachers in the development of statistical literacy in their students - to help students become informed decision makers, able to use statistics. The ability to comprehend and critically evaluate statistical information is becoming a vital skill for living and working in the information age.

Support materials will be provided that allow students to learn statistical concepts using this real data as they answer their own statistical questions.

The CensusAtSchool is totally separate from the Census of Population and Housing and the data collected will not be used outside the project.

The ABS will provide information sheets, student activity sheets and suggested teaching strategies, and other teacher and student support materials. The exact nature of the support will be determined through a consultation process with education intermediaries representing each sector in all states and territories .

There is no charge to schools or students to participate in the data collection or to use the support materials supplied.

A draft questionnaire has been produced for teachers to provide feedback on the appropriateness of the language and wording, the length of the questionnaire and the suitability of questions to their classes and curricula. It is planned to include one or two questions that use an interactive reaction timer.

For further information or to get the details of your local contact person please email us at schools@abs.gov.au or phone on Free Call 1800 623 273.
Queensland Methodology Unit - Ensuring Our Statistics Are Reliable

Photograph: Our Methodologists: Caitlin James, John Preston, Brett Frazer and Geneal AndersenThe Queensland Methodology Unit provides mathematical and statistical support to the Queensland office, as well as working on national projects. We are involved in sample design and sample selections. We also provide support to subject-matter client areas on various aspects of processing surveys, such as resolution of problems that arise during the estimation process. We also provide assistance in the analysis or interpretation of survey results. The Queensland Methodology Unit provides assistance to the Transport and Tourism collections, the Interstate Trade collection, the Local Government collections, the Health and Vital Statistics Unit collections and other collections in the Queensland office.

The Queensland Methodology Unit is part of Business Survey Methodology in the Statistical Support Section of the
Methodology Division of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Business Survey Methodology is responsible for providing mathematical/statistical advice and assistance to the Economic Surveys Group and to the Population Statistics Group for their employer-based collections. There are methodology units in each of the state offices, except for the Northern Territory and the ACT offices.

Statistical Support Section provides statistical and methodological advice and leadership to the ABS. This section undertakes sample design for ABS surveys - both the design of new surveys and the revision of continuing surveys - and conducts statistical analysis and methodological investigations to evaluate alternative collection strategies and estimation techniques. The section also investigates and develops new techniques to analyse ABS data, and provides a statistical consulting service in various aspects of sample design, estimation and development, design and testing of questionnaires.

The Methodology Division assists the ABS and its external clients with matters requiring statistical expertise. It is responsible for the development and application of mathematical, statistical and econometric analysis techniques in the work of the ABS and for the management of all household surveys run by the ABS. The Methodology Division plays a supporting and review role along with other ABS statistical areas to ensure that the processes underlying the statistical outputs of the ABS are based on sound statistical principles and are being carried out with statistical integrity. The division also plays a role in ensuring users of ABS outputs are provided with information on the reliability of the statistics so that the output can be used effectively.

For further information contact Brett Frazer on 07 3222 6028 or brett.frazer@abs.gov.au.

Selected Recent and Expected Releases

Key Releases
5206.2Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product - generally released on the first Wednesday of March, June, September and December
6202.0Labour Force, Australia - generally released on the first Thursday of each month
Consumer Price Index, Australia - generally released on the last Wednesday of January, April, August and November
General Publications
1209.0.55.001 NEWMesh Blocks (Draft) Digital Boundaries, Australia 2005
1216.0 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) - Electronic Publication Jul 2005
1382.0 NEWInforming a Nation: the Evolution of the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005
Social Publications
1221.0Information Paper: ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations 2005
2008.0Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content 2006
2011.0Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing - Proposed Products and Services 2006
3101.0Australian Demographic Statistics Jun 2005
3201.0Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories Jun 2005
3235.3.55.001Population by Age and Sex, Queensland (Datacube) - Electronic Delivery Jun 2004
3301.0Births, Australia 2004
3302.0Deaths, Australia 2004
3412.0Migration, Australia 2003-04
4102.0Australian Social Trends 2005
4149.3 NEWQueensland's Baby Boomers: A Profile of Persons Born 1946-1965 2005
4409.3 NEWAgeing Well, Persons Aged Fifty Years And Over, Queensland 2005
4704.0The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2005
6530.0Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results 2003-04
8710.3.55.001 NEWHousing Motivations and Intentions, Queensland 2004
Economics Publications
4618.0Water Use on Australian Farms 2003-04
5204.0Australian System of National Accounts, 2004-05
5220.0Australian National Accounts: State Accounts 2004-05
7106.0Australian Farming in Brief 2005
7123.3.55.001Agricultural State Profile, Queensland 2003-04
8104.0Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 2003-04
8161.0.55.001 NEWAustralian Bureau of Statistics Business Register, Counts of Businesses - Summary Tables Jun 2004
8161.0.55.002 NEWAustralian Bureau of Statistics Business Register, Counts of Businesses - Industry by Main State by Employment Size Ranges Jun 2004
8161.0.55.003 NEWAustralian Bureau of Statistics Business Register, Counts of Businesses - Postcode by Industry Division by Employment Size Jun 2004
8229.0 NEWManufacturing Indicators, Australia Jun 2005
8417.0 NEWMining Indicators, Australia Jun 2005
8635.0.55.002 Tourist Accommodation, Small Area Data, Australia - Electronic Delivery, June Quarter 2005

On the ABS web site Home page under the group heading National Statistics there is a tab designated Key National Indicators. This tab takes you to a page which contains a tabular summary of Australia’s key economic and social indicators. Data contained in this table are updated as soon as they becomes available.

Subjects included are: National Accounts (Gross Domestic Product), International Accounts (Goods and Services Credits, Debits and Balance, Net International Investment Position, Balance on Current Account, Net Debt), Consumption and Investment (Retail Turnover, New Capital Expenditure, Inventories, New Motor Vehicle Sales), Production (Income from sales of goods and services by Manufacturers, Dwelling unit approvals, Building approvals, Dwelling units commenced, Building work done, Engineering construction work done), Prices (Consumer, Producer, Import, Export and Wage Price Indexes), Labour Force and Demography (Employed persons Participation rate, Unemployment rate, Job vacancies, Estimated resident population (preliminary), Short-term overseas visitor arrivals), Incomes (Company profits before income tax, Company gross operating profits, Average weekly earnings, full-time adults: ordinary time), Financial Markets (Interest rates (monthly average) 90-day bank bills, 10-year Treasury bonds, Exchange rate - $US) and Housing Finance (Housing finance for owner occupation, dwellings financed).

Links are provided to 20 ABS publications and the Reserve Bank web site. The links take you to the main features of the relevant publication and should they not provide the depth required, at the bottom of the main features are links to a number of issues of the publication itself as well as related articles and relevant links to pages.

For further information please contact the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email client.services@abs.gov.au.

National Information and Referral Service

Telephone: 1300 135 070

TTY: 3222 6325
Consultants will assist with your statistical inquiries

Internet Site



Electronic copies of ABS publications as far back as 1998 are available free from the ABS web site. Hard copy will be produced for those who require it. Visit us on the 3rd floor at 639 Wickham 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

If you wish to subscribe to
Statistical Update and receive it free of charge to your computer or change your subscription in any way, please contact Arthur Poulter on 07 3222 6084 or arthur.poulter@abs.gov.au.