1300.1.55.001 - Statistics News NSW, Sep 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2006   
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Welcome to the latest edition of Statistics News NSW

August has been a big month for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with 12,000 extra people recruited here in New South Wales to help us carry out Australia's 15th Census. Perhaps less well known is that we are also currently undertaking a full Census of Australia's farms - 189,000 Agricultural Survey forms were sent out in June. A new innovation introduced for both these collections is the use of "Mesh Blocks".

Mesh Blocks are the new basic building block of Australia's statistical geography. They are standard small areas in which each household, farm and place of work is located. NSW is divided into about 91,500 Mesh blocks. The advantage is that data can be produced more easily for regions of interest to users, and changes can be tracked more accurately over time, as Mesh Block boundaries will remain more stable. In addition, Mesh Blocks will be so small that they will be able to aggregate reasonably accurately to any geographical region. ABS is actively encouraging all government agencies holding data in areas like health, justice, education, welfare and transport to adopt the Mesh Block as the standard for geographic coding. We can support the adoption of Mesh Blocks with coding tools, advice and assistance.

We have been particularly pleased with the level of public interest in the Census and the positive coverage received from the news media in NSW. I would also like to thank State and Local Government agencies for their help in making the Census a success.

This edition of Statistics News highlights our new proposals for making Census data easier to find and use. These include 'quick maps' which are a better way to display Census data for regions; enhanced community profiles to help you find the data about the communities of interest to you; and a new table building facility that draws on the whole Census data file. All these facilities are being introduced early, using 2001 Census data, and will be available at www.abs.gov.au. Larissa Wharton has been appointed to help people in the NSW Government get the most from the Census, so call or email Larissa if you need assistance or advice, see page 3 or 9 for her contact details.

I'd like to welcome the NSW Department of Planning to the National Data Network (NDN). Joining NDN is the way for State and Federal Government agencies to make their data holdings accessible to a wider pool of users as well as the channel for enhanced access to ABS and other agency statistics, and to statistical tools and services. We're keen to talk with other State agencies about the benefits of being part of the NDN.

Contact us here at ABS NSW. Our people are here to help you find the facts you need for your research, policy development and decision making.

Image: Ian Ewing