1304.5 - Stats Talk WA (Newsletter), Jul 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/08/2006   
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Western Australian Statistical Indicators (1367.5)

The June edition of Western Australian Statistical Indicators (1367.5) contains three feature articles, all concentrating on Western Australia: Labour Force Trends; results from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey; and an analysis of the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey.

Labour Force Trends in Western Australia

The labour force in Western Australia has undergone considerable change over the past 20 years. Trends such as greater participation by women in the labour force, rising part-time employment, increasing casualisation and ageing have led to dramatic changes in the composition of the state's labour force. More recently, robust economic growth has stimulated activity in Western Australia's housing and labour markets. This increased activity, coupled with the current resources boom, has led to a strong demand for labour at a time when skilled workers are in short supply. Labour force indicators are currently at record highs or lows.

The WA labour force passed an important milestone in November 2004 when the number of employed persons passed the one million mark. Employment growth rose sharply in 2004-05 with a rise in employed persons of over 40,000. A large reason for this increase in employed persons has been the increased participation of women. Between 1984-85 and 2004-05, the participation rate of women in the state's labour force increased from 47.9% to 58.4%, while the participation rate of men decreased from 78.4% to 74.8%.

The Western Australian labour force has aged significantly over the past two decades, driven by large increases in the numbers of people in age groups aged 45 years and over. As a result, the proportion of the labour force aged 45 years and over rose from 22.8% in 1984-85 to 35.8% in 2004-05. The ageing of the labour force, as a result of ageing of the population and particularly the working age population, will have an impact on all industries and occupations in Western Australia. Those likely to be most affected are the industries and occupations with a high proportion of mature age workers aged 45 years and older, and include education, agriculture, forestry and fishing, electricity, gas and water supply, health and community services and government administration and defence.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Western Australia, 2002

The 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) was the second national social survey of Indigenous Australians conducted by the ABS. The first, undertaken in 1994, arose out of the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

The 2002 NATSISS included key areas of social concern such as health, education and employment, family and culture, income and housing, and access to information technology. The ABS plans to conduct a further National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey in 2008.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Western Australia, 2004-05

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey collected information relating to Indigenous health including health status, health conditions, health actions taken, and lifestyle factors which may influence health. The survey was conducted between August 2004 and July 2005. The information gathered builds on the Indigenous supplement to the 2001 National Health Survey and some results may also be compared with those from the 2004-05 National Health Survey.

In Western Australia over three-quarters (78%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over considered their health to be 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent'. Although the same proportion of Indigenous people assessed their health as 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent' at the state and national level there were differences in the distribution of these ratings. In WA a lower proportion rated their health as 'very good' or 'excellent' (36% compared with 43%) and a higher proportion assessed their health as 'good' (42% compared with 35%). 'Fair' or 'poor' health was reported equally by 22% of Indigenous people in Western Australia and for Australia as a whole.

For further information contact Phil Smythe Ph 9360 5224 or email: phil.smythe@abs.gov.au