4700.0 - ABS Directions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Jun 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/06/2007   
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For further information about these and related statistics, contact Justine Boland on Canberra (02) 6252 5849.


Building on the sound basis of our existing statistical program, this paper outlines areas where the ABS could extend and enhance the suite of statistics for understanding the circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our ongoing work program will continue to include activities to understand and improve the quality of population estimates and projections, Indigenous mortality and life expectancy estimates, and measures of Indigenous labour force characteristics. We will continue to conduct a vigorous survey program aimed at producing high quality information on the Indigenous population. Collaborative efforts with other agencies, and national committees and forums, will be directed at promoting the appropriate use of Indigenous statistics, and working together to develop and improve identification in important administrative collections, such as births and deaths, and courts and police systems.

In progressing ABS directions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics a key concern will be to balance responsiveness to emerging issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy while ensuring longer-term consistency and quality within the ABS Indigenous collections. Section four outlines the current context for the development and use of Indigenous statistics.

After reviewing the current policy context of Indigenous affairs and following consultation with stakeholders, six key strategic areas have been identified to guide new or enhanced statistical activity:

  • Engagement
  • Understanding and Measuring Indigenous Wellbeing
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Youth
  • Indigenous Engagement in Economic Activity
  • Improved Reporting & Analysis of Comparisons Over Time
  • Regional Data: Improved Capacity to Support Regional and Small Area Analysis

The ABS will continue to build on its current engagement strategy, with future initiatives focusing on increasing its engagement with Indigenous people, Indigenous communities, governments, and the research community (refer to section 3.1).

The ABS will develop a framework for the measurement of Indigenous wellbeing in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders, taking into account both Indigenous perspectives of wellbeing, and policy and research priorities (refer to section 3.2).

The ABS will explore how its existing collection and analytical program could incorporate more information on Indigenous children and youth and will seek advice on the feasibility of collecting additional data on young people through Indigenous surveys in the household survey program (refer to section 3.3).

The ABS will position itself to understand, and respond to, emerging needs for Indigenous economic and business statistics through continued exploration and assessment of external administrative data sets and by investigating prospective frameworks for measuring Indigenous economic activity (refer to section 3.4).

The ABS will continue to enhance existing survey collections to improve the availability and usefulness of Indigenous data and will support efforts to improve the quality of administrative collections so as to facilitate better measurement of change over time across a range of statistics, including births and deaths registration data, population estimates and projections, life expectancy, labour force characteristics, participation in education and crime and justice statistics (refer to section 3.5).

The ABS will continue to engage with data users to monitor regional data needs and will explore innovative ways of improving availability of small area data (refer to section 3.6).

The ABS is committed to ongoing consultation on its work program, and intends to continue to review its Indigenous statistics program on a regular basis.