1392.0 - Statistical News SA, Mar 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2008  First Issue
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    Informing Decisions – ABS Service Delivery Charter 2008-2011
    Year Book Australia
    Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia: Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning
    Australia’s Environment: Issues and Trends
    Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits

    Informing Decisions – ABS Service Delivery Charter 2008-2011, 2008 (First Issue) (cat. no. 1007.0)
    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is committed to increasing access to Australia's wealth of statistical information. We do this by delivering timely, relevant and accurate statistical information, the use of which contributes to informed decision-making, research and discussion within governments, businesses and Australian and international communities.

    Users of statistics come from many sectors of the Australian community, such as:
    - Australian, State and Territory, and Local Governments;
    - Private enterprise, including small business;
    - Academics, students and teachers;
    - Researchers and librarians;
    - Media;
    - Not-for-profit organisations; and
    - The Australian community.

    The ABS offers a number of statistical information and other services to these users including:
    - ABS website www.abs.gov.au - presents published ABS data free of charge
    - Telephone enquiry service on 1300 135 070 – available between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday
    - Information consultancy – tailoring data to your specifications
    - Statistical consultancy – helping government with survey design and other statistical services
    - Out-posted ABS officers -to government agencies
    - Microdata access – including Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF), Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL), ABS Site Data Laboratory (ABSDL)
    - Email notifications and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) services

    This Charter outlines our commitment to providing a quality customer service, specifying what you can expect when you approach us for statistical or other information through any of our service channels.

    The ABS seeks to continually improve our customer service, and would appreciate your feedback on the service you receive generally, and on the standards identified in this Charter in particular.

    Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 1301.0)
    Year Book Australia is the principal reference work produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It provides a comprehensive and detailed statistical overview of various aspects of the economy and social conditions in Australia in a number of chapters including population, labour, income and welfare, education and training, housing, health, crime and justice, transport, culture and recreation, national accounts, defence and energy.

    In addition to statistical data, some feature articles are included. The world-wide Scouting movement celebrated its centenary last year. To commemorate this and to recognise the contribution that Scouting has made to the Australian community, the Australian Government has designated 2008 the Year of the Scout. Scouts Australia gladly accepted the ABS's invitation to contribute to an article featured in this edition of the Year Book.

    The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the year 2008 to be the International Year of Planet Earth. The ABS invited Geoscience Australia, the Australian Government agency with responsibility for coordinating Australia's involvement in the International Year, together with several other Australian Government departments, to contribute articles that relate to the Year's goals or research themes. Their contributions are presented throughout this edition in articles such as:
    - Understanding Natural Hazard Impacts on Australia;
    - How Do We Know About Climate in the Period Before Instruments;
    - Natural Disasters in Australia;
    - Tsunami Risk to Australia;
    - APEC and Climate Change; and
    - Sustainable Forest Management.

    Other feature articles include:
    - Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage;
    - Physical Violence;
    - Irrigation on Australian Farms; and
    - Sustaining the Mineral Resources Industry – Overcoming the Tyranny of Depth.

    SEE ALSO: Australia at a Glance, 2008 (cat. no. 1309.0)
    Based on Year Book Australia 2008, Australia at a Glance, 2008 provides condensed statistical information about agriculture, balance of payments, building, climate, consumer prices and other price indexes, demography, education, exchange rates, finance, geography, international statistical comparisons, international investment, international merchandise trade, labour force, manufacturing, mining, national accounts, retail trade, tourism, transport, wages, earnings and hours.

    Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia: Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning, 2007 (First Issue) (cat. no. 4232.0)
    This information paper reports on a project undertaken by the ABS with the aim of improving the collection and reporting of data on early childhood learning. The project is an initiative of the National Education and Training Statistics Unit (NETSU), which is funded by state, territory and Australian Government education and training departments and the ABS. The project, guided by the NETSU's Management Board, also involved consultations with other key stakeholders. The project assesses existing measures of early childhood learning and proposes a range of further measures, together with data development activities, which could improve the quality and availability of data related to early childhood learning.

    The project's aim was to identify and further develop quality, consistent national measures of early childhood learning. More specifically, the findings of the project will feed into ongoing developments in a number of key areas, namely:
    - to propose a set of high quality, consistent national measures on early childhood learning that can be used by a range of government agencies and other organisations to assess existing programs and inform policy development;
    - to undertake collaborative work aimed at developing and/or modifying indicators from existing data sources used for national reporting purposes; and
    - to identify possibilities for developing new data sources and measures which will fill current data gaps.

    The paper also provides an opportunity for input and further discussion among researchers and the community.

    Australia’s Environment: Issues and Trends, 2007 (cat. no. 4613.0)
    Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, 2007 is the 4th edition in a series that presents a broad selection of environmental statistics and information on topical environmental issues. By drawing on a wide range of ABS statistics and statistics from other official sources, Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends describes major aspects of Australia’s environment and how these are changing over time. It is designed to assist and encourage informed decision-making, and to meet the information needs of a general readership.

    The material presented in this publication is organised into two main parts. The first part explores an issue of major environmental concern, and the issue chosen for the 2007 edition is water. Water is a valuable resource. Apart from drinking water and household use, Australians rely on water as an input to almost every industry in the nation’s economy, particularly agriculture. This article explores:
    - Water Availability: Counting the drops
    Topics covered include rainfall, El Niño, run-off, dams, groundwater, aquifer storage and recovery, desalinisation and recycling
    - Water Consumption: Conflicting demands, balancing needs
    Topics covered include water consumption in agriculture (including irrigation on Australian farms), manufacturing, mining and households
    - How Healthy Are Our Rivers?
    Topics covered include water quality and river health, salinity and restoring flows
    - Water Management: Making every drop count
    Topics covered include agricultural water management practices, water trading, household water conservation and rainwater tanks
    - Case Study: The Murray Darling Basing
    Provides an overview of the Murray Darling Basin system, its water storage capacity and its health

    The second part of this publication covers major trends of relevance to the environment, included under five broad headings: population, human activities, atmosphere, water, and landscape.
    Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2003 to Jun 2007 (cat. no. 8165.0)
    This publication presents business counts, including data measuring levels and rates of business entries to and exits from the Australian economy, and business survival. Detailed counts are presented by industry, main state and territory, type of legal organisation, Institutional sector, employment size ranges and turnover size ranges.

    Findings of this publication include:
    - There were 1,963,907 actively trading businesses in Australia as at June 2006.
    - Growth in the number of businesses slowed slightly in each of the three most recent financial years, mainly due to decreasing entry rates.
    - Of the 1,868,969 businesses operating in June 2003, 65.0% were still operating in June 2006.
    - Business survival is related to the age of a business – the longer a business survives, the greater the chances of continuing survival.
    - As at June 2006, property and business services had the greatest number of businesses (492,453) followed by construction, retail trade and agriculture, forestry and fishing.
    - During 2005-06, electricity, gas and water supply and mining had the highest entry rates. Exit rates in this period were highest for communication services.