1367.0 - State and Territory Statistical Indicators, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2011   
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New Geographical Classification sets the Standard

How Much is Your Household Worth?

Introduction of the 16th Series of the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Find State and Territory Information more easily on the ABS Website

Australian Households Looking to the Stars

What is the Australian Longitudinal Learning Database (ALLD)?

Your National Statistical Service (NSS)


From July 2011, the ABS began to replace the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

The new geographical structure is designed to meet the specific population and geospatial requirements of ABS statistical collections. It is also designed to be far more stable, allowing better comparability of data between geographic regions and over time.

The classification was first used for output in the publication, Land Account: Great Barrier Reef Region, Experimental Estimates, 2011 (cat. no. 4609.0.55.001) which was released in February 2011. Since then, the classification has also been used for output in the publication, Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0).

The 2011 Population Census will be the first Census to use different geographies for the collection and output of data. This has allowed the primary output geography, the ASGS Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) to be designed exclusively to meet the requirements for releasing Census data. Census data will also be available for the ASGC Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) which will assist in linking Census data between the old and new classification systems.

All ABS data collections will eventually migrate onto the ASGS. For more detailed information on when and how this will happen see the summary on the ABS Geography Portal.


The ASGS incorporates all the regions used by the ABS to output data. They are divided into two broad categories:

1. ABS structures, those regions which are defined and maintained by the ABS.
2. Non-ABS structures, those regions defined and maintained by other organisations, but for which the ABS releases data.

1. ABS Structures

The ABS structures are a hierarchy of regions developed for the release of particular ABS statistics. They will be stable for 5 years between each Census, enabling far better comparison of data. Their components are described below:

Mesh Blocks
are the smallest area geographical region. There are approximately 340,000 covering the whole of Australia. They broadly identify land use such as: residential, commercial, agriculture and parks etc. Residential and agricultural Mesh Blocks usually contain 30 to 60 households. Mesh Blocks are the building block for all the larger regions of the ASGS. Only limited Census data: total population and dwelling counts will be released at the Mesh Block level.

Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s)
are the smallest region for which a wide range of Census data will be released. They have an average population of about 400. They are built from whole Mesh Blocks and there are approximately 55,000 covering the whole of Australia.

Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s)
have an average population of about 10,000, with a minimum population of 3,000 and a maximum of 25,000. The SA2s are the regions for which the majority of ABS sub-state intercensal data, for example Estimated Resident Population and Health and Vital Statistics, will be released. There are about 2,200 SA2s, built from whole SA1s.

Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s)
are a medium sized region with a population of approximately 30,000 to 130,000. They represent recognised regional areas and the functional areas of regional cities. They are built from whole SA2s.

Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s)
will be used for the release of Labour Force Statistics and are designed around labour markets. They are built from whole SA3s.

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) define the socio economic extent of each capital city for the output of survey data and economic indicators. They are built from whole SA4s.

Significant Urban Areas (SUAs) define individual urban areas or closely linked clusters of urban areas with populations over 10,000. They contain the urban area itself and any immediately associated semi-urban development. They are built from whole SA2s.

Urban Centres/Localities, Section of State and Remoteness Areas will be broadly comparable to previous Censuses but will be built from SA1s.

Indigenous Regions, Areas and Localities
are designed for the presentation of Indigenous data. At the Indigenous Locality level, it is possible to identify data on particular Indigenous Communities.

2. Non-ABS Regions

Non-ABS structures will be approximated or built directly from Mesh Blocks or SA1s. They include such important regions as: Local Government Areas (LGAs), postal areas, state gazetted suburbs and electoral divisions. LGAs remain part of the ASGS and the ABS will continue to support LGAs with the data it currently provides.

The diagram below summarises the overall structure of the ASGS.

GRAPHIC: ASGS Structure and Summary


The first ASGS publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001) was released in December 2010 and contains the digital boundaries, labels and codes for the Mesh Blocks, the SA units and Greater Capital Cities SAs.

The second publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.002) was released in September 2011.

The Non-ABS Structures publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003) was released in July 2011 and contains the digital boundaries, labels and codes for the Non-ABS Structures listed above.

The fourth ASGS publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 4 - Significant Urban Area, Urban Centres and Localities and Section of State (cat. no. 1270.0.55.004) will be released in October 2012.

The fifth ASGS publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005) will be released in December 2012.

The regions defined in the ABS Structures will not change until the next Census in 2016, although the Non-ABS Structures will be updated annually.

Further Information

For more information please follow the link to the ABS Geography Portal. If you have any questions regarding the ASGS please email geography@abs.gov.au.


In October, the ABS published estimates of the assets, liabilities, net worth and other characteristics of households and persons resident in private dwellings in Australia, compiled from the 2009-10 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). It includes estimates of the distribution of wealth (net worth) across the population.

The 2009-10 results found that the wealthiest 20% of households had increased their average net worth 15% since 2005-06 (CPI adjusted), while the poorest 20% of households saw only a 4% rise. These wealthy households had an average net worth of $2.2 million per household, and accounted for around two-thirds of total household wealth. The poorest 20% of households had an average net worth of $32,000 per household, which accounted for 1% of total household wealth (see graph below). The publication includes a feature article that examines the characteristics and economic circumstances of people living with low economic resources, including those with low wealth, low income, and both low wealth and low income.

Graph Image for Percentage share of total net worth

The average wealth of an Australian household in 2009-10 was $720,000, up 14% (CPI adjusted) since 2005-06. There were differences in the average levels of wealth between the states and territories. Average net worth in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania were below the national average. Household wealth was more concentrated in metropolitan areas. The average net worth of households located in capital cities was $772,000 as compared with $629,000 in areas outside of capital cities.

Owner-occupied homes were the main asset held by Australians. Mortgages on them were the main liability, with over two-thirds of Australian households owning their own home either outright or with a mortgage. For households who owned their home outright (2.7 million households), the average value of the home was $541,000. For those households with a mortgage on their home (3 million households), the average value of the home was $521,000, and the average mortgage outstanding was $188,000, giving a net home equity of $333,000. One in five households owned property other than their own home, including holiday homes and rental properties.

Superannuation was the main financial asset held by households, with three-quarters of all households having some superannuation assets. For households with superannuation, the average value of their superannuation was $154,000, but for half of these, the value was less than $60,000.

More information can be found in Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 6554.0).


On 26 October 2011 the ABS released the first Consumer Price Index (CPI) on the basis of the 16th series in respect of the September quarter 2011.

The CPI was first compiled in 1960 with the series extending back to the September quarter 1948. The CPI was preceded by five series of retail price indexes compiled by the (then) Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics as far back as 1901. These series were titled the A, B, C, and D Series, and the Interim Retail Price Index respectively. The C Series Index, which began in 1921, was the principal retail price index in Australia prior to the introduction of the CPI in 1960.

The introduction of the CPI heralded a change in the approach to measuring retail price movements. Rather than compiling a set of discrete fixed-weighted indexes, the new approach was to produce a series of short-term fixed-weighted indexes that were to be regularly linked together to provide a single continuous measure of price change. This strategy was adopted to ensure that, at any point in time, the weighting patterns and item coverage of the CPI were relevant to user requirements and reflected contemporary economic conditions as well as possible. The CPI now comprises sixteen linked indexes. The CPI originally consisted of weights from 1948. Weights were updated in 1952 and subsequently in 1956, 1960, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2011.

The 16th series CPI, consistent with the 13th, 14th and 15th series, has been designed as a general measure of price inflation for the household sector as a whole. The CPI measures changes in the price of a fixed basket of goods and services acquired by consumers in metropolitan private households. It is updated at regular intervals, usually every six years, to ensure it continues to meet community needs. The most important objective of these reviews is to update the CPI weighting patterns, which represent the average Australian household expenditure on goods and services.

Key changes in the 16th series CPI

The 16th series CPI includes a number of updates which were incorporated from the September quarter 2011. The All groups CPI was not revised as a result of the updates. The key changes for the 16th series CPI are:
  • the CPI commodity classification (CPICC) used to categorise the goods and services in the CPI was updated to ensure it reflected contemporary wording and groupings. To enable greater international comparability, the classification was aligned with the United Nations Classification of Individual Consumption according to Purpose (COICOP) where possible. There was considerable re-naming and some re-ordering of the items in the classification. The coverage of household expenditure remained largely the same as the 15th series CPI, with two exceptions:
    • the indirectly measured component of the ‘Deposit and loan facilities’ index was removed from the headline CPI with direct fees and charges remaining;
    • the ‘Motor vehicles’ expenditure class now incorporates new cars, transfer of used cars to the household sector (from business or government) and the service fee for the transfer of second hand cars. This is a change from the 15th series which only included the purchase of new cars.
  • new household expenditure weights were derived from the 2009-10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) and other data sources;
  • an additional number of analytical measures of inflation were produced:
    • an All groups CPI, seasonally adjusted, weighted average of eight capital cities;
    • expenditure class level price indexes seasonally adjusted, weighted average of eight capital cities;
    • an All groups CPI including deposit and loan facilities (indirect charges); and
    • an All groups CPI excluding food and energy.
  • the analytical measures of trend inflation, the Trimmed mean and Weighted median, were revised and calculated using the standard ABS seasonal adjustment methodology.

General information about CPI is available at Topics @ a Glance - Inflation and Price Indexes.


Eight new State and Territory Topics @ a Glance pages have now been released on the ABS website!

The new pages will help you locate information on state and territory-specific services and publications more easily.

To access the pages:

1. Go to the ABS Home page and access the Topics @ a Glance heading on the grey navigator bar

GRAPHIC: ABS website header bar

2. Select your state or territory located under the 'Regional' pillar.....

GRAPHIC: ABS Topics @ a Glance page

There are four main headings, which are standard across the eight state and territory home pages, represent client interest areas:
            • Find [your state or territory] Statistics
            • Services ABS provides
            • Services for State (or Territory) Government
            • Contact Us

GRAPHIC: NSW topics @ a Glance page

The What's new section features important or recently released publications, information or events relevant at either the national, or state or territory level. Navigation between the state and territory pages is now much simpler, with all state and territory main pages accessible via the new left hand navigator.

For interest, the inclusion of a Did you know section offers a concise fact about the state or territory.

State and territory government clients, through the new Services for State (or Territory) Government page, now have a single entry point for the specific services available to them. Working examples have been provided in some areas to help illustrate the breadth and types of services the ABS offers.


In 2011, approximately 50% of Australian households considered energy star ratings when purchasing selected electrical appliances. In contrast, only one-third of households that purchased a heater or air conditioner considered energy star ratings.

The proportion of Australian households with a cooler in use (either a refrigerated air conditioner or an evaporative cooler) increased from 59% in 2005 to 73% in 2011. Tasmania has shown the largest increase in the use of coolers from 19% in 2005 to 44% in 2011.

Of all Australian households, 69% had some form of insulation. In the Australian Capital Territory, 81% of households had insulation compared with 44% of households in the Northern Territory. An estimated 70% of Australian households indicated that their main reason for installing insulation was to 'achieve comfort' although more than one in ten (11%) did so to save on energy bills.

In 2011, 52% of hot water systems in Australian households were electric while 36% were mains gas. Of all hot water systems, less than one tenth were solar powered (8%). Northern Territory had the highest proportion of households with solar hot water systems (46%) followed by Western Australia (21%).

Graph Image for Households with solar hot water systems, 2011

Further information about household energy use and conservation inside the dwelling and outdoors, can be found in Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001). The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Energy Use and Conservation (EUC) Survey conducted throughout Australia in March 2011 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The aim of the Survey was to collect information on how households use and conserve energy. The publication was released on 24 October 2011.


The ABS has developed a model of how existing educational statistical information could be structured into a student-centred longitudinal database, called the Australian Longitudinal Learning Database (ALLD). An ALLD would link data on the pathways and outcomes of Australian students from early childhood education to schooling, post-school education and potentially labour force outcomes. The model would bring together information on early childhood education, schooling, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and higher education. Other information could also be incorporated, such as childhood development information from the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), or the results of literacy and numeracy testing and academic results. All of this information could be stored in an enduring, linked statistical and research database.

Information derived from the ALLD would allow governments and researchers to develop a better understanding of the drivers and underlying factors affecting student progress and outcomes. It would facilitate improved measurement of participation in early childhood education, school performance and social inclusion, and inform national agreement reporting through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and other monitoring processes. Currently, data collected in the early childhood, education and training sectors is fragmented and sector specific. While there is a good deal of information available on participation in education and training, there is only limited information on the educational pathways and outcomes for students. This is largely due to the data being collected from a variety of sources.

The model being proposed by the ABS is known as the Australian Longitudinal Learning Database, and is represented by the diagram below.

The major arc in the diagram represents how enrolment information from the different sectors would be linked to provide student pathways from early childhood education and school to VET and higher education. Enrolment information could be linked to statistical collections such as the Census (block below the arc) providing a foundation of core socio-demographic characteristics and eventual labour force outcomes. The first thin band above the enrolment arc shows a variety of supplementary and education performance information (such as AEDI, NAPLAN and Year 12 results) which could be integrated into the database. The other band above the arc represents the multiplicity of pathways among education, the labour force and other activities.


For more information on this project refer to the full text of the ALLD Concept Paper, or contact:

Jeff Carlton, ALLD Consultant, National Centre for Education & Training Statistics on (02) 6252 5430; email jeff.carlton@abs.gov.au or

Caitlin Szigetvari, ALLD Project Leader, National Centre for Education & Training Statistics on (02) 6252 7034; email caitlin.szigetvari@abs.gov.au.


Logo: National Statistical Service (NSS)

Purpose of the NSS
In an increasingly complex and fast-moving world, Australia requires a contemporary national statistical system that can adapt and respond to emerging priorities. Official statistics are fundamental to good government, to the delivery of public services and to decision making in all sectors of society. Australia’s information needs are growing as the world becomes more interconnected.

The National Statistical Service (NSS) is a community of government agencies, led by the ABS as Australia’s national statistical organisation, building a rich statistical picture for a better informed Australia.

NSS Objectives

The four key objectives of the NSS are:

Values - Governments and the community value and support high integrity information. Providing a world class official statistical service that retains the confidence and trust of the Australian society;

Content - Public information sources are used to provide a statistical picture of the economy, society and the environment. This includes optimising the use, for official statistical purposes, of data available within government administrative systems;

Capability - Producers and users are able to manage data, make it accessible and use it well;

Statistical Infrastructure - Statistical standards, policies and tools are shared to maximise the value of investment, reduce provider load and support integrated statistics.

NSS Strategic Priorities

The ABS is working in collaboration with Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments and other sectors to progress the following strategic initiatives to enhance the NSS:
  • supporting improvements to measures used in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) performance reporting;
  • supporting governance and institutional arrangements to further statistical data integration of public information assets for statistical and research purposes; such as providing a safe and effective environment;
  • the modernisation of Information Management infrastructure to establish an environment in which Australian governments and the community can easily find, access, and combine statistical information;
  • identifying in a highly consultative way the essential statistical assets for Australia to protect and prioritise government investment in official statistics;
  • Enabling statistical information to be integrated with location information.

As part of progressing the NSS the ABS will be hosting the third NatStats conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 12 - 14 March 2013. The theme for NatStats 2013 is “A better informed Australia: the role of statistics in building the nation”. For more information about the conference, see: NatStats 2013.

Further information about the NSS can be found on the NSS website at www.nss.gov.au or by emailing inquiries@nss.gov.au.

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