1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Sep 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/09/2010   
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A View From The Top
From the Regional Director

You might notice in this issue that one of our regular contributors, Phil Smythe, has penned an article on retirement. Fitting, given that Phil has just retired and is now travelling around Japan. Phil has been a pioneer in taking to heart the issue of really making statistics talk.

Over the last year he has been a private detective finding the average Western Australian, his article on what population growth means for WA hit the front page of the West and for a very short time he was the grim reaper talking about death. Phil was also the statistician behind the “Ask Brian” feature a few issues ago.

While the tone of these articles has been light hearted and they are intended to entertain as much as inform, they show how statistics can relate to our everyday lives. They show the breadth of statistics collected and published by the ABS to inform government decision making across Australia.

If we double or even triple those statistics by adding the administrative data collected by governments, we have a wealth of information to inform better decision making. If only it was that easy.

The truth is that administrative data is generally not well organised for statistical purposes. It suffers from data quality issues, is not clear about its scope or coverage, is not well described and is generally not very accessible. We need to start treating administrative data as a strategic asset for the State and managing it accordingly.

So thank you Phil, for showing us how stats relate to our everyday lives and best wishes in your retirement.

Michael Tindall, Government Statistician and ABS Regional Director, Western Australia

Michael Tindall,
Government Statistician and
ABS Regional Director,
Western Australia