1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Mar 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2009   
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Western Australian Statistical Indicators
(cat. no. 1367.5)

After 8 years as the chief provider of a vast range of statistical information and feature articles about WA, the quarterly Western Australian Statistical Indicators (WASI) (cat. no. 1367.5) has been redeveloped to further improve access to data through the ABS website and present a ‘one-stop WA shop’ for research, reporting and policy/decision making.

The new WASI has largely been based on feedback received from a wide range of clients who have provided valuable insights into how it is used and how its usefulness could be improved.

The redevelopment began last year when clients across 40 agencies were engaged in a review of the publication. Of those, over 90% confirmed that they regularly or occasionally use the publication.

WASI Review
All users of WASI stated that they found each section (Overview, Feature Article and Tables) of interest. Approximately 2 in 3 indicated that they found the feature articles and the tables useful/very useful while about a half found the overviews useful/very useful. Nearly three-quarters responded that they use WASI for policy purposes and/or reporting.

Population was by far the topic considered to be most useful. Other important topics include the labour market, state accounts, price indexes, tourism and business expectations. Other comments received included suggestions to increase the amount of social and environmental data and to include further details, such as age breakdowns and regional data.

Clients were also asked how frequently they would like to see WASI released. About half responded that they would prefer that it continue on a quarterly basis while nearly 30% indicated that they would like to see a rolling release. The remainder would be happy with a less frequent release.

More Spreadsheets
Overwhelmingly, most called for data to be accessible in spreadsheets to enable greater flexibility for the use of the data and this has become the key addition to WASI. Clients will be able to freely download data tables in Excel spreadsheets when the next WASI is released in April.

Feature Articles
In addition, the Overview section has been divided into topic sections that incorporate summarised tables and more graphs, alongside analytical text, to highlight key statistical indicators.

The feature article will provide a deeper analysis of a topical issue/emerging priority for government policy. With the global financial crisis at the forefront of issues, the March Quarter article will put household debt and earnings under the microscope.

Quarterly Releases
WASI will continue to be a quarterly publication although the future may see more frequent, if not rolling, updates of the spreadsheet tables to coincide with the release of more recent data.

Working In Partnerships
As economic data tends to be the main type that is released quarterly, it will continue to be a major part of WASI, but adding a greater range of social and environmental information will be a priority towards improving future releases of the publication. In doing so, engagement with clients will continue and opportunities to work in partnership or to add-value by incorporating other sources of information, particularly administrative, would be warmly welcomed.

With your support, the WASI team looks forward to improving this vehicle for communicating a rich set of information that better equips you to research, report and make future decisions in the future.

For further information please call Trevor Draper on 08 9360 5394.