1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, March 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/04/2010   
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1. NatStats 2010 Conference

2. Climate change in Australia

3. The Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index

4. Perspectives on Migrants

5. Information Paper - Improving Net Overseas Migration

6. Historical Demographic Statistics

7. Research paper on data linkage

8. New National Crime and Safety Survey

9. Social Inclusion

10. Perspectives on Sport

11. Australian Social Trends: Latest edition

12. Measures of Australia's Progress: Regional data

13. Detailed Wage and Salary Earner Statistics

14. Latest NSW Population Estimates

15. Australians' Experiences in Education and Training

16. ABS releases standards for Income Variables in data collections

17. Researching Indigenous Identification in Mortality Data via data linkage

18. ABS Views on 2011 Census Output Geography

19. Are you in an ABS survey?

20. Measuring Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

21. Implementation of revised international statistical standards in the Australian Tourism Satellite Account


The Australian Bureau of Statistics is pleased to announce that Dr Ken Henry, Secretary to the Treasury, will be providing the opening Plenary address at the upcoming NatStats 2010 Conference.

NatStats 2010 is an initiative of the National Statistical Service and will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, from 15–17 September 2010.

NatStats 2010 will bring together an array of leaders and high profile commentators, researchers and policy makers from all levels of government, academia, community and business. The conference was initiated to assist in the development of a collaborative approach to national statistics. It focuses on various issues surrounding quantitative and qualitative research, which have been highlighted by key government initiatives.

The overall theme of this year's conference is "Measuring what counts: economic development, wellbeing and progress in 21st century Australia". Delegates will discuss issues surrounding various topics including:

1. Challenges facing Australian society: issues, policy and information.
2. Australia in the global economy. Do we measure up?
3. Improving Australian's wellbeing.
4. Measuring progress: from theory to practice.

NatStats 2010 will build on the success of the first NatStats conference held in 2008, where around 480 delegates attended. A major outcome of the 2008 conference was the tabling of a statistical declaration to guide the development of a national statistical strategy for Australia in the 21st century.

An exciting program is being developed and will address a range of issues regarding national statistics. If you would like any further information, please email natstats@nss.gov.au.

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The latest release of Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends (cat. no. 4613.0) contains a feature article on climate change. The article begins with a brief discussion of the science of climate change, followed by a statistical examination of Australia’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, and opportunities for reducing emissions in Australia. The last section presents statistics related to the impacts climate change is projected to have on Australia’s society, economy and environment and some broad adaptation measures being undertaken.

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In 2009 a comprehensive review of Australia's pension system, including indexation arrangements, lead to the conclusion that "an alternative measure of price change which is more fully responsive to specific changes in pensioners' purchasing power would be appropriate". As a result the ABS has been funded to produce the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).

Since the PBLCI series began in June quarter 2007 it has risen 8.2%, compared to 7.0% for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In the 2009–10 Budget, the government has indicated that it will use the PBLCI to index base pension rates where it is higher than the CPI. Differences have occurred due to different contributing components (such as the inclusion of mortgage interest and consumer credit charges in the PBLCI) and different expenditure patterns of age pensioner and other government transfer recipient households compared to the overall household sector covered by the CPI.

Initially, the PBLCI will be constructed as a by–product of processing the quarterly CPI. Over time, the ABS will progressively improve the index to better reflect the price changes experienced by pensioners and beneficiaries. For further information see Information Paper: Introduction of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 6466.0) and Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (cat. no. 6467.0).

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Perspectives on Migrants publication was released on 5 March 2010. The fourth edition in the series Perspectives on Migrants (cat. no. 3416.0) contains two articles providing insight into migrants' labour force experiences and conditions, based on recently released data from Labour Force supplementary surveys.

  • Job search experience of persons born overseas - This article explores the job search related experiences of migrants, broadly defined by their country of birth and year of arrival to Australia. The discussion focusses on two groups in the labour force - recently employed migrants (those who started their current job in the last 12 months) and unemployed migrants (those seeking work). The article looks at aspects of previous labour market experience, the duration of current unemployment or time looking for work, the steps taken to attain work and also the difficulties faced in finding work.
  • Forms of employment for persons born overseas - This article examines the types of employment in the Australian labour market for both Australian and overseas born people. Of particular interest is the type of employment migrants obtain once they become settled in the community and how this compares to that of the Australian-born people in the workforce. The article focuses on the three broad types of employment; employees, independent contractors and business operators and considers labour force status and conditions of employment such as entitlement to paid leave.

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Information Paper - Improving Net Overseas Migration (cat. no. 3412.0.55.001) was released on 12 March 2010. This paper reports on the improvements made by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to the quality of Australia's net overseas migration estimation. It discusses changes made to the methodology and examines the source data used to estimate net overseas migration.

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Historical demographic publications are progressively being added to the ABS website, under the product title Demography Bulletin (cat. no. 3141.0). These include population, vital statistics and migration information for Australia and states and territories in the form of facsimiles of Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics Population and Vital Statistics Bulletins (1906 to 1921), Australian Demography Bulletins (1922 to 1937) and Demography Bulletins (1938 to 1971). Much of the information contained in Australian Historical Population Statistics (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001) has been sourced from these publications.

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As part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Census Data Enhancement project, the Migrants Quality Study was conducted to assess the feasibility of linking the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Settlement Database (SDB) to the Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset (SLCD), without the use of name and address as linking variables. The results of this study have been released in a research paper Assessing the Quality of Linking Migrant Settlement Records to Census Data (cat. no. 1351.0.55.027).

The paper provides some background to the Migrants Quality Study, a brief description of the linking process, a thorough evaluation of the quality of the linked data, and associated discussion about the usefulness of the linked data. The results from the quality study indicate that linking the SDB to the SLCD is feasible and can produce useful information that no other data source currently provides. However, some quality issues have been identified that need to be thoroughly understood to ensure the linked data is correctly interpreted and appropriately used.

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The first release from the new National Crime and Safety Survey, Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2008–09 (cat. no. 4530.0), was published on 18 February 2010. It contains the first results from the redeveloped National Crime and Safety Survey. A 2006–07 review of the survey resulted in several changes including the survey frequency (annual from three-yearly), and methodology vehicle (telephone interviewing as opposed to the mail-out mail-back). These changes in methodology resulted in a break in series so that data may not be comparable to previous crime and safety survey results.

The aim of the annual survey is to provide: headline measures of the prevalence of a range of selected personal and household crimes; reporting rates to police of these crimes; and a select range of indicators such as feelings of safety and perceived problems in the neighbourhood. The new vehicle provides flexibility for new and emerging areas of crime to be included and in order to accommodate this, selected crimes and/or attitudinal questions may be rotated off the survey. The content of the 2008–09 survey will be similar to the content of the 2005 survey in order to provide a new benchmark.

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A report by the Australian Social Inclusion Board, Social Inclusion in Australia: How Australia is faring, was released on 22 January 2010. Social inclusion is about addressing multiple disadvantages and ensuring that everyone is able to participate fully in Australian society. It is about people having the necessary opportunities, capabilities and resources to enable them both to contribute to and share in the benefits of Australia’s success as a nation. The report uses a newly developed Indicator Framework for Social Inclusion, structured around resources, participation, and multiple and entrenched disadvantage. Data are drawn from a range of sources to provide a baseline picture of social inclusion in Australia, as well as providing a framework for action, identifying key areas where governments are working to achieve improvements in the high level outcomes.

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Issues and debates relating to sport and sporting programs are commonplace within the Australian political and media landscape. The National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics (NCCRS), through the Perspectives on Sport series, attempts to provide informed commentary to assist those interested in these major issues. The December 2009 release contains three articles: Children's participation in organised sport and dancing, Migrants and sport and Participation in sport by people with a disability.

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The ABS released the latest edition of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) on 16 March 2010. The publication draws together a wide range of statistics from the ABS and other official sources to provide a picture of Australian society and how it is changing over time.

The latest edition features five articles:
  • The labour market during recent economic downturns - The recent global financial crisis triggered a period of slowing economic growth in Australia. This article will look at how the labour market was affected during this time and compare this to previous economic downturns.
  • Health and socioeconomic disadvantage - Previous analysis has shown that disadvantaged Australians have higher levels of disease risk factors and lower use of preventative health services than those who experience socioeconomic advantage. This article examines differences in indicators of health among Australians according to the relative level of socioeconomic disadvantage of where they live
  • Are young people learning or earning? - Increasing education participation and improving transition to work outcomes for young Australians are key objectives of the Council of Australian Governments 2009 National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment. This article looks at the levels of engagement of young people in study and work including the transitions of recent school leavers.
  • Income support among people of working age - In contrast to earlier decades the period since 1996 has seen a fall in the number of working age people receiving income support. This article examines the changes that have driven that decline and profiles the recipients of income support.
  • Repeat imprisonment - The imprisonment rate has increased steadily over the last decade. This article looks at prisoners who have been released from prison and then re-imprisoned within 10 years of their release.

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Measures of Australia's Progress (cat. no. 1383.0.55.001) tries to answer the question 'is life in Australia getting better?' The next edition is due for release on 15 September 2010 as a web based publication. Spreadsheets of Australian and State and Territory data will be available to download (where applicable). The publication will also include, for the first time, a slim-line brochure which highlights key information from MAP.

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In 2006–07 there were nearly 3 million persons in NSW who derived $134 billion in income from Wages and salaries. As the economic well-being of most Australians is largely determined by the amount of income they receive, analysing geographical variations in Wages and salaries - and how these change over time - can provide valuable information about relative advantage and disadvantage in regions and the nature of regional economies in general. This publication provides data on wage and salary earners and income for all Statistical Local Areas and Local Government Areas in Australia for the years 2003–04 to 2006–07, as well as a feature article addressing such questions as:
  • Have average incomes from Wages and salaries increased over time, and if so by how much?
  • Which regions experienced higher growth in average Wages and salaries income compared to others?
  • Have average incomes from Wages and salaries increased at higher rates in capital city areas compared with regions outside capital cities?
  • Which regions with high average incomes from Wages and salaries also experienced high growth rates in Wages and salaries?
  • Which regions with low average income experienced high growth rates in Wages and salaries?

For more detail see Wage and Salary Statistics For Small Areas, Time Series, 2003–04 to 2006–07 (cat. no. 5673.0.55.003).

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The latest population estimates for NSW LGAs are available in Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2008–09 (cat. no. 3218.0), which was released on 30 March 2010. At 30 June 2009, the estimated resident population of New South Wales (NSW) reached 7.13 million people, representing about a third of Australia's population. NSW experienced the largest population growth of all Australian states and territories, with an increase of 119,500 people since June 2008.

About 63% of the NSW population (4.50 million people) resided in the Sydney Statistical Division (SD). Driven by population increases in all 43 of its Local Government Areas (LGAs), the Sydney SD increased by 85,400 people over the previous year, and had the highest annual growth rate (1.9%) of any SD in NSW. The ten LGAs with the largest growth in NSW were all within the Sydney SD. The fastest growing LGAs in NSW included the adjacent LGAs of Canada Bay (A) (4.7%) and Strathfield (A) (3.4%) in the inner west, and Auburn (A) (3.7%) in central western Sydney.

In the year to June 2009, the population in the remainder of NSW increased by 34,100 people to 2.63 million. The fastest growth occurred along the coast in South Eastern SD (1.6%), Richmond–Tweed SD (1.5%), and Hunter and Illawarra SDs (both 1.4%). About 20% of the total NSW population (1.41 million people) resided in coastal LGAs outside of Sydney SD. All 21 of these coastal LGAs experienced population increases, though only Tweed (A) exceeded the state average annual growth rate of 1.7%. Lake Macquarie (C) in the Hunter region had the largest growth, with an increase of 2,900 people. During this period approximately four in five inland LGAs experienced population growth, increasing their combined population by 15,800 to 1.22 million people. Inland LGAs outside of Sydney SD represented about 17% of the total NSW population.

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The majority of Australians of working age (89%) undertook some form of learning during the last year, according to the results from the latest Survey of Education and Training. On the job training, or learning by books or the internet was undertaken by nearly all (84%) Australians of working age. About one quarter (26%) participated in formal study at school, college, TAFE or university with slightly more (28%) taking courses that do not lead to a formal qualification. The most common field of study in formal learning was management and commerce (26%) followed by society and culture (20%). Since 2001, the proportion of people with a tertiary qualification has increased by 13%. The main reason people undertook work-related courses was that it was a requirement of their job. The health care and social assistance industry accounted for the majority of non-formal learning followed by the education and training industry.

Further information is available in Education and Training Experience, Australia 2009 (cat. no. 6278.0). Detailed State and Territory tables will be released on the ABS website by the end of April 2010 while the Basic and Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) will be available by the end of May.

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The ABS recently released Standards for Income Variables, 2010 (cat. no. 1287.0), a document on income standards that provide a reference for the use of income variables as well as the associated conceptual definitions and related issues for use in statistical or administrative collections. The manual presents statistical standards for the following variables: 'Total income', 'Equivalised total household income', 'Sources of income' and 'Main source of income'. The standards include the endorsed concepts, definitions, income measures, classifications, question modules and outputs. Government, academic and private sector organisations are encouraged to implement these standards in their own collections, thereby improving the comparability of data from different sources. The standards replace Standards for Cash income statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1287.0).

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In order to gain a better understanding of the extent of Indigenous identification in mortality data, the ABS linked 2006 Census data to death registrations to compare the reported Indigenous status from each dataset. Data linking was conducted by authorised ABS officers during the Census processing period when name and address were available to be used as linking variables. After Census processing, all Census names and addresses held by the ABS were destroyed. This data linking project is referred to as the Indigenous Mortality Quality Study, which forms part of the broader Census Data Enhancement project.

The Research Paper: Linking Census Records to Death Registrations, Mar 2010 (cat. no. 1351.0.55.030) builds on other papers already released about the Indigenous Mortality Quality Study, by elaborating on the probabilistic data linking methodology used to link the Census and death records. An evaluation of the linkage is also provided.

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The ABS is to replace the Australian Statistical Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) commencing in 2011. The Census of Population and Housing is a key source of high quality statistical data for small geographic areas. The move to the new classification will lead to improvements in the quality of small area time series data from the Census and will enable better comparison between Census and other data sources that adopt the new geographic classification.

The ABS has released a discussion paper the purpose of which is to:
  • inform census users of the geographical areas for which data from the 2011 Census will be available, and
  • seek user views on the range of products that will be available for the various levels of the ASGS.

The smallest geographical unit of the ASGS for which full 2011 Census statistics will be published will be the Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1). The SA1 will be composed of aggregates of Mesh Blocks (MB) and will be of slightly smaller average size than a 2006 Collection District (CD). SA1s will aggregate to form the higher level units in the main structure of the ASGS. Data for Mesh Blocks will be published with Usual Resident population and total dwelling counts as they were for the 2006 Census. Statistics based on user defined aggregations of Mesh Blocks will not be available.

The ASGS, with improved geographical resolution, will provide statistics of comparable or better quality for most non-ABS geographies that were previously derived from whole CDs. These will include Local Government Areas (LGAs), suburbs, postal areas and Commonwealth and State electoral divisions. The ASGS will also offer users a more stable and consistent output geography that is based on land use and population ranges to optimise output, whereas the old CD-based geography was designed for ease of collection of census forms.

More information can be found in Discussion Paper: Census of Population and Housing - ABS Views on 2011 Census Output Geography, 2011 (cat. no. 2911.0.55.002) and Information Paper: Outcome from The Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2008 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.002).

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The ABS Surveys Charter, 2010 specifies what you can expect when the ABS approaches you for inclusion in any of our household or business surveys. The ABS collects a wide range of data via household and business surveys. Statistical outputs resulting from household collections include the Census of Population and Housing, the National Health Survey and the Labour Force series; while outputs from business surveys include National Accounts, Retail Trade series and quarterly Business Indicators. All published data are available for free on the ABS website.

The ABS seeks to continually improve our relationship with survey participants and would appreciate your feedback in relation to any contact you have with the ABS and on the standards identified in this Charter in particular. We recognise and greatly appreciate the support of the individuals and organisations who contribute to the ongoing wealth of statistical information about our nation by participating in ABS surveys. It is only with your assistance that the ABS can continue to produce the statistics that contribute to quality informed decision making.

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The recently released publication Framework for Measuring Wellbeing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2010 (cat. no. 4703.0) describes a framework developed by the ABS, in conjunction with stakeholders, to measure the wellbeing of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The framework attempts to provide a holistic approach to the mapping of statistics about the wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. It is presented as a broad level document, balanced across selected themes or 'domains'. It will be used to guide the development of ABS Indigenous statistics, by providing an organisational structure to aid the identification of data gaps and areas for statistical improvements. It will also provide a useful structure for ABS reporting and analysis of Indigenous wellbeing. The framework is a living document and while the ABS acknowledges the assistance of, and is grateful for, the input of many stakeholder organisations during and subsequent to the consultative phase of the project in 2009, further comment is welcome.

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In November 2009 the ABS released Information Paper: Introduction of revised international statistical standards in the Australian Tourism Satellite Account, Nov 2009 (cat. no. 5249.0.55.002). On 28 April 2010 the ABS will release a further information paper that describes the numerical impacts on key aggregates and the impact on the presentation of statistics as a result of introducing the revised standards in the 2008–09 issue of the Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (cat. no. 5249.0). The paper provides mock-ups of the proposed publication and related time series spreadsheets that will be available from the ABS website. For more information see Information paper: Implementation of revised international statistical standards in the Australian Tourism Satellite Account, April 2010 (cat. no. 5249.0.55.003).

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