1383.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2007 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2007   
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1. Data are three-year averages, with the year shown being the last year of the three-year period.

2. See: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2005, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2005, Productivity Commission, Canberra, viewed 16 March 2007.

3. Data relate to the person's highest non-school qualification only, and some people may have more than one qualification. Components do not sum to the total as the total with non-school qualifications includes those where the level could not be determined.

Qualifications are defined as formal certifications, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs. Statements of attainment awarded for partial completion of a course of study at a particular level are excluded.

Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include the higher education qualifications and vocational education qualifications listed above. Collectively, this group of qualifications is referred to as non-school qualifications instead of post-school qualifications because students can now study for vocational qualifications, such as certificates and diplomas, while attending high school.

The level of education classification contains several levels of non-school qualifications, and for the purposes of this indicator have been combined into two groups:

  • Bachelor degree or above – Postgraduate degree, Master degree, Graduate diploma, Graduate certificate, and Bachelor degree.
  • Advanced diploma or diploma or below – Advanced diploma, Diploma, Advanced certificate, and Certificates I to IV.

4. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force (employed plus unemployed persons). The annual rates shown are the average of each month's unemployment rates, over the 12 months of the calendar year. Original data (rather than trend or seasonally adjusted data) have been used. Unemployment rates for each month can be obtained from Labour Force, Australia, Spreadsheets (cat. no. 6202.0.55.001).

The labour force underutilisation rate is the number of persons who are either unemployed or underemployed (defined below), expressed as a proportion of the labour force. It relates to September each year. Labour force underutilisation rates for September of each year can be obtained from Underemployed Workers, Australia (cat. no. 6265.0).

People who are unemployed or underemployed are defined as follows:
  • Unemployed – people aged 15 years and over who were not employed, and:
      • had actively looked for work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week; or
      • were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.
  • Underemployed – people working part-time (i.e. people who usually work less than 35 hours a week in all jobs) who wanted to work additional hours and were available to work more hours, either in the reference week or in the four weeks subsequent to the survey; and full-time workers who worked less than 35 hours in the reference week, for economic reasons.

5. Reference year for real net national disposable income is 2004–2005.

6. Disposable (after income tax) income amounts are equivalised by applying the OECD equivalence scale. The equivalised income amounts are also adjusted for changes in living costs as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). No surveys were conducted in 1998–99, 2001–02 or 2004–05. The respective data for these three years shown in the graph for economic hardship are just the midpoint values between the survey values of the previous year and the following year. The base of each index is at 1995–96 and equals 100.

The low income group comprises people in the 2nd and 3rd income deciles from the bottom of the distribution after being ranked, from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income. The middle income group comprises people in the middle income quintile (5th and 6th deciles) when all people are ranked, from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income.

People falling into the lowest decile are excluded from the low income group because, for many of them, the value of their income does not appear to be an appropriate indicator of the economic resources available to them. Their income tends to be significantly lower than would be available to them if they were reliant on the safety net of income support provided by social security pensions and allowances. At the same time, their expenditure levels tend to be higher than those of people in the second decile, indicating that they have access to economic resources other than income, such as wealth, to finance their expenditure.

7. Real national net worth is based on a volume measure with reference year of 2004–2005.

8. Reference year for multifactor productivity index is 2004–05.

9. See Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006, Australian System of National Accounts, 2005–2006, cat. no. 5204.0, ABS, Canberra. Investment in dwellings is based on a volume measure with a reference year of 2004–05.

10. There is no single standard measure for housing utilisation. However, the Canadian National Occupancy Standard for housing appropriateness can be used as an indicator of potential overcrowding. It is based on a comparison of the number of bedrooms in a given dwelling and household demographics such as the number of usual residents, their relationship to one another, age and sex. Where the standard cannot be met, households are considered to be overcrowded. For more details see Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia 2003–04 (cat. no. 4130.0.55.001).

11. Excludes seabirds, marine mammals and animals living on islands far offshore. Subspecies are included. Extinctions data have been backcast to take account of rediscoveries. There is likely to be a time lag between a species being identified as threatened and being listed. Data has been compiled from schedules to the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992, and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Increases in listings since the latter Act are not necessarily reflecting an actual increase but can be the result of taxonomic revisions and improved information from field investigations.

12. Forest conversion is land that has been cleared for the first time and total land cleared includes forest conversion plus reclearing (clearing of land which has previously been cleared). Reclearing only refers to land areas where a conversion was previously identified. Areas are for deliberate human activities where a land use change has occurred. The figures do not distinguish between the type of vegetation (whether native or non-native) that was cleared.

Data was revised with new data from the Australian Greenhouse Office's Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System. The data for 2005 has not been included as the area of land cleared was not re-estimated for the 2005 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Estimates for 2003 and 2004 should be considered as interim only and will be revised when areas of forest conversion are confirmed in the next update of the National Carbon Accounting System. For further information, see the National Inventory Report 2005 Vol 2 Part A on the Australian Greenhouse Office website.

13. The National Land and Water Resources Audit 2001 (NLWRA) defines land as having a high potential to be affected by salinity if groundwater levels are within two metres of the surface or within two to five metres with well demonstrated rising watertables. Remnant vegetation includes planted perennial vegetation. The NLWRA's salinity projections are based on a range of assumptions and data including an assumption of a continued rate of increase and no change to water balances.

14. Australia has 340 surface water management areas and 367 groundwater management units (hydraulically connected groundwater systems).

A water source with a high level of development is one where the sum of water access entitlements is between 70% and 100% of sustainable yield. An overallocated water source is one where the sum of water access entitlements is more than 100% of sustainable yield.

15. Data are from representative sites in Sydney (Liverpool), Melbourne (Footscray), Brisbane (Rocklea), Perth (Duncraig) and Adelaide (Thebarton from 1997 to 2002 and Netley for 2003 to 2005), and have been combined in proportion to each city's population. The data are the number of days when the National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM) average daily PM10 (see Endnote 16) standard is exceeded. The PM10 data from each state environmental protection agency (EPA) was obtained using the Tapered Element Oscillation Microbalance method, which continuously monitors PM10 levels in the air averaged over a 24 hour period. 1997 was the first year all of the five EPAs used this method.

16. Fine particles in the atmosphere come from a wide variety of sources, including soil (dust), vegetation (pollens and fungi), sea salt, fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning (including bushfires) and industry. Particles suspended in air have the ability to penetrate the lower airways of the lung if smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter (referred to as PM10). Increasing evidence suggests the acute health effects may, in fact, be the result of exposure to very fine particles, such as those smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (referred to as PM2.5). It is these finer particles that are the main cause of urban haze, which typically appears white. Most of these particles are generated by people, rather than occurring naturally. The human health effects are many and depend on the size and chemical composition of the particles. Particles can aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease and asthma, can affect eyesight and cause allergies.

17. The indicator measures million tonnes (megatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions. Different greenhouse gases have different effects and remain in the atmosphere for different periods of time. A tonne of methane, for example, contributes as much to global warming as 21 tonnes of CO2. To assess the impact of the different gases together, emissions of each gas are converted to a common CO2 equivalent scale and added. For example, a tonne of methane and a tonne of CO2 would equate to 22 tonnes of greenhouse gases CO2 equivalent.

Estimates for forest conversion, a component of overall greenhouse gas emissions, should be considered as interim only for 2003, 2004 and 2005, and will be revised when areas of forest conversion are confirmed in the next update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2006. In particular, the forest conversion estimate was not updated for 2005 and, as an interim measure only, was assumed to be unchanged from the 2004 estimate. For further information, see the National Inventory Report 2005 Vol 2 Part A on the Australian Greenhouse Office website.

The data are based on estimates produced using Kyoto accounting methods.

18. See McLoughlin, K (ed) 2006, Fishery Status Reports 2005: Status of Fish Stocks Managed by the Australian Government, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra; and Caton, A, McLoughlin, K and Staples, D (eds) 2000, Fishery Status Reports 1999: Resource Assessments of Australian Commonwealth Fisheries, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.

19. The victimisation rates for personal crimes are for assault and robbery victims among people aged 15 and over, and sexual assault among people aged 18 and over. Completion of the sexual assault questions for the ABS Crime and Safety Survey was voluntary, and some respondents chose not to complete them. For these respondents selected data items were imputed following a standard set of rules based on the assumption that the victimisation rates were equal for respondents and non-respondents within age groups and sex categories.

20. The victimisation rates for household crimes are for actual or attempted break-ins and motor vehicle thefts across all households (private dwellings).

21. See for example: Dawkins, P, Gregg, P, & Scutella, R 2001, The Growth of Jobless Households in Australia, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, viewed 4 March 2007; and Gregory, R 1999, Children and the Changing Labour Market: Joblessness in Families with Dependent Children, Discussion Paper No. 406, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, Canberra, viewed 5 March 2007.

22. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004, ABS data available on request, Survey of Income and Housing 2003–04, ABS, Canberra.

23. The volunteering rate of 35% for 2006 has been presented on a basis comparable to data collected in 2000 and therefore differs slightly from the volunteering rate of 34% published in Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4441.0). For more detailed information, see comparison table A2 and the discussion in the appendix in: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006, cat. no. 4441.0, ABS, Canberra.

24. According to the Australian Electoral Commission's Annual report 2005–06 'the results of Sample Audit Fieldwork indicate that, in March 2006, an estimated 93.6% of the eligible population was enrolled for the correct division.' In addition, 'the estimated participation of eligible 18–25 year olds at 30 June 2006, derived using Australian Bureau of Statistics population data, was 76.7%...' Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) 2006, AEC Annual report 2005–06, viewed 5 January 2007.

25. Information on women in parliament can be found on the following pages of the Parliament of Australia website: