1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/07/2001   
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Enhancing the statistics about the Indigenous population of Australia is a high priority for the ABS with considerable resources invested in the Indigenous aspects of ABS collections and administrative datasets. Recently, the Analysis Board approved a portfolio of proposals for additional analytical work in this field.

Analysis Branch has already been undertaking a variety of joint projects, such as:

  • Developing a suite of experimental indexes that summarise the relative socioeconomic condition of the Indigenous populations in different geographic areas. This project was done jointly with the Western Australia Indigenous Statistics Unit and the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics [NCATSIS]. The project team was led by Ruel Abello.
  • Analysing the sensitivity of income distribution measures (for the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations) to choice of unit and to assumptions about the pattern of resource sharing within income units and households. This project is being done jointly with the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University. Steven Kennedy is the leader of the ABS project team.
  • Assessing the quality of the Indigenous coding of a key administrative databank, namely the Family and Community Services-Centrelink Longitudinal Dataset. This is of interest both to those who use the databank for policy design and assessment and to the ABS which might wish to use the databank to compile Indigenous statistics. This project is led by Ruel Abello.

Future topics may include:
  • Indigenous demography. ABS demographers are advising Dan Smith about the choice of a topic.
  • Administrative datasets. Several projects might explore ways of using Indigenous-coded administrative datasets to augment the data from ABS collections. We may trial this idea using administrative datasets available in Western Australia.
  • Regional estimates. There is considerable interest in using survey and administrative data to synthesise Indigenous estimates for finer geographic areas than are available at present. We may establish a pilot project to explore the methodological and data issues.
  • Estimating Indigenous "service populations". This project would try estimate the number and characteristics of Indigenous people who receive or may be eligible for government health, education, labour market and other services.

Our preferred approach is to establish joint project teams with ABS specialists in Indigenous statistics and experts in subject matter fields (e.g. demography, health, labour market, etc.) The teams would report to an Indigenous Analysis Project Board which has members from Social Conditions Statistics Branch, NCATSIS and other areas.

For more information, please contact Ken Tallis on (02) 6252 7290.

E-mail: ken.tallis@abs.gov.au