4714.2.55.001 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Victoria, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/06/2004   
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  • New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics for Victoria (Media Release)


June 23, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics for Victoria

The results of the second national social survey of Indigenous people were released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and point to some changes since the groundbreaking original survey in 1994.


The proportion of Indigenous people in Victoria (aged 15 and over) with a non-school qualification (e.g. from university, TAFE, etc.) has more than doubled between 1994 and 2002 - from 16% to 37%. The proportion of Indigenous people with a certificate or diploma doubled (from 15% to 31%), while those with a Bachelor degree or higher qualification rose from 1% to 6%.

Despite these improvements, in 2002 Indigenous people in Victoria (aged 18 and over) were still less likely than non-Indigenous people to have a non-school qualification (41% compared with 48% respectively).


In Victoria the unemployment rate for Indigenous people (aged 15 and over), fell from 36% in 1994 to 20% in 2002. This change parallels the decline in the national unemployment rate (from 10% in June 1994 to 6% in December 2002).

The proportion of Indigenous people employed in mainstream (non Community Development Employment Projects scheme) jobs in Victoria rose (from 38% to 42%).


The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples' incomes in Victoria remains. In 2002, Indigenous people (aged 18 and over) earned 64% of the income of non-Indigenous people ($423 per week compared to $657 per week after adjusting for household size and composition).


After adjusting for the different age structures of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous people in Victoria were:

    • more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to report their health as "fair" or "poor"
    • a little more than half as likely to report "excellent" or "very good" health
    • one and a half times more likely to have a disability or long-term health condition than non-Indigenous people.


Over the eight years since 1994, evidence highlights stability on selected cultural indicators. In Victoria in 2002:

    • just over half of Indigenous people (53%) reported attending Indigenous cultural events in the previous 12 months.
    • almost half (48%) of Indigenous people identified with a clan, tribal or language group.

Family and community:

In Victoria, Indigenous people in 2002 were almost one and a half times more likely to experience at least one life stressor (e.g. "death of family member or close friend", "serious illness or disability", or "inability to get a job") than non-Indigenous people (83% compared with 56% respectively).

Similar to the non-Indigenous community in Victoria, the overwhelming majority of Indigenous people received support from someone outside the household (88% for Indigenous people compared with 93% for non-Indigenous people).

Law and justice:

There has been a decline in the proportion of Indigenous people in Victoria who reported having been arrested in the previous five years (from 21% in 1994 to 17% in 2002).

Compared to 1994, Indigenous people in Victoria in 2002 were more likely to report that they had been a victim of physical or threatened violence in the previous 12 months (30% in 2002, up from 26% in 1994). These victimisation rates were highest among unemployed people (44%) and younger people (41% of those aged 15-24).


In Victoria the proportion of Indigenous people who were living in dwellings either owned or being purchased remained steady between 1994 and 2002 at around 35%.

More details are available in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002 (cat. no. 4714.0). State/territory comparisons for selected indicators are available in Table 2 of the publication. Additonal state and territory data cube tables are available off the publication's main features page on the ABS web site or upon request.