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Newsletters - Stats Talk Western Australia - Issue No. 20, December 2006

In this issue

Feature Articles
Feature Publications

Towards 2011, the next Census

2011 will mark one hundred years of the National Census in Australia. Planning has already commenced on ways to commemorate this historic and significant event. Certain aspects of the Census will not change, including:
  • Universal coverage - every person in Australia will be counted;
  • Self enumeration - most people will fill in their own forms; and
  • Special enumeration strategies for harder to count groups will continue.

Evaluation is currently underway on various aspects of the 2006 Census to assist planning for the 2011 Census. Tests , evaluations and recommendations from 2006 will all contribute to efficient and effective field procedures, form design and processing, and output for 2011. The ABS actively exchanges ideas and experiences with other statistical agencies on international best practice in the field of census taking. The aim is to understand and respond to social change in Australia, the evolving information needs of the community, and opportunities offered by new technology.

The Australian Statistician will be calling for submissions in relation to the 2011 Census in early 2008. If you would like to be notified of the commencement of the consultation period, please email your contact details to Darran Holder if you wish to be added to the consultation list.
Introducing Michael Tindall, Regional Director, ABS, WA

Michael is an experienced public sector manager who has worked extensively within the public sector, initially within State government, and subsequently as a General Manager of Finance Assistance Programs in Austrade and as a senior Trade Commissioner. More recently he has added to his experience within government, through consultancy work on a number of strategic projects for government, including work with Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and Department of Health and Ageing. In each of these roles, he has been responsible for building relationships with, and delivering services to a range of key stakeholders.

Since the retirement of Alan Hubbard on the 30th of November, Michael has been familiarising himself with his new surroundings.

Congratulations Michael and welcome!

ABS@ Update

ABS@ is an electronic container of WA Government data and unpublished ABS data used in statistical consultancies for WA Government. It has been developed to assist in improved decision making, research and policy advice for WA Government. ABS@ also encourages the development of universal performance indicators and the sharing of both ABS consultancies and State Government agencies' data and metadata.

As information sessions regarding the 2006 Census Data and products are now beginning, it is the perfect time to consider the options of sharing the cost of consultancies with agencies requiring similar data and also having the data placed on the ABS@ container for all to access.

For further information, or to have data loaded to ABS@ please contact Kate Stagoll-Henn on 9360 5158 or email:

NSS/NDN Update

Work is underway to establish a Children and Youth portal on the National Data Network (NDN) to showcase the functionality of the network, using a selection of data sources and key time series indicators. The portal will demonstrate the benefits of using the NDN, particularly for the development of government policy. The demonstration portal will be released in November 2006. It is expected to evolve over time, as the range of data sources and web services available through the network expand.

For further information visit the NSS or NDN web sites and

Census 2006 Update : Did we count everyone?

The Census of Population and Housing aims to accurately measure the number of people in Australia on Census Night, their key characteristics, and the dwellings in which they live.

While every effort is made to count each person and dwelling once in the Census, it is inevitable that in such a large operation, small numbers of individuals will be missed while others will be counted more than once. Usually more people are missed than are over counted in Australia, so the Census count of the population would be less than the true population. The difference is called net undercount.

To measure net undercount the ABS conducts a Post Enumeration Survey (PES) soon after the Census. This sample survey aims to provide an independent check of the Census coverage (i.e. approximately half of 1% of private dwellings in Australia). In 2001, the PES estimated that the 2001 Census missed 1.8% of the people in Australia on Census night. However, rates of undercount can vary depending on factors such as sex, age, ethnicity (including indigenous origin) and geographic location.

In PES processing, the information collected from PES dwellings is matched against corresponding Census forms for those dwellings to determine whether a person has been counted or missed in the Census or counted more than once. Estimates of net undercount are then used to:

  • derive an estimate of the resident population for 30 June of the Census year;
  • provide users with an assessment of the completeness of Census counts, allowing them to take this into account when using Census information; and
  • evaluate the effectiveness of Census collection procedures so that improvements can be made for future Censuses.

Accurate resident population estimates are required for a wide range of uses, including the allocation to states and territories of seats in the Federal House of Representatives, the distribution of Commonwealth payments to states and territories, and demographic, social and economic studies.

More information about undercount and the methods used in the 2006 Post Enumeration Survey can be found in the Information Paper: Measuring net undercount in the 2006 Population Census, 2006 ( 2940.0.55.001)
Combined Meeting of the Economic and Social Statistics Consultative Groups

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, in conjunction with public and private sector agencies, is in the planning phases of a project to create regional profiles, the first of which will feature the Pilbara region. The specific aim of these profiles is to bring together information from a multiple of sources which can be used to aid in the planning and delivery of government services to regional WA. Eventually, these profiles could be used to develop a suite of community indicators for regions. Issues to be resolved included: the range of information to be included in the profiles; how and where to store the profiles; how to disseminate the information in the profiles; and how to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the profiles.

Members of the Economic and Social Statistics Consultative Groups participated in an interactive Workshop in order to understand what government services are delivered in the Pilbara region, explore the most appropriate range of information to include in the Pilbara profile, and determine what data currently exists for the region. This workshop focussed mainly on the range of information to be included. A small working party will be established to focus on the remaining issues. Good progress was made and the session finished with light refreshments to celebrate the beginning of the festive season.

More information about the Economic and Social Statistics Consultative Groups can be found on the ABS Web siteWA Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5)

The December quarter edition of Western Australian Statistical Indicators (WASI) contains three feature articles examining various aspects of WA.
'Pathways and Related Outcomes in Western Australia' looks at a range of education indicators and their interrelationship with the labour market. Participation in full-time education by those aged 15–19 and 20–24 years has generally increased in Western Australia over the past 20 years, but for now at least may have peaked. The participation of 15–19 year olds was 48% in August 1986, reached as high as 67% in August 2003, and was 61% in August 2006
For 20–24 year olds, participation increased from 7% to 27% between August 1986 and August 2003 and was 24% in August 2006. The decline in participation since 2003, coincides with a period in which the State's economy has been booming and there have been increased labour market opportunities for young people.

'Drivers of Perth's Rising Prices' looks at the reasons why the consumer price index for Perth has risen at a higher rate in recent times than the indices for other state and territory capital cities. Over the past two years, Perth's Consumer Price Index (CPI) has grown by 9.1%, much faster than in Melbourne (6.6%), Sydney (6.8%), Brisbane (7.3%) and the 7.1% growth recorded nationally. The stronger CPI growth in Perth has mainly been the result of escalating housing costs and the lag in Perth's housing cycle behind the 2002–03 boom in the eastern states. After housing costs, Perth's CPI growth was largely driven by price shocks on fruit and fuel brought about by adverse weather conditions interstate and abroad, and additionally in the case of fuel, the strong demand from China and India. Strong growth in the state's resources and construction industries has flowed through to other parts of the economy (including households), resulting in rising employment and incomes in the state, which have helped fuel the demand for goods and services in Western Australia.

'International Trade in Western Australia: 2003-04 to 2005-06' examines the changing levels and composition of imports and exports into and out of Western Australia over the past three years. Western Australia's export trade has benefited greatly from the continued expansion of the Chinese economy, as well as the recovery in Japan. Increased exports to both these countries have driven most of the state's exports growth in recent years, while the United Kingdom and some Asian countries have re-emerged as principal export markets. Strong demand from China has seen Western Australia's raw materials exports grow substantially, particularly for iron ore and nickel. Western Australia's other major export commodities, wheat and wool, have been much more variable due to the droughts in 2002-03 and 2005-06. On the other side of the ledger, Western Australia's import have also increased solidly in recent years. Import growth has been mainly driven by the commodities of gold, petroleum, motor vehicles and machinery and equipment, predominantly from Singapore, Japan and the United States. Underpinning import growth has been strong domestic demand and higher terms of trade.

These articles plus a selection of economic and social overviews are contained in Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5) which is due for release on 10 January 2007, and can be accessed at

For further information about this publication please contact Phil Smythe ( 9360 5224 or email:

Government Entities Marketing Authority
In a world of rapid change, arms of government are embracing new systems and technologies to deliver services more efficiently to clients. Innovative marketing and sales techniques are essential to satisfy the expanding objectives set by government.

Considerable pressure is placed on the individuals who provide services, and on the government organisations which initiate the services, to deliver marketing programs that are both effective and cost efficient.

This is the modern marketing challenge for all entities. It is a challenge being met by an organisation called the Government Entities Marketing Association (GEMA) established in 1993, which provides solutions and support to the day-to-day operations of modern governments.

GEMA assists individuals and organisations directly involved in the marketing of services in all three tiers of government.

Steve Dangaard, Director, ABS Corporate Communications addressed GEMA members at a breakfast meeting held at the Parmelia Hilton late in October.

More information about GEMA can be found by visiting the web site

Australian Library and Information Association Biennial Conference

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) 2006 Biennial Conference - click06: 'Create, Lead, Innovate, Connect, Knowledge' was held at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre from 19-22 September and attracted 750 delegates from across Australia and internationally.

The ABS was a very visible sponsor of, and exhibitor at, the conference. Hundreds of information professionals visited the ABS exhibition stand and spoke with the Information Skills Program (ISP) consultants and other ABS staff about ABS data, in particular Census data and the upcoming 2006 output. It was great to meet so many of our clients at the conference.

Most delegates were overwhelmingly positive about the ABS as an organisation and its data dissemination. Not surprisingly, everyone was extremely pleased about the free availability of the extended range of data via the ABS Web site.

For further information about the Information Skills Program please contact Margaret Garner ( 9360 5127 or email:

Strengthening the Capacity of Aboriginal Children, Families and Communities
Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey

The fourth volume of results from the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS) - Strengthening the Capacity of Aboriginal Children, Families and Communities has just been released.

In 1993 the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (the Institute) conducted the Western Australian Child Health Survey (WACHS), from which three volumes of findings were produced documenting the health, wellbeing and education of 4-16 year old Western Australian children.

Following on from that survey, the Institute met with Aboriginal leaders and representatives from across the state and received their endorsement to conduct a survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This survey, involving 5,289 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years living in 1,999 families across Western Australia, has been the first in Australia to gather comprehensive health, wellbeing, developmental and educational information on a population based sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The WAACHS was undertaken by the Kulunga Research Network in conjunction with the Institute and the Centre for Developmental Health at Curtin University of Technology.

This latest report sets out 23 recommended actions which are based upon findings from the WAACHS and are aimed at improving the capabilities of families and communities with Aboriginal children to achieve better outcomes. In order to successfully implement these recommendations, leaders, policy makers and service providers should also recognise the following five principles:

  • Consult and include Aboriginal people in the leadership, direction, accountability, development and implementation of strategies to improve indigenous outcomes;
  • Adjust programme content and delivery to take proper account of the capability profile of the Aboriginal population;
  • Develop programmes and funding that reflect the Aboriginal population distribution in Western Australia;
  • Adjust programmes for the regional and cultural diversity of the Aboriginal population; and
  • Test strategy and programme content for its capacity to improve the developmental opportunities to build the capabilities of children and families.

WAACHS publications can be obtained by contacting the Telethon Institute ( 9489 7777 or visiting the Web site
More than 4,000 new issues are being added to the ABS Web site

On 23 November the ABS released a large set of historical publications to the ABS Web site. The set includes all ABS Publications, national and regional titles, released during 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 including the Australia and State Year Books. With the addition of this set, the ABS Web site now holds all ABS publications released from 1994 to the present day.

This new release contains over 4,000 publications which have been converted from older scanned images to .pdf files. These historical publications appear with all current .pdf files and are treated as past issues.

The ABS Web site is one of the most viewed government web sites with 78 million pages viewed in 2005-06. As of 1 January 2006, everything available on the ABS Web site is free to view and download.

Major ABS environment statistics releases in November

Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends (cat. no. 4613.0)
This publication presents a broad selection of environmental statistics and information which illustrate topical environmental issues.

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0)
This publication presents information on environmental behaviour and practices of Australian households.

Water Account Australia (cat. no. 4610.0)
This publication is focused on the physical characteristics of Australia's water resources and presents statistics on the volume of surface and ground water assets (stocks), the supply and use of water by various industries and sectors, water re-use and discharge data.

Motor Vehicle Census

Motor Vehicle Census (cat. no. 9309.0)

This publication presents data for each state and territory, the number of vehicles on register by type of vehicle (passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, rigid trucks, articulated trucks, non-freight carrying trucks, buses and motor cycles), year of manufacture, make, gross vehicle mass and fuel type.
Interesting findings include:
  • There were 14.4 million registered vehicles in Australia in 2006, an increase of 12% since 2002.
  • Motorcycles showed the greatest increase (24.8%), climbing from 370,982 in 2002 to 463,057 in 2006.
  • Passenger vehicles went from 10.1 million to 11.2 million (10.8%) in the same period.
  • The average age of motor vehicles has fallen slightly, down from 10.7 years in 1997 to 10.1 years in 2006.
  • Tasmanians drove the oldest vehicles, with an average age of 12.0 years, while New South Wales and the Northern Territory had the youngest, at 9.1 years.
  • Campervans were the oldest type of vehicle registered, with an average age of 18.9 years, while motorcycles were the youngest, at 9.4 years.

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Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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