Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home
Newsletters - Stats Talk Western Australia - Issue No. 15, September 2005

In this issue

Feature Articles
Feature Publications
Regular Features


Western Australian government employees are able to access ABS@ by using a web browser directly from their desktop with unlimited free access to all ABS published data, enabling convenient access to:
  • All ABS publications from 1998 onwards in Adobe Acrobat Format;
  • Over 2,000 spreadsheets containing economic and social time-series data;
  • Data Cubes in the form of multi-dimensional datasets in SuperTABLE and Excel;
  • 1996 and 2001 Census Data;
  • Information on concepts underlying ABS statistical collections;
  • A directory of sources of statistical information;
  • ABS@ also has the capacity to act as a container for ABS and non-ABS items, which can be submitted by individual agencies for other users to access and benefit from.

ABS@ training has been provided to a number of State Government Departments and agencies and we are happy to report that staff who have received training have been extremely pleased with the amount of useful data and information that is available from ABS@.

ABS data is a valuable source of information and the improved availability of this relevant, high quality data to State Government decision makers and planners will support continued research and inform policy formulation.

In addition to improving access to ABS data the Consultancy Container attached to ABS@ will be populated with data provided by other government agencies.

As part of the release of ABS@, many agency staff now have access to the ABS@ Consultancy Container through the web. It can be located by clicking on 'Information Consultancies' in the green menu bar on the left hand side of the consultancy screen.

What is the ABS@ Consultancy Container?

The ABS@ Container is a facility within ABS@ that enables the storage of data for access by WA government agencies. It is divided into two parts:

  • ABS Consultancies; and
  • Non-ABS Consultancies.

The ABS Consultancies part will contain consultancies undertaken for WA government agencies. With the permission of the agency purchasing a particular consultancy, the data will be placed in the Container for access by all other WA government agencies. This will enable free sharing of the data and reduce cost to the WA government as a whole.

The non-ABS Consultancies part can be populated with the data holdings of government agencies. If an agency holds data that is suitable for use by other WA Government agencies, it can have this data placed in the Container. This may be in a variety of forms such as agency reports, spreadsheets or even a hot link to where the data is stored on the agency's web site.

An inventory of WA government data holdings is being developed and will be included in the Container. This will provide metadata to describe the purpose and methodology in compiling the data and will address issues associated with suitability for use.

Importance of the ABS@ Consultancy Container

The ABS@ Container is available as part of the 12 month contract between the ABS and the WA government. At the end of this contract, the usefulness of ABS@, and the Container in particular, will be assessed to decide on whether it will continue to be made available.

As part of the National Statistical Service (NSS), the Container has been provided to increase the range of statistical information that can be easily accessed and shared across government agencies. The increased awareness of the statistics available will assist in better reporting, informed decision making and policy formulation.

The future of the Container will depend on its usage through the loading of data holdings and application of these for WA government purposes.Therefore, agencies are particularly encouraged to contribute statistical information for inclusion. This should be done in partnership with the WA ABS office with a view to maintaining and improving quality.

For further information, please contact your agency ABS@ representative.

For agencies involved in the initial roll out, ABS@ is now available online. For other agencies please contact National Information Referral Service 1300135 070.

back to top

View from the Top

Improved Access to ABS Statistics

Two recent developments have improved access to ABS statistics for WA Government agencies and for the community generally.

The WA Department of Treasury and Finance recently entered into an agreement with the ABS for supply of a service termed ABS@WAGov. Under this agreement state public servants will have free access to ABS statistics and other facilities to assist with the sharing of data.

Around the same time it was announced that ABS publications will be available free to all users from the ABS web-site. The ABS will be looking into the scope to provide further information beyond publications free of charge in the future.

WA Office Report to ABS Management

In July I presented the annual report on the operations of the WA Office to ABS senior management. The report showed that there is increasing demand from State Government agencies for the services offered by the Office.

Each area of the Office had registered some significant achievements over 2004-05 and the Office has managed its financial and human resources effectively.

The report identified the significant challenge for the Office in increasing its staff numbers to handle the Census and other new activities in the year ahead.

Enhancing the Use of Census Data

Following an extensive consultation process, which had a strong focus on privacy issues, the ABS has announced its approach to linking Census data over time.

Beginning with the 2006 Census, a sample of five per cent of records will be matched to successive Census results using statistical methods.

No name and address information will be used in this process, continuing the long standing policy of destroying names and addresses from Census returns after processing. As it becomes progressively available, the new linked data should assist researchers to identify changes and transitions in the community.

back to top

Free on the Web

The Australian Bureau of Statistics was given additional funding in the last budget to allow free access to electronic versions of ABS publications on the ABS web site. This will improve the availability of official statistics to all Australians, as everyone can now download publications without charge.

You can now access an expanded range of free publications on the ABS web site, including:

  • electronic publications (PDF and HTML based content); and
  • electronic tables in spreadsheet or data cube format which contain publication tables.

The ABS is also considering adding further free on the web content from 1 January 2006. Pending a final decision, this may include most, if not all, remaining standard priced products such as:

  • time series spreadsheets; and
  • other spreadsheets and data cubes.

For more information visit the ABS web site
back to top

Western Australian Statistical Indicators

The following feature articles appear in detail in the Western Australian Statistical Indicators (ABS cat. no. 1367.5) and are available free on the web:

Western Australia’s Changing Trade Relations - The Emergence of China and India
The direction of Western Australia's trade has seen major changes over the ten years to 2003-04, reflecting economic changes in Asia. In particular, China and India have emerged as two of the state's leading trading partners, accounting for 11.4% and 6.6% of total merchandise trade respectively in 2003-04. This article reviews Western Australia's international trade relations over the ten years to 2003-04. It then explores in more detail the state's trade with the emerging markets of China and India.

Disability, Ageing and Carers in Western Australia
Family members and friends are the main providers of care to people with disabilities and to the frail aged. While caring is often rewarding, it can also involve substantial personal and financial cost. Information about the circumstances of people with disabilities, the frail aged and carers is important to inform government policy and to determine the need for formal support and services.

This article highlights selected findings from the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) for people living in Western Australia.

Western Australian Statistical Indicators provides information on:

  • State Accounts
  • Prices and Wages
  • Retail Turnover
  • Finance and Investment
  • Building and Engineering Construction
  • Overseas Trade
  • The Labour Market
  • Agriculture
  • Mining and Energy...and much more

Each issue also includes an analysis of recent movements in key state economic and labour market data, as well as a section on social trends, which presents information on income and housing for Western Australia.

back to top

Home Safety and Security

One in Twenty WA Households Victims of Break-ins

One in twenty (5%) Western Australian households had been a victim of a break-in or an attempted break-in during the 12 months prior to October 2004.

The Home Safety and Security survey also found that more than one-quarter (26%) of these households had been a victim of either a break-in, or an attempted break-in, more than once.

Less than half of Western Australian households had deadlocks (42%) or security screens (45%) on all of their external doors at the time of the survey. Just over one-quarter (27%) of households had a security/burglar alarm installed.

An estimated four out of every ten break-ins or attempted break-ins occurred during a weekday in daylight. The survey also found:

  • 40% of households, who had most recently been a victim of an actual break-in, reported the point of entry was unlocked at the time of the incident.
  • Seniors households (where at least one person was aged 60 years or over) were half as likely (3%) to be a victim of a break-in or attempted break-in compared with other households (6%).

An estimated seven in 10 Western Australian households had working smoke alarms installed in October 2004. Other information on smoke alarms includes:
  • 15% of households that had working smoke alarms installed (that were at least 12 months old) had never tested them.
  • Almost one-fifth (18%) of households that had working battery-powered smoke alarms installed (that were at least 12 months old) had never changed the batteries in those smoke alarms.

For further information consult Home Safety and Security, Western Australia (ABS cat. no. 4526.5.55.001)

back to top

National Statistical Service Update

Inventory of State Government Data Holdings
A trial of this inventory process is almost complete. Metadata has successfully been collected for a range of datasets from five agencies, including: Department for Planning and Infrastructure, Main Roads WA, Health Department of WA, WA Police Service, and Department of Education and Training. The metadata has been incorporated into excel spreadsheet format. Agency data custodians involved in this project were convened by the ABS for the purpose of obtaining collective feedback from the process, to identify the benefits or otherwise of the concept, and to contribute their expertise to the future development of the data inventory. With the introduction of ABS@WA Gov, the group agreed that the ABS@ consultancy container is the most preferred facility to publish the inventory. The ongoing development of the data inventory project will involve the cooperation of the majority of government agencies and focus on particular ‘themes’ of interest (e.g women, indigenous persons and health).

NSS web site updates
A search Portal has recently been introduced to the NSS web site. Designed as an information search facility, it enables users to search for statistics across a range of Australian and State Government agency web sites. Several search options are available. The default search is set to cover all agencies currently linked to the portal, and there is also the facility to restrict your search to one or more selected agencies. Over the next twelve months the facility will continue to expand the range of web sites upon which searches can be made.

You can try searching some sites now at:

For further information contact NSS Coordinator, Andy Separovic on (08) 9360 5920 or email:

back to top

National Data Network Update

WALIS/ABS partnership
Paul Vickers from Central Office, Canberra visited WA in April for discussions with Western Australian Land Information Service (WALIS) and Department of Land Information (DLI) in preparation for linking the Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) to the NDN as a state node. Paul was very impressed with the SLIP initiative and felt that the ABS could learn from DLI's experience in setting it up. Paul also met with representatives from the Telethon Institute of Child Health Research (ICHR) to discuss bringing some of the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS) data into the NDN environment.

NDN Interim Governing Board
The second meeting of the NDN Interim Governing Board was held recently. The Board provided useful guidance to the NDN management and development team in a number of key areas including: the NDN guiding principles; measures of NDN success; confidentiality within the NDN; and commercial sector involvement in the NDN. The meeting agenda and papers are available on the NDN web site. Two NDN brochures: "In brief: the National Data Network" and "Frequently asked Questions" have been recently released and are also available from the NDN web site.

Visit the NDN web site

back to top

About ABS Training Courses

Basic Survey Design
This two day course aims to provide a grounding in all facets of sample survey development. Topics include developing survey objectives, advantages and disadvantages of various collection methodologies, questionnaire design, data processing and reporting of results. Participants will learn how to:

  • formulate survey objectives, advantages and disadvantages of various collection methodologies;
  • identify issues associated with survey management and design;
  • identify appropriate survey techniques for data collection; and
  • understand the overall survey process.

This course would be useful for anyone who conducts their own surveys, or who needs a broad understanding of the issues associated with the survey process.

Course Dates 26 - 27 October 2005
Closing date for registration 12 October 2005
Early Bird closing date 21 September 2005

Turning Data Into Information
This two day course develops skills in transforming data into meaningful written information, including:

  • understanding how the collection and compilation of data affects its usefulness, quality and relevance;
  • understanding various statistical techniques for use in data analysis;
  • communicating results and writing effective reports; and
  • constructing meaningful tables and graphs.

The course is best suited to people involved in using data to produce a report or social commentary, or with analysing and describing data that has been collected in surveys or through administrative processes.

Course Dates 19 - 20 October 2005
Closing date for registration 7 October 2005
Early Bird closing date 20 September 2005

For further information about any of these courses, or ABS Statistical Training in general, please contact Carolann Hoad (08) 9360 5947 or

back to top

Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS)

The WAACHS has been one of the largest and most comprehensive investigations into the health and well-being of over 5000 WA Aboriginal children in their families and communities. The survey was designed to build a store of knowledge from which preventive strategies can be developed to promote and maintain the healthy development and the social, emotional, academic, and vocational well-being of Aboriginal children.

On Wednesday 13 April, 2005 the second volume of findings ‘The Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Children and Young People’ was launched at the Telethon Institute, Roberts Rd, Subiaco.

A copy of this report and Volume 1 of the findings 'The Health of Aboriginal Children and Young People' can be downloaded from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research web site:

back to top

Outposting Update

Department of Sport and Recreation

In May 2005, Fay Agathangelou commenced an outposting at the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR). Fay has been researching and preparing a range of fact sheets, which cover a variety of sport and recreation topics. Some of the fact sheets that have been completed include:

motivators and barriers to physical activity;
active women;
social trends, including both a long and summary version;
organised sport and physical activity; and
junior participation in sport and physical activity.

More fact sheets will become available to the public on the Department of Sport and Recreation web site and also in hard copy format as they are completed.

In addition to the fact sheets, Fay has reviewed a range of relevant literature and statistics for an upcoming survey on community perceptions of sport and recreation.

For further information contact Fay Agathangelou (08) 9492 9835 or email:

back to top

Australian Social Trends 2005

The 2005 edition of Australian Social Trends (AST) was released on 12 July 2005.

A Seminar will be held in Perth on Wednesday 2 November to provide an overview on social trends in Australia and highlight the recent edition of AST. AST seminars will be conducted in every second year only, with the next seminar in 2007.

To register your interest in attending the Australian Social Trends Seminar please contact Trevor Draper on (08) 9360 5394 or

back to top

Government Entities Marketing Association

GEMA’s charter is to provide support to government entities through innovation in marketing and sales.
Its aims are to:
provide new business opportunities and improve customer service standards;
provide educational assistance and support to marketing and sales people;
support the role of marketing and sales within government organisations and achieve its acceptance as an integral part of modern business practice
promote best practice; and
promote a better working relationship between all levels of government.

Innovative marketing and sales techniques are essential to satisfy the expanding objectives set by government. Considerable pressure is placed on the service providers, and on the government organisations which initiate the services, to deliver marketing programs that are both effective and cost efficient.

GEMA (established in 1993) provides solutions and support relevant to the day to day operations of modern governments.

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

For further information contact Dennis Pentony (08) 9268 4194 or visit the GEMA web site:

back to top

NSW in Focus

Have you ever needed to find out anything about the state of New South Wales? An extensive array of useful and interesting statistics can now be found in a new easy to use publication titled NSW In Focus (ABS cat. no. 1338.1), published annually, with the first edition released on 10 June 2005.

For further information about NSW please contact Alice Thompson (02) 9268 4194 or email:

back to top

New Releases

Information Paper: Determining Seats in the House of Representatives Legislative Requirements for Provision of ABS Statistics (ABS cat. no. 3107.0.55.002)
This information paper sets out the current requirements under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in respect of ABS population statistics to be used for determining representation of the states and territories in the House of Representatives. The paper also summarises the actions that will be taken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics when responding to the Electoral Commissioner's formal request for data to be used for the next electoral determination due to be made in late 2005.

This information paper will be republished in Australian Demographic Statistics, March Quarter 2005 (cat. no. 3101.0) scheduled for release on 22 September 2005. This release will also contain the population estimates that will be provided to the Electoral Commissioner. Please note that the release will also include routine annual revisions to the components of population growth (being for 2003-2004) and hence Estimated Residential Populations for the quarters from September 2003 onwards.

Australian Social Trends 2005 (ABS cat. no. 4102.0)

This publication is the 12th edition of an annual series that presents information on contemporary social issues and areas of public policy concern. By drawing on a wide range of ABS statistics, and statistics from other official sources, Australian Social Trends describes aspects of Australian society, and how these are changing over time. It is designed to assist and encourage informed decision-making, and to be of value to a wide audience including those engaged in research, journalism, marketing, teaching and social policy, as well as anyone interested in how we live today and how we've changed over recent decades.

The material presented in Australian Social Trends 2005 is organised into nine chapters. As in previous editions, each of the first seven chapters represents a major area of social concern (i.e. population, family and community, health, education and training, work, economic resources, and housing), with an eighth chapter covering other areas of social concern (e.g. crime and justice, and the environment). The ninth chapter provides international comparisons for a number of these areas.

National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice ( ABS cat. no. 4520.0)

The National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice Statistics has been developed over a three year period of research, consultation and preparation. It identifies twelve priority areas for the development of statistics in this field.

The Plan is an agreement to collaboratively improve statistics in crime and justice. It has been approved by the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics' three Boards of Management, key external stakeholders, and the Australian Statistician. Activities aimed at developing priority areas in crime and justice statistics involve a number of lead agencies who have committed to work together to achieve agreed outcomes.

Many of these crime and justice priority areas overlap with other statistical fields, such as: progress and social wellbeing, Indigenous issues, children and youth, families and communities, internet use and electronic crime, health and mental health, substance use, gender, cultural diversity and spatial data.

For further information contact Terry Byrnes on (03) 9615 7681 or email:

Population Projections, Australia 1999 - 2101( ABS cat. no. 3222.0)

Population Projections, Australia 1999 - 2101 contains projections (based on different assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration) of the resident population of Australia, the states and territories, capital cities and balance of states, by 5 year age groups and sex, for selected years from 2004 to 2101 (for Australia) and 2004 to 2051 (for the states and territories, capital cities and balance of states).

This publication also includes summary measures such as percentage of population at selected ages and median ages, as well as detailed notes on the assumptions that were made.

back to top

Census Update

ABS Views on Census Products and Services (ABS cat. no. 2011.0), released 9 September 2005, will provide more information about the full range of products and services that are proposed for the 2006 Census Output program.

Based on the feedback from ABS Views on Census Output Strategy (cat. no. 2011.0), it will provide examples of products, indicative release dates and prices.

A questionnaire will also be distributed with this publication to seek feedback on the design, content and functionality of 2006 Census Products and Services.

Seminars will be held in Perth on 17 and 18 October to provide an overview of the publication.

To register your interest in attending the Census User Consultation please contact Trevor Draper on 9360 5394 or email:

ABS develops a new view of records across successive censuses

The Australian Census will be made more useful to future researchers with the recent ABS’ decision to establish a Statistical Longitudinal Census Data set based on a five per cent sample of the Census.

No names and addresses will be involved, continuing the ABS' long-standing policy of destroying names and addresses from Census forms after processing. The five per cent sample will be brought together from each successive Census, beginning in 2006, using statistical matching.

The decision follows a period of public consultation on an earlier proposal that was to include a longitudinal view of the full population. Recognising that there were some public concerns, the ABS will proceed with a modified proposal that will deliver many, although certainly not all, of the benefits of the original proposal.

The five per cent sample will still provide a rich data set for addressing issues affecting mainstream Australia. However the sample will make it difficult to understand issues affecting small areas and groups, for example environmentally related health issues.

Additional datasets may be used in conjunction with the five per cent sample. For example information from a disease register, where this is available within the ABS, might be used with the longitudinal information from the Census. The first longitudinal view of the five per cent sample containing information from successive censuses, will become available following Census 2011 processing.

Further information on this proposal can be obtained from the ABS web site

Stats Talk Edition 15_1.pdf

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.