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Newsletters - Stats Talk Western Australia - Issue No. 14, April 2005

In this issue

Feature Articles
Feature Publications

Regular Features

Australia Day Award - 30 Years Service for Labour Force Interviewer

Jenny Bromley was presented with her award for 30 years of service with the ABS at a special Australia Day morning tea. Jenny works on the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and was joined at morning tea by a group of past and present members of the LFS Interviewers Panel who have, between them, amassed an incredible 300 years of service collecting information for the LFS and associated surveys.
The LFS was first conducted in 1960 and the information collected is obtained from occupants of randomly selected dwellings by specially trained interviewers, like Jenny. The Year Book 2005 features an article on the history of the Monthly Labour Force Survey.

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Indigenous Engagement Manager

Marissa Russ is the new Indigenous Engagement Manager. Marissa belongs to the Ngarinyin people from the Kimberley in WA and grew up on Gibb River Station (Ngallangunda Aboriginal Corporation).
Marissa's working history includes just over 12 years working for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission/Services and then with the Department of Communication Information Technology and the Arts. She commenced her position as the ABS Indigenous Engagement Manager (IEM) for WA in November 2004.

The role of the Indigenous Engagement Manager is to provide a bridge between the ABS and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in accessing data and information. The duties and objectives of the IEM position include:

  • Building and maintaining networks with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations (including engaging and seeking greater participation);
  • Advise on appropriate materials to raise statistical awareness;
  • Return ABS information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities;
  • Raise awareness of data collection processes; and
  • Provide support and assistance to ABS surveys.

Marissa's aims are:
  • To increase awareness of the ABS to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and agencies;.
  • To promote the benefits, assistance and advantages that can be gained by using ABS data; and
  • To ensure that ABS data collected from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is easily accessible to Government Departments and Organisations involved in the process of planning services for indigenous people.

For further information contact Marissa Russ (08) 9360 5910 or email:

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Community Profile Series

Government, private and not for profit service organisations are increasingly aware that they must have a clear understanding of the demographic, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of their clients so that they can plan and deliver culturally appropriate services.
To assist service providers in responding to their diverse communities and to promote recognition of diversity in Western Australia, the Office of Multicultural Interests has worked with the ABS to produce a series of Community Profiles based on the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.

The 14 groups included in the first series of profiles, identified by birthplace groups, are a mix of both established and emerging ethnic communities. They include Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, India, Italy, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Iraq and communities from the Horn of Africa.

The Community Profiles focus on socio-economic factors, such as labour force participation, occupation, income, housing tenure and family. They provide a key source of information for those planning and delivering services to Western Australia's culturally diverse community.

The analysis of socio-economic indicators contained within the various Community Profiles raises a number of issues, including the level of socio-economic disadvantage among certain groups. These have important implications for service providers.

The Office of Multicultural Interests will continue to make available data on cultural diversity to government agencies, community organisations and researchers. It is only with such knowledge that programs and services can adequately meet the needs of specific groups.

Dr Leela de Mel, Executive Director
Office of Multicultural Interests

The profiles can be viewed and downloaded from the Office of Multicultural Interests web site at
or contact the Office of Multicultural Interests on 9222 8800 to obtain copies of the profiles.

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The Centenary of the ABS

In 2005 the Australian Bureau of Statistics celebrates its centenary, 100 years as the national statistical agency.
The Bureau came into existence on the 8 December 1905 when the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (Cwlth) was given assent. The following year George Handley Knibbs was appointed Commonwealth Statistician and given the task of establishing the office. There were 10 staff appointed to the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics in 1906. The Bureau was established within the Department of Home Affairs. In the early 1930s the Bureau was moved under the auspices of the Department of the Treasury.

Initially the role of the Commonwealth Statistician was primarily seen as a co-ordination role, bringing together the statistics of each of the different states. However it quickly became clear that the task was somewhat more complicated than that. In 1924, Tasmania was the first state statistical office to integrate with the Commonwealth Bureau. The rest of the state statistical offices integrated in the late 1950s.

The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics became the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1975, independent of other departments. Today the ABS has just under 3,000 staff distributed throughout the state and territories in each capital city.

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About ABS Training Courses

Using SuperTABLE (NEW)
This half day computer based workshop aims to provide participants with the skills to use this powerful software for manipulating multidimensional ABS datasets (datacubes). SuperTABLE Software is used to creat tables that can be easily converted to Excel format. As the ABS is progressively releasing more data in SuperTABLE format, users of data cubes will need to be familiar with SuperTABLE. This workshop will equip participants with the skills to:

  • Access SuperTABLE;
  • Create basic tables; and
  • Manipulate data.
This course would be useful for ABS datacube users and AusStats subscribers who have little or no experience with SuperTABLE.

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Understanding Demographic Data
This one day course develops participants’ understanding and use of demographic data. The course provides an awareness of demographic data produced by the ABS and gives an introduction to demographic techniques which enable comparisons of demographic data between regions and over time. Key issues to be covered include:

  • Relationship of Population Census counts to Estimated Resident Population Data
  • Components of population change; births, deaths, internal and overseas migration;
  • Changing demographic trends; and
  • Tools for demographic analysis.
This course would be useful for anyone who wants to improve their understanding of demographic data and processes that shape the population, or who want to use demographic data to describe changes in the population and their potential effects.

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Time Series made Simple
This half day workshop aims to provide participants with basic understanding of statistical time series, including an understanding of how to gain a clearer picture of the trends, cycles, seasonal variation, and irregular movements that may be present in the data. Participants will be able to:

  • Identify a time series
  • Detect trend, cycles and seasonal variation; and
  • Smooth time series data using Henderson weights.
The workshop is ideally suited to people who need to analyse time series data, as well as those who need an understanding of the components which make up a time series.

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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.

For further information contact the WA Coordinator, Cal Hoad, (08) 9360 5947 or email:

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Library Extension Program

Maita Wilson is the new Coordinator of the Library Extension Program (LEP) in Western Australia, taking over the reins from David Brown, who has just retired.
David made a significant contribution to developing and extending the LEP program in WA and is well known by the WA library community. His dry sense of humour and his dedication to the LEP will certainly be missed in the future.

Maita has worked with the ABS for nine years, gathering experience in various ABS subject areas, Statistical Consultancy, and in Client services and liaison. LEP clients will benefit from her wide experience in the ABS. Maita has a tertiary educational background in Psychology and French.

For further information contact Maita on (08) 9360 5158 or email:

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2005 International Statistical Institute Session

The ABS was pleased to host the 55th Session of the International Statistical Institute (ISI), which was held in Sydney between 5 and 12 April 2005 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The ISI Sessions were well attended by government, academic and private sector statisticians from throughout the world.

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ABS Award Winners

Alan Hubbard recently presented Pricing Officers from the Labour Price Index Survey with an Award from the WA Office Reward and Recognition Scheme.
The group was nominated in the category ‘Sustained high level of performance for the duration of a short term project’ and the Award related to the work occasioned by changes to data collection and tax reform legislation.
The changes reduced provider load and delivered cost savings to the ABS while also improving the quality of the data produced by this survey.

Congratulations Team!

For further information on the Labour Price Index please contact Tim Landrigan (08) 9360 5170 or email

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International Aid

Sunday 16 January 2005 was identified as a 'National Day of Mourning and Reflection' for the victims of the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in South and South East Asia on 26 December 2004.

The ABS has supplied equipment to the National Statistical Organisation of Indonesia (BPS) to support their rebuilding of the offices destroyed in the tsunami.

This equipment was quickly made available to BPS, as the regional statistical offices were heavily involved in providing information essential for the recovery process.

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View from the Top

ABS Centenary
From the Commonwealth Government buildings in 1905 in Melbourne to ABS House in Canberra today, the ABS has consistently served the nation by the gathering, analysis and dissemination of independent official statistics. This includes the conduct of 14 population censuses as well as regular production of household name statistics like Labour Force and Consumer Price Index. Locally the ABS continues to support informed decision making and provides fora to identify and discuss State statistical needs, both currently and for future planning. The ABS will be celebrating the Centenary throughout the year.

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Western Australia’s Population reaches 2 million
Western Australia's population reached 2 million during the week commencing 10 January 2005. This population milestone now forms part of Western Australia's demographic history. As the calculation used to determine population growth takes into account all the information that we have available from births, deaths, interstate and overseas arrivals and departures, and the 2001 Population Census, it was not feasible to determine who exactly the 2 millionth Western Australian would have been. However, it could have been a person born around that time, a person who arrived as a permanent settler in Western Australia, or an Australian returning home after living overseas. The state reached its first million in 1970.

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State Statistical Forum
The State Statistical Forum held in February focussed on new and ongoing statistical priorities that were common to several states. The Statistician provided detailed responses on these needs to the state representatives attending the Forum. David Smith from the Department of Treasury and Finance represented Western Australian interests. Planned improvements to statistics on natural resource management, water accounts, tourism and the state accounts were all addressed in the Statistician’s response. Statistical priorities raised by WA government agencies that were not covered by the Forum will be pursued by the WA Office.

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Census 2006 Planning
A detailed plan for the Census Operations in Western Australia has now been completed. Once this plan has been approved by ABS management, the next step will be to build the local Census management team.

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National Statistical Service Update

NSS Networks
As part of the NSS strategy, forums and networks have been established to allow agencies to share information and experiences about their collection and dissemination of statistics and data management practices.
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Australian Government Statistical Forum (AGSF)
The AGSF provides a vehicle for senior staff in Australian Government agencies to discuss key national and international statistical developments. The role of the forum is to: advance the NSS and consider strategic matters of importance to the effective operation of the NSS; consider matters of relevance to producers of statistical services within the Australian Government and share information on developments in each agency's activities, with regard to national statistical information; and to identify opportunities for collaborative work.
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State and Territory Forums
In Western Australia the Statistical Policy Committee progresses NSS initiatives and provides a broad perspective of the strategic statistical information needs and priorities across the State Government sector.
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Stats Network
The Stats Network is comprised of managers from Australian Government agencies who are involved in the preparation of statistics and their associated analysis and research. It provides a forum for discussion and open communication on statistical and related matters as they affect Australian Government Agencies.

For further information contact the WA Coordinator of the National Statistical Service, Andy Separovic, (08) 9360 5385 or email:

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National Data Network Update

  • Paul Vickers, NDN representative visited Perth during April to further initiatives currently being discussed with the Western Australian Land Information Service (WALIS), and the Department of Land Information (DOLI).
  • To generate discussion about metadata harmonisation and model development, four discussion forums have been established on the National Data Network web site. These forums focus on the key areas of: NDN Metadata Model, Discovery Metadata, Definitional Metadata and Quality Metadata.

For further Information visit the National Data Network site

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Year Book Australia 2005

The Year Book Australia 2005 provides a comprehensive and definitive source of information about Australia. Over 900 pages long, the Year Book spans topics which cover Australia's economic position and social conditions, as well as articles about our community and environment.

To celebrate 100 years of official statistics, both the hard copy Year Book and its CD-ROM companion are presented as a special offer in one package, making it great value for money. The CD-ROM is the ideal resource for the business computer network and it complements the hard cover version by giving you rapid access to every subject.

A simple interface and a full electronic index make it a convenient source of the up to date information that every business needs from time to time.

Special articles featured in the Year Book 2005 include:

  • Temperature measurement and the Stevenson screen
  • Sustainable microfinance in Vietnam
  • Population figures for state grants – an historical perspective
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians – projections 2001 to 2009
  • Same-sex couple families
  • The population census – a brief history
  • Selected findings from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
  • Labour force experience
  • Working arrangements
  • Young people in employment

To order your copy of the Year Book Australia 2005 online visit the ABS Web Site.

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National Regional Profiles

The latest version of the National Regional Profile (NRP) on the ABS web site was released on 29 March 2005. The most significant change in the NRP release is that it now has a five year time series (1999-2003, on ASGC 2003 boundaries), which will allow users to see changes in economic and social characteristics of their region during that time. Other changes in the NRP release include:

Access to the National Regional Profile facility is through the 'Regional Statistics' icon on the ABS home page. Users can use the drill-down map facility or choose their selected region's name from a pick-list.

The National Regional Profile does not include data from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, but there are links on the NRP web pages to download the Basic Community Profile for a region of interest. Information from the Census also remains available through the 2001 Census Page on the ABS web site.

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Innovation In Australian Businesses (cat. no. 8158.0)

Innovation In Australian Businesses (cat. no. 8158.0) presents statistics on the level of innovation in Australian Businesses and characteristics of innovators.
Data presented includes:

  • Innovation activities;
  • Type of innovation;
  • Reasons for innovation;
  • Barriers to innovation; and
  • Innovation expenditure.
Statistics are classified by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC), State and Territory and business size, based upon employment.

For further information contact Helen Reich (08) 9360 5104 or email:

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Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0)

The biennial Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (EEH) is designed to provide statistics on the composition and distribution of earnings and hours of employees, as well as information on how employees’ pay is set-by award only, collective agreement or individual agreement.
Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia ( 6306.0) includes tables detailing the distribution and composition of average weekly earnings and hours of employment classified by:

  • Sex;
  • Adult/junior;
  • Full-time/part-time;
  • Managerial/non-managerial;
  • Industry;
  • State/Territory;
  • Sector (private/government);
  • Employer unit size;
  • Composition of earnings; and
  • Paid hours.
More detailed information is available on request as customised reports.
Contact Valerie Pearson on (08) 9360 5374 or email:

Stats Talk Edition 14_1.pdf

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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