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Newsletters - Stats Talk Western Australia - Issue No. 12, October 2004

In this issue

Feature Articles
Feature Publications
Regular Features

State Supplementary Survey (SSS)

Image: Canning Dam Western Australia
Canning Dam, Western Australia
Domestic Water Use, Western Australia (cat. no. 4616.5.55.001)

This publication contains the results from the WA Supplementary Survey conducted in October 2003. The results of this survey are assisting water service providers, state and local governments, and other interested organisations in developing behavioural change strategies to encourage water conservation among WA households.

In October each year, as part of its portfolio of Statistical Services, the ABS undertakes a household survey, free of charge, for the WA Government. This survey is known as the State Supplementary Survey (SSS) and is run as a supplement to the ABS Monthly Population Survey, which also produces the ABS employment and unemployment statistics.
The SSS provides an ideal opportunity for WA Government agencies to obtain high quality statistical information at no cost for the survey design, collection or processing of data.

The successful topic is selected by the ABS, based on an assessment of the topic’s feasibility, and after consideration of advice on information priorities from the Statistical Policy Committee.

Development work is complete on the topic of “Home Safety and Security” for the 2004 SSS.

Submissions received for the 2005 SSS include topics as diverse as Residential Appliance Usage, Workplace Issues, and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

An Information and Guidelines for Applicants Booklet is available from the ABS web site, Themes, Western Australia, Our Links with State Government.

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View from the Top - Alan Hubbard, Regional Director Western Australia

At this time of the year a report on the operations of the Western Australian Office is prepared for ABS management consideration. A feature of the WA Office performance is the strong demand experienced for outposting and consultancy services provided by the ABS.

Outposted Officers Meeting Need
The number of outposting arrangements provided by the WA Office has risen compared to previous years and looks set to continue at a high level. WA is the most active State Office in these terms. The current outpostings generally involve working with clients to improve their data sources and the range of subject areas is diverse. These services appear to be meeting client needs effectively and providing benefits to both parties.

Performance Indicators
ABS outposted officers are currently working on court service performance information, indicators of the health and well-being of children, information on seniors and volunteers, the health of Aboriginal children and data on domestic violence. Outposting arrangements which are planned to commence soon further broaden the range of subject areas and will include information on contractor performance.

State Statistical Policy Committee
The State Statistical Policy Committee, comprising representatives of State Government agencies and the ABS, performs an important role as the principal forum for consideration of State statistical priorities. The membership of the Committee has been expanded to enable it to speak with greater authority on State priorities and to assist it to carry out its various roles.

I am looking forward to working with the new Committee members and I am hopeful that the Committee can give some real impetus to the ABS objective of developing a National Statistical Service.

Meetings with State Government Agencies
The round of meetings that I initiated earlier in the year with the executives of State Government agencies has now concluded. I found that there was a strong interest amongst State agencies in the ABS and its services and a history of productive relations with the ABS to build on. A number of new opportunities for the ABS to provide outpostings, consultancies and seminars emerged from the meetings.

I appreciated the commitment of valuable executive time to hear our presentation and was satisfied that the meetings had raised awareness of what we could provide to assist agencies in their reporting, decision making, research and influencing roles.

Review of Corporate Directions
Although the ABS is a very stable organisation it recognises the need to periodically check its directions and priorities. At the national level the organisation has commenced a review of its corporate directions and consultants have been engaged to identify the strategic issues facing the ABS and to suggest future directions for change.

Corporate Plan
At the same time the ABS Corporate Plan is to be reviewed in terms of its continued relevance to the organisation and its circumstances. As a member of the ABS management team I am looking forward to participating later in the year in the consideration of these important corporate issues which will ultimately affect the services provided from the WA Office.

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Shopfront Relocated
Image: Reception, Ros Morris
Reception, Ros Morris
Level 15
Exchange Plaza , 2 The Esplanade, Perth

The Shop front is open Monday to Friday between

8:30 am - 4:30 pm.

Drop in to discover the diverse range of statistics we have available for your research and decision making needs. Professionally trained staff will assist you locate the data you need.

Image: Information Consultants Amy Gardos and Debbie Haynes
Information Consultants
Amy Gardos and Debbie Haynes
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Gender Analysis in Policy

Maria Osman, Director, Department for Community Development, Office for Women’s Policy (OWP) was the guest speaker at the Social Statistics Consultative Group (SSCG) meeting in July this year.

Maria gave a very interesting and well received presentation on the topic of Gender Analysis in Policy, and its use as a tool in legislative, policy and program settings.

Maria explained that gender analysis is an important tool for government to identify whether current policy and legislative processes are gender neutral. Integrating a ‘gender lens’ into every aspect of public policy formulation will ensure that the differing experiences of women and men are acknowledged, and reflected in programs and services.

Gender analysis is not as simple as evaluating impacts of policies and programs on women and men, post implementation. It is not merely an ‘add-on’ to existing policy processes. The Council of Europe, for example, has adopted gender mainstreaming as a best practice model in government. Prerequisite tools include statistics disaggregated by sex, and gender analysis in policy formulation.

Gender based analysis (GBA) is used increasingly by governments around the world to ensure that policies and practices have equally beneficial effects on women and men. The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) endorsed gender mainstreaming as a key strategy in its Platform for Action.

An Australian Research Linkage Grant has been awarded to a consortium including OWP to run a three year project. The Gender Impact Assessment: A New Framework for Producing Gender-Inclusive Policy Project is a partnership with the University of Western Australia Business School, the Office for the Status of Women in South Australia, the University of Adelaide and the Department of Health.

The purpose of the project is to develop and test a self-assessment tool for government and community agencies so that gender analysis can be integrated into all aspects of strategy policy making and practice.

A training manual to assist agencies to integrate gender perspectives into their work is being developed as part of this project.

For more information please visit <>

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Labour Costs, Australia

The first issue of Labour Costs, Australia (cat. no. 6348.0.55.001) was released on the 11 June 2004 and contains data for the 2002/03 financial year.

The publication contains estimates of labour costs for the private and public sectors including:

    • Employee earnings;
    • Employer funded contributions to superannuation;
    • Worker’s Compensation;
    • Payroll tax; and
    • Fringe benefits tax.
The estimates are classified by State, industry, employer size and sector.

For further information contact Kerry Foley on (08) 9360 5373 or email: <>

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Did you know?

The colours of the International Women’s Movement are White, Purple and Green. White for purity in public and private life, purple for dignity, self-reverence and self-respect and green for hope and new life. The use of these colours originated in the women’s suffrage movement of the early 1900’s and is now used widely in all matters pertaining to women and their interests.

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The Health of Aboriginal Children and Young People

Output from the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey: The Health of Aboriginal Children and Young People, was launched on 3 June 2004. This is the first of a proposed five volumes of results to flow from this groundbreaking work in the field of Aboriginal child health and development research.

Future volumes investigate the relationship between Aboriginal children and young people and:

    • Social and emotional well-being;
    • Education;
    • Family and community; and
    • The justice system.
This large-scale investigation into the health and development of 5,289 Western Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was undertaken by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in conjunction with the Kulunga Research Network.

The WA office of the ABS provided technical advice and practical support to the project. The survey was designed to build the knowledge to develop preventative strategies that promote and maintain the healthy development and the social, emotional, academic, and vocational well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

A copy of the report The Health of Aboriginal Children and Young People can be purchased from the
Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, PO Box 855, WEST PERTH.
A PDF version of the main publication, and the summary booklet can be downloaded from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research web site

If you would like more information about the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey, please email:

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Australian Social Trends

- a smorgasbord of stories

A feast of fascinating information awaits you in the 2004 edition of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0). Released in June, AST has something for everyone.

AST articles focus strongly on social issues. What you get is much more than a set of figures - each article aims to tell a story, using statistics to add light to the issue.

Read about these topics and much more in AST 2004.

  • What are the differences in Labour market outcomes for graduates and non graduates?
  • Are those living in high rises different to those living in separate houses?
  • Who’s taking a “seachange”?
  • How do people live with asthma?

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International Relationships

Memorandum of Understanding strengthens Australian and Indonesian statistical ties.

Image: Dr. Soedarti Surbakti, Director General (BPS), and Mr. Dennis Trewin, Australian Statistician
Dr. Soedarti Surbakti, Director General (BPS), and Mr. Dennis Trewin, Australian Statistician signed the new MOU in Canberra on behalf of their agencies.
A delegation from Statistics Indonesia visited the WA office on April 27 to discuss regional statistics issues, then travelled to Canberra for high level planning discussions with senior ABS staff.

Statistical cooperation between Australia and Indonesia continues to strengthen through a third Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS), Statistics Indonesia, and the ABS.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss statistical priorities and issues, together with matters of mutual interest, including:

  • the Australia-Indonesia Government Sector Linkages Program (GSLP), funded by AusAID
  • other ABS work and international programs of interest to the BPS.

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Inaugural Early Career Awards 2004 (Policing): Winner

The Early Career Awards WA 2004 is hosted by Edith Cowan University’s Institute for the Service Professions in conjunction with WA’s leading professional associations and employers to recognise early career professional excellence.

A range of service professions, including policing, nursing, teaching, advertising and public relations participated in the Awards.

The 2004 Awards winners included Graham Harnwell who is the Manager of the Corporate Performance and Reporting Unit within the Western Australian Police Service (WAPS). Graham is also the Deputy Chair of the ABS Social Statistics Consultative Group and a member of the Statistical Policy Committee.

Graham has developed a range of significant internal and external working relationships that contribute to the performance analysis and decision making processes. In particular, he was instrumental in identifying a range of corporate risks from the changeover of information systems, and worked with the project managers to find solutions.

Bob Pearse was the ABS Outposted Officer with the WAPS from October 2001 until his retirement in July 2004.

Bob assisted Graham with the development of a number of surveys, including a community perception survey package. This package enables police to conduct their own surveys at district level on community perceptions toward police services, neighbourhood safety and driving behaviours. These surveys are important for internal planning and management, at both corporate and local level.

The ABS Congratulates Graham on his well deserved Award and Bob for his successful career including his valuable collaboration with the WAPS.

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Update from NSS Coordinator

Image: Andy Separovic, newly apponted NSS Coordinator
Andy Separovic,newly appointed NSS Coordinator
The NSS web site <> was released on 14 May and is designed to support both producers and users of statistics. For producers it provides assistance in the collection, processing and dissemination of data, including advice on best practice and links to statistical training. For users it provides assistance in identifying statistical information suitable to their needs.

The web site provides a core set of resources. Including:
  • NSS Handbook and Key Principles;
  • Directory of Statistical Sources;
  • Information Development Plans;
  • Statistical training offered by government agencies;
  • Papers on statistical best practice; and
  • Concepts, classifications and data dictionaries.
ABS WA is working closely with State government to progress NSS initiatives by developing strategies aimed at improving the range of statistical information available for policy, research and decision making. The NSS strategy recognises the importance of non-ABS information sources and ABS WA will be developing an inventory of state data holdings toward the end of 2004. A key element of the NSS strategy is to identify and assess relevant datasets currently held by State agencies. At the national level the National Data Network will create a distributed library of data holdings relevant to policy analysis and research and is being developed by the ABS in collaboration with other interested agencies.

An 'Overview of the National Data Network' has been published. This document outlines the core elements of the National Data Network and how the project will be progressed. This document is available from the National Data Network web site <>
A demonstration version of the National Data Network is currently being developed to showcase the functionality of the network. The specific outcomes of this project are:

  • to identify the feasibility of developing a networked system (utilising open source software) to share data and provide on-line statistical services in the government context;
  • to understand the cost to Custodians of implementing and participating in a National Data Network; and
  • to understand the issues associated with the sharing of secure information in accordance with the policy of each agency.
A discussion Forum is available on the web site to allow the membership network to contribute to the development of systems and procedures.
Positive NSS outcomes continue to be achieved through the provision of outposting services. Outposted ABS officers continue to play an important role in providing statistical expertise and improving the quality of statistical information across government agencies.

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

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ABS Medal Tally - Australia Finishes Third

On 18 August, the ABS released an alternative view of the traditional Olympic medal tally to take into account the populations of competing nations.

The traditional measure of medals as a 'raw score' does not take into account the population of the competing country, a possible factor in the ability of nations to field medal winning athletes. When this was considered, it presented a different picture to the traditional measure.

The ABS analysis shows that Australia's tally at the close of the Athens Olympics equates to one Gold Medal for each 1,186,000 of the population.

This ranks Australia in third place behind Norway (one Gold medal for each 910 000 of its population) and The Bahamas (one Gold medal for each 317, 000 of its population).

Using this methodology, the TOP TEN countries using Population per Gold Medal is as follows:

1. Bahamas

2. Norway

3. Australia

4. Hungary

5. Cuba

6. New Zealand

7. Jamaica

8. Greece

9. Sweden

10. Georgia

The United States finished in 34th position (one Gold medal for each 8,487,000 of its population), and Great Britain finished at 29 (one Gold medal for each 6,602,000 of its population).

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Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5)

The June 2004 issue of Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5) released on 7 July 2004, includes a feature article on household water conservation and use in Western Australia. Water is a crucial resource for Western Australians in terms of facilitating economic development, maintaining public health, and preserving the environment. Recent drought conditions in this state have brought into focus the need to ensure a sustainable water future for Western Australians. This article brings together the latest information from a range of sources to examine current and future trends in the supply of, and demand for, water in Western Australia and provides a snapshot of water conservation and use by Western Australian households.

Key facts from the article include:

  • The average amount of water flowing into WA's main public water supply dams has halved from 338 Gigalitre (GL)/year on average between 1911 and 1974, to an average of 167 GL/year between 1975 and 2001.
  • Households were the second largest user of water in 2000-01 in WA after the Agriculture industry, accounting for 17% of total water consumption
  • WA households rely heavily on mains water to meet their needs. In March 2001, it was the main source of household water for bath, shower and washing water (95% of households), drinking water (84%) and garden water (77%).

Western Australian Statistical Indicators provides information on: state accounts; prices and wages; retail turnover; new motor vehicle sales; finance and investment; building and engineering construction; overseas trade; the labour market; agriculture; mining and energy; tourism; population and vitals; crime; and the environment. Each issue includes an analysis of recent movements in key state economic and labour market data, as well as a section on social trends.

For further information contact Mike Thomas on (08) 9360 5353 or email: <>

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Well-being Indicators for Children and Youth - Outposting Update
The WA Office for Children and Youth (OCY) is producing a set of statistical well-being indicators for children and youth in WA. An ABS outposted officer, Shalini Bellas, has been with OCY since late February developing the indicator set.

Statistical indicators support informed decision-making across government by providing an evidence base for policy and programs.

The WA indicator set is being developed in line with other national and state governments’ initiatives in this field. The indicators will cover a wide range of social issues including: health; education; family; work; economic resources; and community. The wellbeing indicators project is linked to the WA Government’s Sustainable Engagement Strategy for Children and Youth and as such indicators on social participation will also be included.

Initially, a comprehensive set of sustainable indicators will be developed at the state level covering the general population aged 0–24 years. Data on different population groups (e.g. Indigenous, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, regional) will be included as they become available. The initial indicator set will be drawn from data readily available (ABS and agency administration data).

Over 20 state government agencies have provided input to the project. Two workshops were held in July to determine and refine the indicators to be included. Consultation with the agencies has ensured that a highly relevant set of indicators will be produced. It is important that the wellbeing indicators add value to projects and programs undertaken by agencies and therefore agency input is crucial in determining the success of this initiative.

An important objective of the project is to identify gaps in current data holdings and possible sources for later additions to the indicator set. Agency input will also be requested during this phase of the project to identify potential indicators and suitable data sources. It is expected the project will be completed, with the release of a foundation set of indicators, in late 2004.

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Family and Domestic Violence - Outposting Update

Naomi Summers is the new ABS Outposted Officer with the Family and Domestic Violence Unit. Some of the issues she will be investigating include:
  • Identification of agency data sources relating to family and domestic violence;
  • Identification of agency data needs relating to family and domestic violence (prioritised);
  • Identification of gaps in agency data relating to family and domestic violence;.
  • Identification of agency definitions of family and domestic violence; and
  • Identification of key indicators for family and domestic violence.

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Office for Women’s Policy - Outposting Update

Image: Sue Lee, ABS Officer outposted to Office for Women's Policy
Sue Lee, ABS Officer outposted to Office for Women's Policy
Sue Lee has recently commenced an outposting with the Office for Women's Policy and is currently working on the following projects:
  • Producing a report on Indigenous Women, including the development of Indicators for an Indigenous Women’s Report Card ; and
  • Assistance with the preparation of a Ministerial briefing on women in selected regions of the state.

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Stats Talk Edition 12.pdf

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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