This Information Paper details the current ABS indigineous demographic statistics work program, including the births, deaths and migration releases and the content of the forthcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics releases based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.
Details are also given of selected ABS stakeholder engagement plans over the next 18 months.
The accurate measurement of a nation's population is one of the most important tasks a national statistical agency can undertake. For over 100 years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been conducting the Census of Population and Housing to fulfil this critical role. Following the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been included in all official estimates of Australia's population, and since 1971, ABS has been developing and implementing specific strategies to enhance the enumeration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the five-yearly Censuses. The Census and the resulting population estimates form an important national statistical series, used to inform decision making by all levels of government, the community and business.
A continued interest in the social and economic conditions of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has led to unprecedented demand for statistics that provide an accurate picture of this population group. It is in response to this demand that ABS collections have continued to improve, allowing us to further analyse and add more detail to the picture.
A number of initiatives in recent years have reported on the disadvantage experienced by many of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Some of these initiatives have been driven by the Council of Australian Governments, others by the Australian Government and some by community groups. Many of these projects and programs, such as the commitment to Closing the Gap, are primarily concerned with overcoming the disadvantage gap that exists between Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people. It is through using ABS and other data that these initiatives can be informed, monitored and reviewed. To assist with this, and to ensure continued extensive use by all levels of government, academia and the community sector, ABS makes every effort to continually review and improve its statistical collections.
In addition, ABS aims to improve our ongoing two-way engagement with stakeholders, not only in clearly communicating ABS plans and products, but also in listening to what you have to say, investigating the feasibility of your suggestions, and implementing them where appropriate. Through this kind of mutual communication we can ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community, now and into the future.
ABS is also committed to facilitate, encourage and assist informed and increased use of statistics among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, through improving access, statistical literacy and capacity.