Third Round Table on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Round Table on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics met in Canberra this week. Established in March this year, the Round Table is an ABS initiative committed to improving the quality of statistics on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The focus of this meeting, was on strategies for the effective communication of information for communities. This will be particularly important for the release of the first results of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey in late November 2013, but is also important to other ABS collections in the longer term.
Other discussion was around the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in surveys and administrative collections for statistical purposes, which is achieved by asking the ABS ‘Standard Indigenous Question’ on relevant forms. The views of the Round Table members on how effective the current question is and how it might be improved, as discussed at the meeting, is a valued part of the consultation process for ABS.
Members also discussed aspects of the ABS - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Perspectives on Homelessness Project and the current ABS Review of the Indigenous Standard. Round Table Deputy Chair, Sonia Townson said: "homelessness is more than just infrastructure, it’s about relationships and families. We appreciate the ABS listening to our views on the concept of homelessness. This is an ongoing conversation that ties in with stability in health, employment and education".
ABS gained valuable insight on the perspectives of home and homelessness from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander point of view and discussion around the next stages of ABS consultation were valued. This project is important for both the 2016 Census and ABS household surveys, including the more immediate 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS).
Director of ABS’ National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Julie Nankervis said: “members of the Round Table are passionate and committed to this process, and their input into our projects is invaluable. The discussion on homelessness really helped shape our thinking on future engagement activities".
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