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4714.5.55.001 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Western Australia, 2002  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/06/2004   
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  • New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics for Western Australia (Media Release)

MEDIA RELEASE

June 23, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
2004
New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics for Western Australia

The results of the second national social survey of Indigenous people were released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and point to some changes since the groundbreaking original survey in 1994.

Education:

In Western Australia, the proportion of Indigenous people (aged 15 and over) with a non-school qualification (e.g. from university, TAFE, etc.) has trebled between 1994 and 2002 - from one in twelve (8%) to one in four (24%). The proportion of Indigenous people with a certificate or diploma more than doubled (from 8% to 22%), while those with a Bachelor degree or higher qualification rose from less than 1% to 2%.

Excluding those who had a non-school qualification, the proportion of Indigenous people in Western Australia who had completed Year 12 rose (from 4% in 1994 to 6% in 2002).

Despite these improvements, in 2002 Indigenous people in Western Australia (aged 18 and over) were half as likely as non-Indigenous people to have a non-school qualification (27% compared with 55% respectively).

Work:

In Western Australia, the unemployment rate for Indigenous people (aged 15 and over) fell from 38% in 1994 to 19% in 2002. This change parallels the decline in the national unemployment rate (from 10% in June 1994 to 6% in December 2002).

The share of unemployed Indigenous people in Western Australia who had been out of work for one year or more declined (from 54% in 1994 to 24% in 2002).

While the Community Development Employment Projects scheme (CDEP) contributed to Indigenous employment growth in Western Australia over this period, the proportion of Indigenous people employed in mainstream jobs also rose (from 23% to 29%).

Income:

The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples' incomes in Western Australia remains. In 2002, Indigenous people (aged 18 and over) earned 58% of the income of non-Indigenous people ($376 per week compared to $652 per week after adjusting for household size and composition).

There was a decline in the proportion of Indigenous people in Western Australia who received government pensions and allowances as their main source of income (from 58% in 1994 to 50% in 2002).

Health:

After adjusting for the different age structures of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Western Australia, Indigenous people were:

    • twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to report their health as "fair" or "poor"
    • less than half as likely to report "excellent" or "very good" health
    • almost one and a half times more likely to have a disability or long-term health condition than non-Indigenous people.

Culture:

In Western Australia over the eight years since 1994, evidence highlights stability on selected cultural indicators. In 2002:

    • three-quarters of Indigenous people reported attending Indigenous cultural events in the previous 12 months.
    • over half of Indigenous people identified with a clan, tribal or language group.
    • one in eight Indigenous people reported using an Indigenous language as their main language spoken at home.

Family and community:

In 2002, Indigenous people in Western Australia were almost one and a half times more likely to experience at least one life stressor (e.g. "death of family member or close friend", "serious illness or disability", or "inability to get a job") than non-Indigenous people (81% compared with 59% respectively).

Similar to the non-Indigenous community in Western Australia, the overwhelming majority of Indigenous people received support from someone outside the household (89% for Indigenous people compared with 95% for non-Indigenous people).

A similar proportion of Indigenous people (aged 15 or over) in Western Australia reported they had been taken away from their natural family as recorded in 1994(14% compared with 10% in 2002 - this change is not statistically significant).

Law and justice:

There has been a decline in the proportion of Indigenous people in Western Australia who reported having been arrested in the previous five years (from 26% in 1994 to 22% in 2002).

Compared to 1994, Indigenous people in Western Australia in 2002 were twice as likely to report that they had been a victim of physical or threatened violence in the previous 12 months (26% in 2002, up from 13% in 1994). These victimisation rates were highest among unemployed people (35%) and younger people (32% of those aged 15-24).

Housing:

One in five (18%) of Indigenous people in Western Australia were living in dwellings either owned or being purchased in 2002 (up from 14% in 1994). During this period, the proportion of Indigenous people living in dwellings rented from the State Housing Authority fell (from 54% to 32%).

In remote areas of Western Australia in 2002, the majority of Indigenous people (46%) were living in rented dwellings provided by Indigenous Housing Organisations, or in other community housing.


More details are available in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002 (cat. no. 4714.0). State/territory comparisons for selected indicators are available in Table 2 of the publication. Additonal state and territory data cube tables are available off the publication's main features page on the ABS web site or upon request.


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