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Current News > ABS and ANZLIC Join Forces to Produce Better Information for Australian Communities

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ABS and ANZLIC Join Forces to Produce Better Information for Australian Communities (17 May 2005)

A new strategic partnership between the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and ANZLIC - the Spatial Information Council will help to make local area and small community statistics more readily available and more meaningful.

Signing the partnership today, the Australian Statistician, Mr Dennis Trewin and the Chairperson of ANZLIC, Mr Warwick Watkins, said the partnership aims to meet the increasing demand for statistical information about Australia's progress at the local level through map-based (spatial) portrayal of information.

"Many important national issues, such as environmental management or the provision of services, can only be managed and monitored at the community level. To think globally but act locally, governments and communities need information not just about national trends but also about what is happening locally," said Mr Trewin.

At present, the ABS collects data according to a fixed set of geographical boundaries, however the ABS has recently developed approximately 250,000 new geographical units called Mesh Blocks.

Mesh Blocks will allow much more flexibility in producing information for almost any given area (as long as it does not breach confidentiality guidelines). ANZLIC, through its jurisdictional members, will assist the ABS with the ongoing mapping of those 250,000 small areas.

The organisations will also work together using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to improve statistics, increasing their relevance and use through spatial referencing.

"Australia's land ownership records, commonly called the cadastre, are considered world's best practice and ANZLIC will work with the ABS to discover ways in which this resource can be used to make statistics more readily available and more meaningful for local areas and small
communities," said Mr Watkins.

The partnership is another step in the long-standing working arrangements between the two organisations. ANZLIC provides the ABS with detailed digital mapping data to conduct the Population and Housing Census and without this data the Australian census would not be ranked, as it now is, among the best in the world.

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