Local area population counts and estimates are crucial inputs into policy planning and processes. However, population mobility in general, as well as large numbers of visitors to particular areas, place additional demands on resources and those providing essential services. The literature identifies a pressing need for standardised quantitative measures of the volume, frequency and flows of Indigenous temporary mobility and comparable spatial scales. In this paper we present an analysis of census data as it relates to Indigenous temporary mobility and analyse the spatial and demographic complexities that underwrite them. While the census remains the only consistent and nationally comprehensive data set on Indigenous temporary mobility that provides important insights, the overall findings from this analysis suggest that it remains a relatively blunt instrument in the task of identifying the full range of factors that drive and shape Indigenous temporary movement. We conclude that researchers, policy makers and Indigenous populations must seek and develop additional data sources from which the drivers and dynamics of Indigenous temporary mobility and residency patterns might be identified.
Note: A .csv file of the 2006 Census temporary mobility rates for all 531 Indigenous Areas is available for download below.