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The Australian National University

K. Gaminiratne

Document: Discussion Paper

Section 94(1) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 1989 requires regional councils to 'formulate and revise from time to time a regional plan for improving the economic, social and cultural status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents of the region'. Guidelines for the preparation of such regional plans require that councils compile a data base on the demographic composition of their council area and to consider how various social indicators may differ in the future, say in the next five years.

Document: Discussion Paper

Due to a lack of accurate data on the size, distribution and trends in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in different geographic regions, past census data cannot be used for policy planning, administion or other uses. Data on the sex distribution of the Aboriginal and Islander populations by State and Territory are now available from the first count (released on 30 April 1992) of the 1991 Population Census.

Document: Discussion Paper

In the absence of routine vital statistics for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, this study attempts to estimate fertility for each group separately, using data on children ever-born collected in the 1981 and 1986 Censuses. While highlighting major problems associated with the data, two basic measures of fertility are estimated: (a) life-time fertility (mean parity); and (b) current fertility consistent with the children ever-born reported by women in the reproductive ages of 15-49 years.

Document: Discussion Paper

Selected social and economic indicators from the 1986 Census are presented to test the proposition that at an aggregate level Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people display differing socioeconomic status from one another. Although provision is made in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 for separate consideration of the Torres Strait Islander population in social and economic policy formulation, few data exist to indicate their variation from Aboriginal people.

Document: Discussion Paper

Reliable estimation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population growth rates has not been possible with past census data. Because substantial advancement in census field procedures and improvement in coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has been achieved over the years, there was hope that the 1986-91 interval would yield reasonably accurate population growth rates. However, population figures now available from the 1991 Census show that this is not the case.

Document: Discussion Paper

This discussion paper presents indicative projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population for a 20-year period from 1991. The 1991 base population has been reconstructed after adjusting for data problems evident in the age-distribution of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the 1991 Census count. The projection assumes zero net migration and accepts moderate declines evident between 1986 and 1991 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fertility and mortality.

Document: Discussion Paper

This paper has been specifically prepared as a submission to the review of the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy (AEDP) which is to be completed early in 1994. A critical innovative feature of the Commonwealth Government's AEDP, launched in 1986-87, is its overarching goal of attaining statistical employment equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2000. This paper examines the nature of labour force planning and goal setting in the AEDP Statement.

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