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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 290

(Question No. 1479)


Senator Ian Macdonald asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 21 June 1994:

  With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 903 (Senate Hansard, 23 February 1994, page 1020):

  (1) If, as the answer indicated, the labour force estimates for the far north Queensland statistical region `is necessarily small and therefore subject to significant sampling error' and `the comparison of estimates over time may also have been affected by sample re-selection which followed the 1991 Census of Population and Housing', why are these figures being published at the significant risk that they show a substantial incorrect picture.

  (2) Please give a comparison of the change in population shown by the series in question between June 1990 and June 1991, and June 1991 and June 1992, compared with the Government's official estimates of residential population growth over the same period.


Senator Cook —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) The Australian Statistician advises that in deciding which statistics to publish the ABS takes into account the potential value of the data for a broad range of purposes, the quality of the data and the number of likely users. As the published statistics can be used for a variety of purposes each publication provides broad advice on the quality of the data. Also, a point of contact is provided should further information be required. It is then left to each user to decide whether and how to use the statistics.

  In line with this, the quarterly bulletin The Labour Force, Queensland (ABS Catalogue No. 6401.3) which contains the regional labour force statistics of concern, includes standard errors for the estimates and a description of the impact of sample re-selection which followed the 1991 Census of Population and Housing.

  (2) Change in population, Far North Queensland

Derived Civilian Population aged 15 Total

Pop Aged 15 and and over (b)(c) Population

over (a) (`000 persons) (b)(c)

June 1990 to June 1991 +4.3 +1.7 +2.0

June 1991 to June 1992 +25.6 +3.4 +4.1

(a) Source: Labour Force Survey

(b) Source: Estimated Resident Population and Area, Queensland

(c) Includes Defence Force personnel