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Longitudinal data key to social policy development.

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Senator Jocelyn Newman

Minister for Family & Community Services

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women


1 May 2000


The national Panel Data and Policy Conference that started in Canberra today will stimulate interest in longitudinal data for use in policy-making, Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman said.

Senator Newman opened the conference, which features five international speakers who will discuss the increasing value of longitudinal data in social policy making.

Longitudinal panel data is derived by repeatedly surveying the same individuals (or households) over a period of time on particular events or attitudes.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, announced a $6.1 million Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children as part of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

"The study will be an invaluable tool in the development of Government policy on early childhood and effective early intervention and prevention strategies in health, education, child care and family support,'' said Senator Newman.

"It will also complement existing Government initiatives including the Department of Family and Community Services' Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, the FaCS Longitudinal Administrative Data Set and the Australian Institute of Family Studies' Australian Family Panel Survey being designed to examine

family functioning and wellbeing."

Senator Newman said the social issues to be examined at the conference are timely, given the Government's commitment to the $240 million Strategy.

"Many of the social problems present in Australia are common worldwide," Senator Newman said.

"The conference will provide an insight into overseas policy experiences designed to address these issues and the use of longitudinal data to investigate the implications for individuals, families and communities.''

Senator Newman said that the papers presented at the Conference could not necessarily be directly related to the Australian experience. The circumstances and socio-economic conditions confronting Australian families and communities are unique and require specialised research to drive specific social policy development.

"That is why the Federal Government committed to its significant investment in longitudinal data collection tailored for Australian social policy development,'' said Senator Newman.

Media inquiries:

Richard Wilson (Senator's office) 02 6277 7560 or 0409 397349 Skye Shelley (Department) 02 6244 6606 or 0408 687056

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