Socioeconomic status at the ATSIC regional level, 1986 and 1991: data for regional planning

Author/editor: Altman, JC, Liu, J
Year published: 1994
Issue no.: 76


A major feature of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) has been its regional structure, currently consisting of 36 jurisdictions. The data and analysis in this discussion paper were produced primarily for ATSIC regional councils for both regional planning and bottom-up resource-bidding purposes. This paper examines 1986 and 1991 Census data disaggregated to these 36 regional council levels, focuses on the three socioeconomic variables of employment, education and income, and combines these variables to generate an Index of Socioeconomic Advantage (ISA). Variations in this index between regions in 1986 and 1991 are examined and some analysis is undertaken of changes during that five-year period. Finally, some potential policy issues are considered, including both the negative and positive aspects of relying on census data for such planning purposes. Significant areas for further research are outlined, indicating not only the necessary changes and additions needed to augment the current database, but also some of the possible needs of regional councils when preparing a regional development plan.

This paper considers the determinants of employment income for Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression techniques are applied to 1991 Census data to consider the question: does the lower income of these Indigenous people reflect differences in their factor endowments (like education) rewarded in the labour market, or are they rewarded differently for the same set of endowments than are non-Indigenous Australians. The results show that the main source of lower incomes for Indigenous Australians was their smaller endowment of human capital characteristics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of these results.

ISBN: 0 7315 1750 4

ISSN:1036 1774

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