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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social survey 2014-15 released

Date posted: 29 April 2016

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the findings of a major survey about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social survey (NATSISS) is run every six years, and covers a broad range of social subject matter, including culture and cultural identity, social networks, housing, health-related topics, employment and education. The survey is designed to provide a greater insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' participation in society, along with any barriers they face. For the first time in 2014-15, the NATSISS collected information on adult participation in organised sport, experiences of homelessness and issues linked to mental health.

'The data is showing there is a strong upward trend in education achievements - both in Year 12 completion rates and non-school qualifications - along with strong improvements across housing and health,' said Dr Paul Jelfs, the ABS Senior Reconciliation Champion. 'Overall life satisfaction is high. More than half those surveyed rated their lives as 8 out of 10 or better. A third of people in remote areas felt their community was a better place to live, compared to the previous 12 months, but 16 percent felt it was getting worse.'

'However, in sharp contrast, we've seen little change in incarceration rates, and around 1 in 7 people reported they have been arrested in the last five years. The survey also shows 1 in 3 people experienced racial discrimination and 1 in 8 experienced some form of physical violence.'

Professor Tom Calma AO, NATSISS champion and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, said the survey originated from a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody that identified more information about Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples was needed to close the inequality gaps. 'The first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey was carried out in 1994, so now there's 20 years of detailed data available for us to look at and discuss,' he said. 'This survey is not just about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it's for us. We need this information to make sure that we are getting things right - we need to feel confident that our issues are accurately reflected in government policies, programs and services.'

This is the first round of results to be released from the survey. More information will be made available to the public over coming months. Some key findings from the data that has been released include:

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics


Last updated: 3 May 2016
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