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A statistical overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia

A statistical overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia

August 2006

Introduction

This collection of statistics has been chosen to
highlight the current situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
in Australia, (hereon Indigenous
peoples)[1] across a range of
indicators including: health; education; employment; housing; and contact with
criminal justice and welfare systems. Where possible, data is also provided that
identifies:

  • absolute change in the situation of Indigenous peoples
    over the past five and ten years;
  • relative change in relation to the non-Indigenous
    population over the past five to ten years; and
  • the position of Indigenous peoples in relation to other
    indigenous peoples, notably those in New Zealand, Canada and the United States,
    and population groups around the world.

While reducing peoples and their
experiences to percentages and numbers is problematic, statistics are useful as
indicators of trends over time and disparities, as well of similarities, between
Indigenous peoples and the non-Indigenous population.

It should also be noted that the statistics reproduced
here are not exhaustive of data available on Indigenous peoples in Australia.

Census and other data
collections

The main source of information used here is the national
censuses, various surveys and data collection projects undertaken by the
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Another source of information is the Steering Committee
for the Review of Government Service Provision’s reports Overcoming
Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators
. These draw together data collected
by Australian governments. The first was published in November 2003 and a second
in July 2005[2].

Statistics on Indigenous peoples are subject to a range
of data quality issues. In addition to cultural considerations in relation to
statistical matters (such as concepts, definitions, collection practices), data
quality issues arise from the relatively small size of the Indigenous population
in comparison with the total population, the dispersion of the Indigenous
population, particularly across remote areas of Australia, and the way in which
Indigenous persons are identified in statistical
collections[3].

Aboriginal people were first counted as citizens in the
1971 Census. Since then, censuses have shown a significant increase in people
identifying as Aborigines and/or Torres Strait Islanders:

  • Between the 1991 and 1996 Census there was a 33% increase
    recorded in the numbers of Indigenous peoples.
  • Between the 1996 and 2001 Census there was a 16%
    increase.

In contrast, the total
population in Australia increased by five per cent between 1991 and 1996 and
four per cent from 1996 - 2001.

The increases in the Indigenous population cannot be
accounted for by the birth rate alone. The ABS attributes the increase to a
growing propensity of people to identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait
Islander, and the greater efforts made to record Indigenous status in the
censuses[4].

Because of the recorded increases in the number of
Indigenous peoples, the ABS has warned that comparisons made between two
censuses must be made with caution. They recommend comparing percentages from
two censuses, rather than directly comparing counts or
numbers.[5]

Despite the increases in people identifying as
Indigenous in censuses, however, there are still believed to be significant
undercounts occurring. Identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander,
or any other group, in censuses is voluntary. In the 2001 Census, Indigenous
status is unknown for 767,757 people who completed the census questionnaire:
that is 4.1% of the total
population[6]. Because some of these
people will be Indigenous, the ABS calculates what it calls 'experimental
estimates' to give a figure for the 'true' size of the number of Indigenous
peoples[7]. It is important to
distinguish actual counts from censuses from the experimental estimates.

Indigenous social
surveys

This collection of statistics also includes comparisons
made across the ABS's National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Survey
(1994) (NATSIS 1994)[8] and
the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (2002)
(NATSISS 2002).[9] These are the most
comprehensive Indigenous-specific surveys in Australia. In the latter, the
survey sample was 9,400 Indigenous
people.[10] The results across the
social surveys allow for some broad measures of change to be made for those
indicators which are comparable. These comparisons are set out in the report
based on the NATSISS 2002[11].

Please note that to account for the high growth in the
recorded numbers of Indigenous peoples between the 1991 and the 1996 Census, the
NATSIS 1994 data file has been re-benchmarked by the ABS (from using the 1991 to
the 1996 Census-based population estimates), and survey data revised
accordingly.[12]

1. Population
figures

(a) Size of the
Indigenous population

Table 1 below shows that 410,000 people identified as of
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in the 2001
Census.[13]

There were approximately 409,729 people of Aboriginal
origin and 29,239 of Torres Strait Islander origin. A further 19,552 people
identified as of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
origin[14]. There are slightly more
women (230,994) than men (227,562); a similar distribution to the non-Indigenous
population.[15]

Table 1: Census count of the numbers of Indigenous peoples, 1991-2001[16]

 

1991

1996

2001

Recorded by the Census

265,500

353,000

410,000

Increase on previous census (per cent)

17.0

33.0

16.0

% of the total population (per cent)

1.6

2.0

2.2

Due to the undercount believed to occur in the Census,
the ABS has estimated that the number of Indigenous peoples in 2001 was 458,500
people or 2.4% of the total Australian
population[17].

(b) Growth of the Indigenous
population

While an overall decline in the Indigenous fertility
rate has been reported since the 1960s, in 2001, the fertility rate of
Indigenous women remained higher than that of non-Indigenous women: 2.1 babies
per Indigenous woman compared to 1.7 babies per non-Indigenous
woman[18].

The ABS notes that the fertility of Indigenous
women may be underestimated because of the incomplete identification of
Indigenous status of the mother in birth registrations. Further, because
Indigenous babies are born to non-Indigenous women, estimates of population
growth based exclusively on the fertility of Indigenous women results in an
underestimate of the actual growth of the Indigenous
population.

High fertility at younger ages
contributes to the relatively high fertility of
Indigenous
women. Teenage births are more common
among Indigenous women than among other
women. In
2003, the teenage (15–19 years) birth rate among Indigenous women was more
than four times the overall Australian teenage birth rate. Teenage pregnancies
are associated with low birth
weight[19].

The ABS publishes experimental projections of the
Indigenous population until 2009, based on the 2001 Census. There are 2
projections available depending upon alternative assumptions about the
unexplained growth in the Census counts for the Indigenous population since the
1996 Census (as discussed above) which cannot be attributed to births
alone:

  • The first projection assumes no further unexplained
    growth in the Indigenous census counts and provides an estimated Indigenous
    population of 528,600 in 2009.
  • The second assumes further unexplained growth and results
    in an estimated Indigenous population of 600,200 in 2009.

The projected average annual growth rate under the assumption of no further unexplained growth is 1.8%. This compares with 3.4% for annual growth rate assuming the continuing unexplained growth continues[20].
The Australian Government has estimated the annual rate
of growth of the Indigenous population at 2.3% per annum compared with 1.2%
growth per annum for the non-Indigenous population in
2003.[21]

(c) Age structure of the
Indigenous population and the cohort of young Indigenous people

Indigenous peoples have a different population age
structure to the rest of the Australian population. In common with many other
'western' nations, the non-Indigenous population of Australia is rapidly ageing,
whereas Indigenous peoples are facing increased growth in young age groups.
Graph 1 below, extracted from the ABS publication Population Characteristics,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2001
, demonstrates the
different age structures of Indigenous peoples and the non-Indigenous population
and the young population cohort.

The much younger age structure of the Indigenous
population is largely a product of high levels of fertility and mortality
compared with the non-Indigenous population. The average age in the Indigenous
population is considerably younger than that in the non-Indigenous population.
The median age is 20 years, whereas it is 35 years for non-Indigenous
Australians. There are also relatively fewer Indigenous people aged 65 or over.
In 2001, the proportion of Indigenous people under 15 years of age was 39%
compared with 20% of non-Indigenous people. Persons aged 65 years and over
comprised 3% of the Indigenous population and 13% of the non-Indigenous
population.[22]

Graph 1: Estimated resident population, comparing
Indigenous and non-Indigenous age structures,
2001[23]

Diagram: Estimated
Resident Population, Australia - 30 June 2001

Using both population growth forecasts (one according to the birth rate, the other with unexplained growth factored in, as discussed above) the ABS estimates the proportion of the total Indigenous population aged less than 15 years is projected to fall from 39% at June 2001 to 35% in 2009. Indigenous persons aged 65 years and over comprised 3% of the total Indigenous population in 2001. This proportion would remain unchanged in 2009 in both growth forecasts.[24]

(d) Where Indigenous peoples
live

Almost 53% of Indigenous peoples lived in two states in
2001: New South Wales and Queensland. Despite this, they make up a small
minority of the total population of these States (2.1% and 3.5% respectively).
In contrast, while there total numbers are relatively small, as a proportion of
the total population Indigenous peoples constitute 28.8% of the total population
of the Northern Territory.[25] Table
3 below details the percentage of the total number of Indigenous peoples that
lives in each State and Territory, and the proportion of each State and
Territory's population that is Indigenous.

Table 3: Location of Indigenous peoples - by State and Territory [26]

 

Percentage of the total Indigenous population living in a State or Territory

Percentage of the State or Territory's total population that is Indigenous

NSW

29.4

2.1

Vic

6.1

0.6

Qld

27.5

3.5

SA

5.6

1.7

WA

14.4

3.5

Tas

3.8

3.7

NT

12.4

28.8

ACT

0.9

1.2

Most Torres Strait Islanders (86.2%) live on mainland
Australia, with 13.8% living in the Torres Strait region. 63.4% of the Torres
Strait Islander population live in the state of Queensland and a further 16.3%
in NSW.[27]

(e) Remoteness

While the majority of Indigenous people live in either
major cities, inner or outer regional areas of Australia, the proportion of
people that live in remote or very remote areas is much higher than for the
non-Indigenous population. Table 4 below illustrates that 30.2% of Indigenous
peoples live in major cities, as opposed to 67.2% of the non-Indigenous
population; with 26.5% of Indigenous peoples living in remote or very remote
areas, which compares to just 2% of the non-Indigenous
population.[28]

Table 4: Location of Indigenous peoples by remoteness

 

Indigenous peoples

Non-Indigenous population

Major cities

30.2%

67.2%

Inner regional

20.3%

20.7%

Outer regional

23.1%

10.1%

Remote

8.8%

1.5%

Very remote

17.7%

0.5%

There was a decline in the number of people who lived in
homelands and traditional country over the period of the social surveys (29% to
22%).[29]

Top

2. Indigenous households
and families

An Indigenous household is defined by
the ABS as being one in which an Indigenous person was resident and present on
census night. These are further classified as family, group or lone person
households.[30] There were approximately 145,000 Indigenous households recorded in the 2001
Census. Of these, the vast majority (78%) contained one family. Of the remaining
22%, approximately five per cent were multi-family households and five per cent
were group households. Approximately 13% of Indigenous peoples live in lone
person households.[31]

Couples with dependent children comprise 40% of
Indigenous families, whereas 31% were one parent families (as opposed to 10% of
non-Indigenous families) and 30% were couples without children (compared with
50% of non-Indigenous couples). Indigenous peoples are more likely to live in
one or multi-family households than non-Indigenous peoples (82% compared with
70%) and less likely to live in lone person households (13% compared with 24%).
Living arrangements vary according to remoteness. For example, multi-family
households increase with remoteness whereas one parent families tend to live in
major cities.[32]

Top

3. Language and
culture

Census
data

Indigenous cultures today reflect both traditional
elements and the influence of non-Indigenous cultures. The 2001 Census reported:

  • 80% of Indigenous peoples reported speaking only English
    at home, which is about the same as the non-Indigenous population.
  • 12% of Indigenous peoples reported speaking an Indigenous
    language at home; with three quarters of those recording they were also fluent
    in English.
  • Many Indigenous people are bilingual; however, the
    pattern varies with geographical location. 55% of those living in remote areas
    reported speaking an Indigenous language, compared with one per cent in urban
    centres.
  • Older Indigenous people (over 45 years) are more likely
    to speak a language than younger Indigenous people.
  • Indigenous languages are more likely to be spoken
    in the centre and north of Australia than in the
    south.[33]
Social surveys

The NATSIS 1994 survey reported approximately 60% of
Indigenous respondents identified with a clan, tribal or language
group.[34] The NATSISS 2002 shows a
similar proportion (just over half) of Indigenous respondents continued to
identify with a clan, tribal or language group despite there being a decline in
the proportion (29% to 22%) of people who lived in homelands and traditional
country over the period of the social surveys. Almost 7 out of 10 Indigenous
respondents aged 15 years or over had attended cultural events in the previous
12 months, similar to the situation in 1994. In 2002, use of an Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander language as the main language spoken at home remained at
1994 levels (about one in eight Indigenous
people).[35]

Top

4.
Health

Over the twentieth century in
Australia, for the general population life expectancy is estimated for women to
have increased 26.7
years[36];
while for males, 28.7 years.[37] The
median age at death in 2004 was 76.6 years for males and 82.6 years for females,
an increase of 6.0 years and 5.3 years respectively on the median age of death
for both males and females in
1984.[38] Other statistics show remarkable reductions in the
impact of diseases in the general population. These statistics demonstrate that
significant improvements in the health and life expectation of population groups
can occur within decades. For example, in the general population:

  • death rates from cardiovascular disease have fallen 30%
    in Australia since 1991, and 70% in the last 35-years.
  • The infant mortality rate of 4.7 infant deaths
    per 1,000 live births in 2004 was 20.3% lower than in 1994 and 48.9% lower than
    1984.[39]

Because of these rapid gains in the
general population, despite some significant health gains being made by
Indigenous peoples in the 1970s and 1980s, health inequality with the
non-Indigenous population appears to have remained static or continued to grow
across a number of indicators.

It is also significant that Indigenous peoples'
self-assessed health status shows they believe little improvement has occurred
over the past decade. Over the NATSIS 1994 - NATSISS 2002, the percentage of
Indigenous respondents assessing their health as 'fair/poor' rose from 17.5% to
23.3%. Correspondingly, there was no statistically significant increase in the
number who assessed their health as 'excellent/very good' or reported reductions
in smoking; or alcohol
consumption.[40]

(a) Infant and child
health

Low birth weight
infants

Indigenous infant and child health is significantly
poorer than that of non-Indigenous infants and children. A 'low birth weight
baby' weighs less than 2500 grams at
birth[41] indicating, among other
things, foetal malnutrition. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a
malnourished foetus will program its body in a way that will incline it to
chronic diseases later in life.[42] Beyond infancy, normal growth is considered vital for good health in adulthood.
Significant numbers of Indigenous children demonstrate failure to
thrive.[43]

Approximately twice as many low birth weight infants
were born to Indigenous women compared to those born to non-Indigenous women
over 1998 - 2000.[44] In the period
2000-2002, babies of Indigenous mothers continued to be twice as likely to be of
low birth weight as babies born to non-Indigenous mothers (13% compared to
6%).The ABS reported in 2005 that since 1991 there appears to be no change in
both the rates of low birth-weight infants being born to Indigenous women and
the mean birth weights of those
infants.[45]

Infant mortality

After significant reductions to the Indigenous infant
mortality rate in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a levelling out of the rate in
the mid 1990s. The decline is believed to have halted because of the generally
poor health of Indigenous mothers; their exposure to risk factors; and the poor
state of health infrastructure in which infants were
raised[46].
The infant mortality rate is expressed as the number of
deaths in the first year per 1000 births in a population. The ABS concluded in
2001 that no reliable Indigenous infant mortality rate national trend (either
for better or worse) was identifiable, largely because of the poor quality of
data.[47] Since 2003, only certain
State and Territory infant mortality rates (those where data is considered
reliable) have been published by the
ABS[48]. In these jurisdictions,
from 1999 – 2004, around twice as many Indigenous infants died before
their first birthday as non-Indigenous
infants.[49] In the Northern
Territory the Indigenous infant mortality rate was three - four times the
national rate in 2004 (15.4 deaths per 1000 to 4.69 deaths per 1000
nationally).[50]

(b) Chronic
diseases

Chronic diseases, in particular cardiovascular disease,
are the biggest single killers of Indigenous people. A comparison of rates of
death from the five main groups of chronic diseases over 2000 - 2002 is set out
in table 5.

Table 5: Indigenous peoples' rates of death from chronic diseases expressed as a multiple of the rates in the non-Indigenous population (2000 - 2002) [51]

Chronic disease group

Indigenous women

Indigenous men

Cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases, strokes

2.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

3.0 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Neoplasms (inc. cancers)

1.6 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

1.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Diseases of respiratory system

3.6 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

3.9 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (inc. diabetes)

10.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

7.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Diseases of the digestive system

3.4 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

4.6 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

(c) Communicable
diseases

Data on the rates of communicable diseases is gathered
from two sources:

  • hospital separations data (records of admission to, and
    discharge from, hospitals because of a particular disease); and
  • the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

Both sources indicate that rates of a
wide range of communicable diseases are at much higher rates in Indigenous
peoples than in the non-Indigenous population. Table 6 sets out hospital
separations data.

Table 6: Indigenous peoples' rates of hospitalisation for communicable diseases as multiples of the rates in the non-Indigenous population (2003- 2004)[52]

Communicable disease

Indigenous women

Indigenous men

Infectious intestinal diseases

1.9 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

2.0 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Tuberculosis

4.4 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

5.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Pneumonia

3 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

3.8 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Viral infections

1.5 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

1.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous men

Infections, sexual transmission

6.5 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

4.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous women

Data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance
System is set out in Table 7.

Table 7: Rates of communicable diseases in Indigenous peoples reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System as multiples of the rates in the non-Indigenous population (2003)[53]

Communicable disease

Detected in Indigenous peoples

Hepatitis A

8 times the rate detected in the non-Indigenous population

Hepatitis B

3 times the rate detected in the non-Indigenous population

Meningococcal infection

3 times the rate in the non-Indigenous population

Salmonellosis

4 times the rate in the non-Indigenous population

Chlamydia Infection

7 times the rate detected in the non-Indigenous population

Tuberculosis

7 times the rate in the non-Indigenous population.

(d) Life
expectancy

There are long-standing issues pertaining to the
identification of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person as the
deceased on death certificates that prevent definitive statements being made
about Indigenous peoples' life expectation: over 2000-04, only 57% of the deaths
of Indigenous people were believed to have been correctly identified as either
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander on death certificates nationally [54].

Under the new life expectation formula adopted by the
ABS in 2003, Indigenous males' life expectation was estimated to be 59.4 years
over 1996-2001, while female life expectation was estimated to be 64.8 years. A
life expectation inequality gap of approximately 18 years was identified, a
reduction of approximately three years on estimates produced in 2001 under a now
superseded formula. This is well below the 82.0 years and 76.6 years for total
females and males respectively, for the 1998-2000
period[55]. The next estimate will
be calculated over 2001 - 2006 using data from the Census 2006.

Indigenous peoples’ life expectation appears to be
similar to that of people in low development states. Although international
comparisons should be made with some caution because of the different formulae
with which life expectation is calculated between jurisdictions, with reference
to the 2005 United Nation's Human Development Index, Indigenous peoples appear
to have a life expectation approximating that of the people of Turkmenistan
(62.4 years).[56]

(e) Life expectancy - Comparison
with other indigenous peoples

Approximately thirty years ago, life expectancy rates
for indigenous peoples in Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America
were similar to the rates for Indigenous peoples in Australia. However,
significant gains in life expectancy have been made in the past two decades in
the indigenous populations in Canada, New Zealand and the United States of
America. Comparable mortality rates for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
in 1990-1994 were at or above the rates observed 20 years ago in Maori and
Native Americans, being 1.9 times the rate in Maori, 2.4 times the rate in
Native Americans, and 3.2 times the rate for all Australians.

Australia has fallen significantly
behind in improving the life expectancy of its Indigenous peoples. Although
comparisons should be made with caution (because of the way different countries
calculate life expectation) data suggests Indigenous males in Australia live
between 8.8 and 13.5 years less than indigenous males in Canada, New Zealand and
the USA. Indigenous females in Australia live between 10.9 and 12.6 years less
than indigenous females in these
countries[57].

(f) Health risk
factors

Health surveys

Diseases and conditions associated with obesity fall
into two categories, those associated with the metabolic consequences of obesity
such as type two diabetes, gall bladder disease, hypertension and coronary heart
disease; and those associated with excess weight such as sleep apnoea, asthma
and osteoarthritis.[58]

In 2001, the ABS National Health Survey (2001)
classified 61% of Indigenous respondents over 15 years of age as overweight or
obese compared with 48% of non-Indigenous respondents. The proportion of both
Indigenous and non-Indigenous respondents aged 18 years and classified as obese
has increased since the previous survey in
1995.[59]

Smoking is a risk factor for coronary heart disease,
stroke and cancers. The National Health Survey also reported 49% of
Indigenous respondents aged 18 years and over were smokers, compared with 24% in
the general population.[60]

The National Health Survey reported that 58% of
Indigenous respondents did not drink alcohol, compared with 38% of
non-Indigenous respondents. 12% of Indigenous respondents were likely to consume
alcohol at risky/high risk levels, compared with 11% of non-Indigenous
respondents.[61] The rate of
risky/high risk consumption was higher for Indigenous male than for female
respondents and peaked amongst those aged 35-44 years
(20%).[62] This finding contrasts
with the Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare National Drug Strategy
Household Survey
(2001) that reported Indigenous respondents consumed
alcohol at risk levels twice (20%) that of the non-Indigenous
respondents[63].

Social surveys

The results of the health surveys are supported by the
social surveys. The NATSISS 2002 reported just over half (51%) of Indigenous
respondents aged 15 years or over were cigarette smokers, similar to the rate in
1994 (52%). Similar rates of men and women respondents were current daily (or
regular) smokers (51% and 47%). For both men and women, the highest rates were
reported for those aged 25-44
years.[64] The NATSISS 2002 reported around one-sixth (15%) of
Indigenous respondents aged 15 years or over reported risky/high risk alcohol
consumption in the last 12 months. The rate was higher for Indigenous male than
female respondents (17% compared with 13%) and peaked for males aged 45-54 years
(22%) and for females aged 35-44 years (19%). The level of risky/high risk
alcohol consumption in the last 12 months was similar for Indigenous respondents
in non-remote and remote areas. Respondents with a non-school qualification
reported risky/high risk alcohol consumption at a lower rate (14%) than did
people whose highest educational attainment was Year 9 or below
(18%).[65]

(g) Disability as reported by the
social surveys

Among Indigenous respondent aged 15 years or over, the
NATSISS 2002 reported just over one-third had a disability or long-term health
condition. Such people were less likely to have participated in social
activities (86% compared with 92%), more likely to have experienced at least one
stressor in the last 12 months (86% compared with 80%), and also more likely to
have had transport difficulties. In 2002, 16% of Indigenous people with a
disability or long-term health condition said they could not get to, or often
had difficulty getting to, the places needed, compared with the 9% of Indigenous
people who did not have a
disability[66].

Due to differences in the way disability data were
collected in remote and non-remote areas, comparisons with the non-Indigenous
population are limited to those Indigenous respondents living in non-remote
areas. When the effects of age differences were removed, the disability rate
among Indigenous respondents was 1.4 times higher than among the non-Indigenous
population (57% compared with
40%).[67]

(h) Mental health

While data collections are largely inadequate to the
task of definitively assessing the state of mental health among Indigenous
peoples, there have been several reports over the past decade and several
indicators that suggest Indigenous peoples suffer higher rates of poor mental
health than non-Indigenous Australians.

The 1996 national consultancy on Indigenous mental
health, Ways Forward, reported that mental health problems significantly
affected at least 30% of Indigenous
communities.[68] Urban studies in
the 1990s reported that 54% of Indigenous people attending Aboriginal medical
services had a mental health disorder. Women tended to present earlier, while
men's first presentation was often following involuntary admission into acute
psychiatric care.[69]

Self harm and
suicide

In 2003-04, Indigenous males had a hospitalisation
separation rate 2.1 times higher than non-Indigenous males, and Indigenous
females had a hospitalisation separation rate 1.5 times higher than
non-Indigenous females for mental and behavioural
disorders.[70]

Hospitalisation and mortality rates from intentional
injury or self harm may be indicative of mental illness and distress. In
2003-04, Indigenous Australians also had a higher rate of hospitalisation for
intentional self harm than the non-Indigenous population: 2.4 higher for
Indigenous males and 1.9 times higher for Indigenous
females.[71]

Violence

Violence is an important determinant of the poorer
health of Indigenous peoples when compared to the non-Indigenous population.
Reported physical, or threatened physical, violence, appear to have doubled over
the period of social surveys: 13% of respondents in 1994 identifying as victims,
compared to 25% of respondents in 2002. This may, however, reflect
under-reporting by respondents in the 1994
NATSIS.[72]

The ABS reports that in 2003-04, as in previous years,
the most commonly recorded external causes for injury resulting in
hospitalisation was assault (females 28%; males 20%). Hospitalisations recorded
for injury due to assault were seven and 31 times higher for Indigenous males
and females respectively.[73]

Assault is a significant cause of death for both
Indigenous males and females. Over the period 1999-2003, the Indigenous male
age-specific death rates for assault for ten-year age groups from 25 to 54 were
between 10 and 18 times the corresponding age-specific rates for non-Indigenous
males, while for females the rates ranged between 6 and 16 times the equivalent
age-specific rates for non-Indigenous
females.[74]

(i) Social determinants of
health and psychosocial stress

Research has demonstrated associations between an
individual's social and economic status and their health. Poverty is clearly
associated with poor health[75]. For
example:

  • Poor education and literacy are linked to poor
    health status, and affect the capacity of people to use health
    information;[76]
  • Poorer income reduces the accessibility of health care
    services and medicines;
  • Overcrowded and run-down housing is associated
    with poverty and contributes to the spread of communicable
    disease[77];
  • Poor infant diet is associated with poverty and
    chronic diseases later in life;[78] and
  • Smoking and high-risk behaviour is associated
    with lower socio-economic
    status.[79]

Research has also demonstrated that
poorer people also have less financial and other forms of control over their
lives. This can contribute to a greater burden of unhealthy
stress[80] where 'prolonged exposure
to psychological demands where possibilities to control the situation are
perceived to be limited and the chances of reward are
small.'[81] Chronic stress can
impact on the body's immune system, circulatory system, and metabolic functions
through a variety of hormonal pathways and is associated with a range of health
problems from diseases of the circulatory system (notably heart disease) [82]and mental health
problems[83] through to men's
violence against women and other forms of community
dysfunction.[84]

The perception of control, or lack of control, can be
influenced by:

  • Factors like racism, and other forms of
    discrimination.[85]
  • Addiction in the community: this undermines
    resilience and social support and communities. It has been mostly closely
    observed in relation to
    alcoholism.[86]
  • Particular traumas: accidents, violence, natural
    disasters etc.

Variables that help
mitigate stress include social support and social cohesion. Studies show that
people in long-term, familial relationships and close-knit communities are
better able to deal with stress and will live longer than those who do
not.[87]

Set out below is an extract from the NATSISS 2002 report
summary highlighting stressors and factors that mitigate stress that are
measured in the social surveys:

  • The overwhelming majority of Indigenous respondents (90%)
    reported that, in a time of crisis, they could get support from outside their
    household. Those in the two highest income quintiles were more likely (96%) than
    those in the lowest quintile (89%) to report that they could get support.
    Availability of support was higher for Indigenous respondents living in
    non-remote areas (92%) than those in remote areas (87%).
  • Overall, 82% of Indigenous respondents reported that they
    had experienced at least one stressor in the last 12 months. The most frequently
    reported stressors were the death of a family member or close friend (46%),
    serious illness or disability (31%) and inability to get a job (27%). However,
    for those living in remote areas, the most frequently reported stressors, after
    death of a family member or close friend (55%), were overcrowding at home (42%)
    and alcohol and drug-related problems (37%). Indigenous respondents in remote
    areas were slightly more likely than those living in non-remote areas to report
    experiencing a stressor (85% compared with 81%). Among those aged 18 years or
    over, Indigenous respondents were almost one-and-a-half times more likely than
    non-Indigenous population to report experiencing at least one stressor (83%
    compared with 57%).
  • To measure the number of Indigenous people
    potentially impacted by the removal of children from their families, the 2002
    NATSISS asked Indigenous respondents aged 15 years or over whether they or any
    of their relatives had been removed from their natural families. Thirty-eight
    percent (38%) reported that they had either been removed themselves and/or had
    relatives who, as a child, had been removed from their natural family. About 8%
    of Indigenous respondents reported that they themselves had been removed from
    their natural family. The most frequently reported relatives removed were
    grandparents (15%), aunts or uncles (11%), and parents
    (9%).[88]

Top

5.
Income

(a) Household
income

Estimates of household income are adjusted by the ABS
according to 'equivalence factors' in order to recognise the impact of different
household compositions and different household
sizes.[89]

In the Census 2001, the mean (average) equivalised gross
household income for Indigenous persons was $364 per week, or 62% of the rate
for non-Indigenous persons ($585 per week). The ABS has stated that 'this
disparity reflects the lower household incomes received by households with
Indigenous person(s), and the tendency for such households to be larger than
Other households and hence for the equivalised gross household income to be
lower'.[90]

For Indigenous persons, income levels generally decline
with increased geographic remoteness. In major cities and regional areas,
average equivalised incomes for Indigenous persons were approximately 70% of the
corresponding income for non-Indigenous persons. This declines to approximately
60% in remote areas, and just 40% in very remote
areas.[91]

Between the 1996 and 2001 Census, the average
equivalised gross household income for Indigenous persons rose by 11% (after
adjustment for inflation using the Consumer Price Index) compared with 13% for
non-Indigenous persons. As a consequence, the relative income disparity between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons increased slightly. Overall, the average
equivalised income for Indigenous persons declined from 64% of the corresponding
non-Indigenous rate in 1996, to 62% in
2001.[92]

The social surveys found that mean equivalised gross
household income for Indigenous persons 15 years or over has risen from $345 per
week in 1994 to $387 per week in 2002. When 2002 data are recalculated for the
population aged 18 years or over this is 59% of the relevant income level for
non-Indigenous persons ($665 per week).

The surveys support the income data from the 2001 and
1996 Population Censuses confirms that while Indigenous mean equivalised gross
household income has increased, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
incomes has not
narrowed.[93]

(b) Individual
income

The median weekly gross individual income for Indigenous
peoples in 2001 was $226 (a $36 or 19% increase from the 1996 rate). This
compares to $380 for the non-Indigenous population in 2001 (an increase of 28.4%
from the 1996 figure of $296).[94]

The disparity between Indigenous peoples and the
non-Indigenous population increased noticeably in relation to individual income
over the decade 1991 - 2001. The Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
have estimated that median individual income for Indigenous adults, expressed as
a ratio to non-Indigenous adult income, fell from 0.70 in 1991 to 0.65 in 1996
to 0.59 in 2001 (where 1.0 indicates a situation of equality or
parity).[95]

Much of the difference is due to the significant numbers
of Indigenous people who derive their income from unemployment benefits or who
are engaged in Community Development Employment Projects. There are also a
larger number of Indigenous peoples in lower-skilled jobs. Of indigenous persons
aged 15 and over who indicated their labour force status in the 2001 Census, one
third (34%) were engaged in mainstream employment, 7% participated in
CDEP’s, 10% were unemployed and 48% were not in the labour
force.[96]

The ABS has also noted that Indigenous persons tend to
earn less money than non-Indigenous persons within the same occupational
categories. For example, in 2001 the median income of Indigenous managers was
81% of the non-Indigenous median, for professionals it was 73% and among
labourers just 56%.[97]

(c) Income source from the social
surveys

Data on income source in the NATSISS 2002 echo the
changes in employment status of the Indigenous population. CDEP and non-CDEP
wages and salaries combined accounted for a larger proportion of Indigenous
respondents main income source in 2002 (39% compared to 33% in 1994). Government
pensions and allowances was the main income source for 50% of Indigenous
respondents in 2002 (compared to 55% in
1994).[98]

(d) Financial stress in the
social surveys

In the NATSISS 2002, just over half (54%) of all
respondents aged 15 years or over were living in households in which the
household spokesperson reported that they could not raise $2,000 within a week
in a time of crisis. Around one-third (37%) of respondents were living in
households with Indigenous children under five years of age, and almost
two-thirds (64%) were living in households with Indigenous children under 15
years of age. A higher proportion of respondents in remote areas reported that,
in a time of crisis, they could not raise $2,000 within a week (73% compared
with 47% in non-remote areas). In remote areas, 77% of respondents were living
in households with Indigenous children under 15 years of age. Among people aged
18 years or over, Indigenous respondents were about four times as likely to
report that they were unable to raise $2,000 within a week, in a time of crisis
as in the non-Indigenous
population.[99]

Top

6.
Employment

(a) Participation in the labour
force

Census data

In the 2001 Census, 52% of Indigenous people aged 15
years and over reported that they were participating in the labour force
(meaning that they were engaged in mainstream employment, participating in CDEP
or unemployed). This compares to 53% in 1996. The participation rate was higher
for Indigenous men (60%) than Indigenous women
(45%).[100]

The labour force participation rate for the
non-Indigenous population was 63% in 2001 (i.e. 11% higher than for Indigenous
peoples). When adjusted to include only people aged 15-64 years, the disparity
in labour force participation widens further with 54% of Indigenous people in
this age group in the labour force compared with 73% of the non-Indigenous
population.[101]

Table 8 shows that labour force participation rates for
Indigenous peoples declines with remoteness, with a 57% participation rate in
major cities compared with 46% in very remote
areas.[102]

Table 8: Labour force participation, by remoteness, 2001

 

Indigenous persons

Non-Indigenous persons

Major cities

57.3

64.3

Inner Regional

52.0

59.9

Outer regional

50.7

63.3

Remote

50.5

71.8

Very remote

46.2

78.1

Nationally, 46% of all Indigenous people aged 15-64
years were not in the labour force in 2001. This indicates that they were not
actively engaged in the labour market, for reasons including carer
responsibilities, illness, disability or lack of market opportunities. By
comparison, 27% of the non-Indigenous population in the same age group were not
participating in the labour
force.[104]

The social surveys

The social surveys support the Census data, in the
NATSISS 2002, 60 per cent of respondents aged 15 years and over reported that
they were participating in the labour force (meaning that they were engaged in
mainstream employment, participating in CDEP or unemployed).The surveys indicate
marked changes over 1994 – 2002 in employment status, with the proportion
of employed respondents increasing from 36% to 46%. The CDEP accounted for one
in four jobs held by respondents in 2002, and the proportion of respondents
employed in mainstream (non-CDEP) jobs also increased (from 28% to
34%).[105]

Nationally, 48 per cent of all Indigenous respondents
aged 18 years or over, once the effects of age differences between Indigenous
peoples and the non-Indigenous population have been removed, were not in the
labour force in 2002. This indicates that they were not actively engaged in the
labour market, for reasons including carer responsibilities, illness, disability
or lack of market opportunities. By comparison, 33 per cent of non-Indigenous
population in the same age group were not participating in the labour
force.[106]

(b) Unemployment

The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed
expressed as a proportion of the total labour force. The ABS does not classify
participation in the CDEP scheme as unemployed.

In the Census 2001, the unemployment rate for Indigenous
peoples was 20%. The rate in 1996 was 23%. This is approximately three times
higher than the rate for the non-Indigenous
population.[107]

Table - 9 shows the unemployment rate for Indigenous
peoples and the non-Indigenous population by remoteness. It shows that
Indigenous people living in inner and outer regional areas have the highest
unemployment rate. The low rate of unemployment in very remote areas relates to
low levels of labour force participation, combined with high levels of CDEP
participation ad limited mainstream labour market
opportunities[108].

Table 9: Unemployment rates by remoteness, 2001[109]

 

Indigenous peoples

Non-Indigenous population

Major cities

20.1

6.9

Inner Regional

25.0

8.1

Outer regional

23.1

7.4

Remote

19.2

4.9

Very remote

8.3

3.5

Table 10 shows that unemployment rates were highest for
Indigenous people aged 15-17 years (31.8%), and 18-24 years (27.3%). These rates
were approximately double the non-Indigenous rate.

Table 10: Unemployment rates by age group, 2001 [110]

 

Indigenous persons

Non-Indigenous persons

15-17 Years

31.8

16.3

18-24 Years

27.3

12.8

25-34 Years

20.7

7.1

35-44 Years

16.0

5.7

45-54 years

11.7

4.9

55-64 Years

10.4

5.7

(c) Employment and CDEP
Participation

Indigenous people employed in 2001 had the following
characteristics:

  • 93% were employees, with four per cent self-employed and
    two per cent employers;
  • 55% worked in the private sector and 23% in government;
  • 18% participated in CDEP;
  • 52% were full time and 38% part time;
  • 60% worked in low skill occupations, 21% in medium skill
    occupations and 15% in high skill occupations;
  • 29% reported having a non-school
    qualification.[111]

In 2001, 18% of all Indigenous people
who were classified as employed were engaged in Community Development Employment
Projects (CDEP). The CDEP Scheme enables participants to exchange unemployment
benefits for opportunities to undertake work and training in activities managed
by local Indigenous community organisations. Compared with all Indigenous people
who were employed, Indigenous people identified as CDEP participants were:

  • twice as likely to work part time (74% compared with
    38%);
  • more likely to report working in a low skilled occupation
    (79% compared with 60%); and
  • one third as likely to report having a non-school
    qualification (nine per cent compared with
    29%).[112]

Top

7.
Education

(a) Secondary
education

Table 11 compares the highest level of secondary
schooling completed for those Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, 18 years or
over, who do not have a non-school qualification. It shows that 49.9 per cent of
non-Indigenous Australians had no non-school qualification compared with 71 per
cent of Indigenous Australians.

Table 11: Highest level of schooling completed, 2002[113]

Level completed

Indigenous (%)

Non-Indigenous (%)

Year 9 or below

33.4

15.8

Year 10 or 11

26.9

18.8

Year 12

10.7

15.3

No non-school qualification

71.0

49.9

Table 12 below shows the difference between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous students' transition to non-compulsory Year 11 schooling. The
retention rate for Indigenous students fell from nearly 90% in year 10 to 67% in
year 11. By comparison, the rate for non-Indigenous students falls less
dramatically from year 10 to year 11 from 99% to 87%.

Table 12: Grade progression rates, 2003[114]

Year level

Indigenous students (%)

Non Indigenous students (%)

8 to 9

95.1

100

9 to 10

89.2

99

10 to 11

71.0

90.9

11 to 12

66.3

86.3

Table 13 below indicates that retention rates from years
nine to 12 for Indigenous students has increased over the five year period
between 1998 and 2002. However, the retention rate for Indigenous students
remains substantially lower than non-Indigenous students. As at 2002, the
apparent retention rate for Indigenous year 12 students was 38 per cent compared
to 76.3 per cent for their non-Indigenous counter-parts.

Table 13: Apparent Retention Rates - Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, 2000-2004[115]

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Year 9 Indigenous

Non-Indigenous

95.5

99.8

96.5

99.9

97.8

99.8

96.8

99.9

97.2

99.9

Year 10 Indigenous

Non-Indigenous

83.0

98.0

85.7

98.4

86.4

98.5

87.2

98.9

85.8

98.5

Year 11 Indigenous

Non-Indigenous

53.6

86.2

56.1

87.6

58.9

88.7

61.4

89.5

61.0

88.9

Year 12 Indigenous

Non-Indigenous

36.4

73.3

35.7

74.5

38.0

76.3

39.1

76.5

39.5

76.8

(b) Post-secondary
education

The NATSISS 2002 identified people aged over 18 years
who had a non-school qualification such as a bachelor degree, certificate or
diploma. The ABS has reported that Indigenous peoples participate at a similar
rate to non-Indigenous population in post-secondary education, although this
varies across age groups, type of institution attended and across geographic
regions.

Table 14 below shows that Indigenous peoples are also
less likely to have a post-graduate degree, bachelor degree, advanced diploma or
diploma than the non-Indigenous population.

Table 14: Highest non-school qualification, Percentage of persons aged 18 years and over, 2002

Level obtained

Indigenous peoples (%)

Non-Indigenous population (%)

Bachelor degree

3.7

16.9

Certificate or Diploma

24.1

32.7

Total with non-school qualification

29.0

50.1

The proportion of Indigenous peoples reporting a
non-school qualification of Bachelor degree or above, while small at just over
3%, has progressed significantly since 1994 (just over 1%). Significant gains
also occurred in the number of people reporting other non-school qualifications
such as certificates and diplomas. The proportion of Indigenous peoples with a
non-school qualification increased from around 12% in 1994 to 26% in 2002,
although this level still remained well below that for the non-Indigenous
population.[117]

Top

8.
Housing and homelessness

(a) Housing tenure

Census data

The residents of households with Indigenous
person(s)[118] were much more
likely to be renting than purchasing a home than owning a home outright. Table
15 shows that 63% of households with Indigenous person(s) were renting (compared
with approximately 27% of other households); 19% were purchasing their home
(compared with 27% of other households); and 13% owned their home outright
(compared with 40% of other households).

Table 15: Housing Tenure, 2001[119]

 

Households with Indigenous person(s)

Other households

Renting

63.5

26.6

Purchasing

19.4

27.0

Owner

12.6

40.5

Other / not known

4.5

5.9

Generally speaking, in remote areas, Indigenous peoples
are less likely to own their home than in urban centres. This, in part, reflects
the type of tenures available to people on traditional Indigenous
lands[120].

The social
surveys

The NATSISS 2002 reported that 70% of Indigenous
respondents lived in rented accommodation in 2002. This has not changed
significantly since 1994 (71%). There has, however, been an apparent decline in
the proportion of Indigenous respondents living in accommodation rented from
state/territory housing authorities, from 33% in 1994 to 22% in 2002.
Proportionally more respondents (about two-thirds in rental accommodation in
2002) are now living in accommodation rented through Indigenous Housing
Organisations, community housing or other private rental providers (up from
one-half in 1994).

The NATSISS also 2002 reported 17% of respondents lived
in dwellings that were being purchased and 10% lived in dwellings that were
owned outright. In other words, 27% of respondents owned or part-owned their
homes in 2002 up from 22% in
1994.[121]

(b) Household size and
overcrowding

Households with Indigenous person(s) tend to have more
residents than other households. At the 2001 Census, there was an average of 3.5
persons in households with Indigenous person(s), compared with 2.6 persons in
other households. Both household size and the proportion of households requiring
at least one additional bedroom rose with increased geographic remoteness.
Average household with Indigenous person(s) size increased from 3.2 residents in
major cities to 5.3 in very remote
areas[122].

Although there is no universally accepted definition of
what constitutes adequate accommodation, data presented below use the Canadian
National Occupancy Standard. This standard specifies who should reasonably be
expected to share bedrooms, dependent on age and sex. Based on this definition,
15% of households with Indigenous person(s) were considered to be living in
dwellings requiring at least one additional bedroom, compared to 4% of other
households.[123]

The likelihood of needing additional bedrooms increased
with the remoteness of households with Indigenous person(s). In major cities,
11% of all households with Indigenous person(s) require at least one extra
bedroom, compared with 42% of households with Indigenous person(s) in very
remote Australia. The likelihood of needing additional bedrooms for other
households varied only slightly with the level of remoteness, fluctuating
between 3% to
4%.[124]

The Steering Committee for Government Service Provision
has reported that Indigenous peoples were 5.6 times more likely to live in
overcrowded houses than the non-Indigenous population. This rate rises to 18.8
times the non-Indigenous rate in very remote
areas.[125]

(c) Discrete Aboriginal or Torres
Strait Islander communities

'Discrete' communities are those that comprise
predominantly (i.e. over 50%) Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
people[126]. They are located in
both urban and remote areas. Conditions in these communities were until very
recently far poorer than conditions in non-Indigenous communities. The Community
Housing and Infrastructure Needs Surveys (CHINS) have been carried out every two
years since 1997 by the ABS. They aim to provide a picture of life in discrete
communities and allow government programs to improve conditions there to be
monitored.

A total of 1,216 discrete Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Islander communities were covered in the 2001 CHINS, These communities had
16,966 permanent dwellings and a total reported population of
108,085.[127]

While many problems with housing and infrastructure in
discrete communities were reported, a number of improvements since the 1999
CHINS were observed. These include a reduction in the proportion of people
living in temporary dwellings, an increase in the proportion of permanent
dwellings connected to water, power and sewerage systems and a reduction in
sewerage system overflows and
leakages[128].

Selected findings in relation to discrete communities
were that water quality was either not tested, or had failed testing in the 12
months prior to the survey, in 46% of the 213 communities which had a population
of 50 or more and were not connected to a town water supply. This is a decrease
from 52% of such communities in 1999. Further, overflows or leakages from
sewerage systems in the 12 months prior to the survey occurred in 48% of
Indigenous communities with a population of 50.[129]

Top

9.
Indigenous peoples and criminal justice systems

(a) Indigenous adult
prisoners

The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in
Custody
(RCIADIC) reported in 1991. At that time, Aboriginal people made up
14% of the total prison population and were up to 15 times more likely to be in
prison than non-Aboriginal
people[130]. It made a large
number of recommendations to address this
issue[131] Despite this, the
number of Indigenous prisoners increased over the last decade: Indigenous people
represented 22% of the total prisoner population as at 30 June
2005.[132] The total number in
prison increased by 12% over 2004 to 2005 (from 5,084 to
5,656)[133].

Age standardisation is a statistical method that adjusts
crude rates to account for age differences between study populations. Age
standardisation enables better comparisons between different populations. In the
context of such a comparison, the key variable interests are the ratio of rates,
rather than the age standardised rates
alone.[134]

As at December 2005 the highest aged standardised
ratio[135] of imprisonment for
Indigenous persons was recorded in Western Australia and South Australia with
Indigenous people being 19 and 13 times more likely than non-Indigenous people
to be in prison.[136].Tasmania had
the lowest age standardised ratio of all states and territories with Indigenous
people 4 times more likely to go to prison than non-Indigenous
people.[137]

The age profile for Indigenous prisoners is younger than
the overall prison population. As at June 2005 the median age for Indigenous
prisoners was 30 years, while the overall prison population was 32 years. Over
one in twenty (6%) Indigenous men aged 25-29 years were in prison at 30 June
2004, compared with 0.6% of all males aged 25-29 years. [138]

In the twelve months from 1 September 2004 to 1
September 2005 all States and Territories with the exception of the ACT recorded
an increase in Indigenous imprisonment rates. The Northern Territory recorded
the highest increase (13%) with Western Australia second (9%) and followed by
Queensland (8%)[139].

A 2003 study demonstrates the extent of contact of
Indigenous people with criminal justice processes in New South Wales. Between
1997 and 2001, a total of 25,000 Indigenous people appeared in a NSW Court
charged with a criminal offence. This constitutes 28.6% of the total NSW
Indigenous population. In the year 2001 alone, nearly one in five Indigenous
males in NSW appeared in Court charged with a criminal offence. For Indigenous
males aged 20-24 years, this rate increased to over
40%[140].

The increase in the rate of the incarceration of
Indigenous people in Australia over 1991-2002 is shown in Graph 2 below.

Graph 2: Indigenous prisoners in
Australia 1992 - 2002

Graph 10: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
prisoners in Australia 1992 - 2002 : If you require this data in a more
accessible format please email webfeedback@humanrights.gov.au

If you require this data
in a more accessible format please email webfeedback@humanrights.gov.au

(b) Indigenous
women in corrections

Indigenous women are currently the fastest growing
prison population.

Incarceration rates for women generally have increased
more rapidly than for men and the increase in imprisonment of Indigenous women
has been much greater over the period compared with non-Indigenous
women.[141]

The decade between 1993 and 2003 the general female
prison population increased by 110 %, as compared with a 45 % increase in the
general male prison
population.[142] The Indigenous
female prison population has increased from 111 women in
1993[143] to 467 in September
2005[144]. This suggests a 420%
increase since 1993.

As at March 2004, Indigenous women were imprisoned
nationally at a rate 20.8 times that of non-Indigenous
women.[145] The rate of
over-representation by state and territory is set out in Table 16 below.

Table 16: Indigenous women - rates of incarceration,
September Quarter 2005

State / Territory

Number of Indigenous females in corrections[146]

Rate per 100,000 Indigenous females[147]

NSW

171

420.1

Victoria

20

222.8

Queensland

98

239.5

South Australia

26

318.5

Western Australia

128

613.7

Tasmania

6

109.8

Northern Territory

18

98.5

ACT

-

-

Total

467

323.3

There are many possible reasons for the increases in
female Indigenous prison populations, with variations occurring in each State
and Territory and again between regional and urban centres.

In New South Wales, the Select Committee into the
Increase in Prison Population found in 2001 that the most significant
contributing factor was the increase in the remand population. There was no
evidence to suggest that an in increase in actual crime accounted for the prison
increase, although increases in police activity and changes in judicial
attitudes to sentencing were also
important.[148]

(c) Indigenous juveniles and
corrections

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has noted that there
is only limited national data on young people in the juvenile justice system and
that a national data collection system is a work in
progress[149]. It estimated that
in 2002-03 Indigenous young people (that is, those 10 to 17 years of age) were
detained at ten times the rate of all young people in
Australia[150].

The Australian Institute of Criminology reports that at
30 June 2004, there were 306 young Indigenous persons detained in juvenile
facilities throughout
Australia[151] as compared with
258 non-Indigenous young
people.[152] The Indigenous
juvenile detention rate per is 312.9 young people per
100,000[153] compared to a rate of
12.2 young people per 100,000 for the non-Indigenous
population.[154].

A study in Queensland has tracked the trajectory through
the criminal justice system of young offenders who first appeared in the
juvenile justice system from 1994-95 (through custodial and non-custodial
orders) up to September 2002[155].
The study reported that by September 2002, 89% of Indigenous male juveniles on
supervised orders had progressed to the adult system, with 71% having served at
least one term of imprisonment. It also reported there was an increased
likelihood that those juveniles who were subject to a supervised justice order
and had been the subject of a care and protection order would proceed to the
adult criminal justice system, with 91% of all such juveniles having some
contact with the adult system, and 67% having served at least one term of
imprisonment.The study concluded that 'over time, the probability of
those juveniles on supervised orders in 1994-95 who are subject to multiple risk
factors (e.g. male, Indigenous, care and protection order) progressing to the
adult corrections system will approach 100 per
cent.'[156]

(d) Indigenous deaths in custody

Over 1990-1999, 115 Indigenous people died in
custody[157]. Indigenous deaths in
custody throughout the 1990s represent a disproportionately high 18% of all
deaths in custody[158].

In 2004, 14 Indigenous persons died in custody out of 67
total deaths in prison, police custody and custody-related
operations[159]. The rate of
Indigenous deaths in prison custody in 2004 was 1.4 prisoners per 1,000
Indigenous prisoners, while the rate of non-Indigenous deaths in prison custody
was 1.6 per 1,000 non-Indigenous
prisoners[160] The Australian
Institute of Criminology reports that despite some fluctuations in rates of both
Indigenous and non-indigenous deaths in custody since 1982, the rates of death
per 1000 prisoners have become more similar since 1999 and both have begun to
trend downward since 1999[161].

This indicates that the
disproportionate number of Indigenous deaths in custody relative to the total
Indigenous population must be understood in the broader context of the
over-representation of Indigenous people in criminal justice processes.

(e) Victims of
crime

There is no national data on the extent to which
Indigenous peoples are victims of crime. A study in New South Wales in 2001
reported that Indigenous people are 5.5 times more likely (6.2 times for
Indigenous females) than non-Indigenous people to be a victim of a domestic
violence related assault; 3.4 times (rising to 5.2 times for Indigenous females)
more likely to be the victim of assault; 2.8 times (2.9 for Indigenous females)
more likely to be the victim of a sexual assault; 2.5 times (1.9 for Indigenous
females) more likely to be the victim of murder; 1.4 times (same for Indigenous
females) more likely to be the victim of a sexual assault against a child aged
0-15 years. Indigenous people were, however, less likely to be the victim of
robbery. The study also reported that victimisation in violent crimes is also
predominately the result of offending by other Aboriginal
people.[162] This identifies the
challenge to find solutions for Indigenous people being victims of crime, within
the context of addressing the over-representation of Indigenous people in
criminal justice processes.

(f) The social surveys: crime,
violence and the criminal justice system

What follows is extracted from the NATSISS (2002) report
summary:

One-quarter of respondents in the NATSISS 2002 reported
that they had been a victim of physical or threatened violence in the previous
12 months, nearly double the rate reported in 1994 (13%). Some of this increase
may reflect under-reporting by respondents to the NATSIS 1994.

The proportion of Indigenous respondents in 2002 who
reported using legal services in the last 12 months had increased to 20%, up
from 15% in 1994. Those who needed legal services but did not use them increased
slightly to 3% from 2% in 1994. In 2002 about 75% of those who used legal
services used an Aboriginal Legal Service or Legal Aid, down from 87% in 1994.

The proportion of Indigenous respondents who reported
having been arrested at least once in the previous five years declined by about
one-fifth between 1994 (20%) and 2002 (16%). The proportion who reported being
arrested once only in the previous five years was also down in 2002 (7% compared
to 9% in 1994), contributing to the overall improved outcome.

Between 1994 and 2002, the proportion of Indigenous
respondents who reported that they had been arrested in the previous five years
fell from 20% to 16%. In 2002, 7% of Indigenous respondents reported that they
had been incarcerated in the last five years. Males, in comparison with females,
were far more likely to report that they had been arrested (24% compared with
9%) and incarcerated (11% compared with 3%) in the last five years. Of those who
had been arrested in the last five years, around seven out of ten were male, and
of those who had been incarcerated, nearly eight out of ten were
male.

Of the 16% of Indigenous respondents aged 15 years or
over who reported that they had been arrested by police in the last five years,
38% were living in households with Indigenous children under five years of age,
and 63% were living in households with Indigenous children under 15 years of
age.

Indigenous respondents who had ever been charged by
police (35%) were around twice as likely to be unemployed as the rest of the
Indigenous population. In 2002, 21% of males and 19% of females who had ever
been charged were unemployed compared with 12% of males and 9% of females in the
remainder of the Indigenous population. Similarly, those ever charged were more
likely to have ceased formal schooling before Year 10, although the difference
primarily occurred among males. Of Indigenous male respondents aged 15 years or
over, 42% of those who had ever been charged had ceased formal schooling before
Year 10 compared with 32% of other Indigenous males.

Of those Indigenous respondents who had ever been
charged by police, those first charged before the age of 17 years were more
likely to have been arrested and/or incarcerated in the last five years than
those first charged when they were older. In 2002, over half (54%) of
respondents first charged before the age of 17 years had been arrested by police
in the last five years and 29% had been incarcerated in that period. Comparative
figures for those first formally charged when they were 25 years or over were
31% and 14%[163].

Top

10.
Child protection

There are three areas of child protection services for
which national data is compiled:

  • Child protection notifications, investigations and
    substantiations;
  • Children on care and protection orders; and
  • Children in out-of-home care.

Children who are perceived to be in
need of protection can come into contact with community services departments or
child protection agencies (in the states and territories) by someone expressing
concern about the welfare of a child or making a report to the department. From
the reporting stage, if it is decided that the child is prima facie under risk
of harm (neglect or abuse) the report is classified as a notification. Most
notifications are investigated and classified as substantiated or not
substantiated according to the degree of risk to the child. A range of services
are then provided to that child and the child's family. In extreme cases, state
departments can apply to the court for a care and protection order. Children can
also be placed in out-of-home care, either temporarily or more long term, by
order of the
court[164].

At the NATSIS (1994), 10% of Indigenous respondents aged
25 years or over reported that they had been taken away from their natural
family. The same result (10%) was recorded for the closest equivalent age cohort
group (35 years or over) in the NATSISS 2002. Both the 1994 and 2002 surveys
recorded that 8% of Indigenous respondents aged 15 years or over at the time of
the surveys, had been taken away from their natural
family[165].

(a) Child protection
notifications, investigations and substantiations

The rates of Indigenous children entering the child
protection system are higher than the rates for other children. Table 18 sets
out the rates of Indigenous children per 1000 who were the subject of a
substantiation orders in 2004-05. The highest rates recorded were in Victoria
(63.0 Indigenous children per 1000).

Table 18: Rate of children the subject of substantiations: By Indigenous status and state / territory, 2004-05[166]

State/Territory

Indigenous (rate per 1,000)

Other children (rate per 1,000)

Total

NSW

27.1.

5.2

6.1

Vic

63.0

5.8

6.4

Qld

20.4

13.7

14.1

WA

12.2

1.6

2.3

SA

43.2

4.2

5.5

NT

13.7

3.9

7.9

Tas

4.8

5.8

5.8

A.C.T

56.0

10.9

12.0

The pattern of substantiated abuse and neglect for
Indigenous children differs from the pattern for other children. Indigenous
children were much more likely to be the subject of a substantiation of neglect.
For example, in Queensland, 41% of substantiations for Indigenous children were
of neglect (compared with 31% of other
children)[167]

(b) Children on care and
protection orders

Table 19 shows the rate of Indigenous children on care
and protection orders across all States and Territories, and comparisons to the
rate for other children. It shows that the rate per 1,000 Indigenous children is
significantly higher than the rate for other children across all
jurisdictions.

Table 19: Rate of children on care and protection orders: By Indigenous status and state / territory, 30 June 2005[168]

State/Territory

Indigenous children (rate per 1,000)

Other children (rate per 1,000)

Total

NSW

33.0

4.3

5.4

Vic

52.8

4.3

4.9

Qld

21.9

5.0

6.0

WA

21.6

2.5

3.7

SA

27.3

3.7

4.5

NT

11.4

3.8

7.0

Tas

11.5

5.7

6.1

A.C.T

37.4

5.3

6.1

(c) Children in out-of-home
care

Table 20 compares the rate per 1,000 Indigenous children
and rate per 1000 other children in out-of-home care. It shows that the rate per
1,000 Indigenous children is significantly higher than the rate for other
children across all jurisdictions. The national rate for Indigenous children was
over six times the national rate for other children.

Table 20: Rate of children in out-of-home care: By Indigenous status and state / territory, 30 June 2005 [169]

State/Territory

Indigenous children (rate per 1,000)

Other children (rate per 1,000)

Total

NSW

39.7

4.4

5.8

Vic

40.7

3.4

3.8

Qld

20.8

4.8

5.8

WA

22.6

2.5

3.8

SA

24.3

3.1

3.9

NT

8.9

3.1

5.5

Tas

9.5

4.6

4.9

A.C.T

32.0

3.8

4.5

Total

26.4

3.9

4.9

At 30 June 2005, 69% of Indigenous children in
out-of-home care across Australia were placed in accordance with the Aboriginal
Child Placement Principle. This Principle outlines a preference for placing
Indigenous children with an Indigenous family. It places a preference for
placements first with their extended families, second with their Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander community and third with Indigenous people before placing
the child with a non-Indigenous
family.[170]

Top


ENDNOTES

  • [1] It is acknowledged that
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are not a homogenous group. The
    term 'Indigenous peoples' is used to reflect this diversity.
  • [2]Steering Committee for the
    Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage:
    Key Indicators 2005: Report
    , Productivity Commission, Canberra,
    2005.
  • [3] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians 2001
    , ABS cat. no. 4705.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra,
    2002, pp7-15.
  • [4] Australian Bureau
    of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Peoples 2001
    , ABS cat. no. 4713.0, Commonwealth of Australia,
    Canberra, p12.
  • [5] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The
    Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Peoples, 2003
    , ABS cat. no. 4704.0 , Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra,
    2003, p245.
  • [6] Australian Bureau
    of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Peoples 2001, op.cit.,
    p12.
  • [7]ibid., p15.
  • [8] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey 1994 – Detailed Findings, ABS cat. no. 4190.0, Commonwealth of Australia,
    Canberra, 1995.
  • [9] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
    Survey 2002
    , ABS cat. no. 4714.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra,
    2004.
  • [10]ibid.,
    pv.
  • [11]ibid.,
    pp31-32.
  • [12]ibid.,
    p2.
  • [13] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians 2001
    , op.cit., p15.
  • [14]ibid., p19,
    Table 2.2.
  • [15]ibid., p20, Table 2.3.
  • [16]ibid., p15; p25,
    Table 2.8.
  • [17]ibid.,
    p15.
  • [18]Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Year Book 2006, ABS cat. no. 1301.0, no. 88, Commonwealth of
    Australia, Canberra, 2006,
    p122.
  • [19] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    2005
    , ABS cat. no. 4704.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005,
    p74.
  • [20] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Year Book 2005, no. 87, ABS cat. no. 1301.0, Commonwealth of
    Australia, Canberra, 2005,
    p113.
  • [21] Department of
    Immigration, Multiculturalism and Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous people in
    Australia
    (Fact sheet) DIMIA website: http://www.minister.immi.gov.au.atsia/facts/index.htm
    (Accessed 2
    December 2003).
  • [22] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians 2001
    , op.cit., p18.
  • [23]ibid., graph
    not numbered.
  • [24] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, Year Book 2005, op.cit., p113.
  • [25] Australian Bureau
    of Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Australians 2001
    , op.cit., p19, Table 2.2. [26]ibid.
  • [27]ibid., p19, Table 2.2.
  • [28]ibid., p22, Table 2.5.
  • [29] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Social Survey 2002
    , op cit.,
    p2.
  • [30] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians 2001
    , op.cit., p27.
  • [31]ibid., p28.
  • [32]ibid., pp28-29.
  • [33]ibid., pp35-36.
  • [34] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Survey 1994,
    op.cit., p4.
  • [35] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey 2002, op.cit. p2.
  • [36] From 54.8 years to 81.5 years. Baum, F., The New Public Health, (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, p198.
  • [37] From 47.2 years to 75.9
    years. ibid.
  • [38] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Deaths 2004, ABS cat. no. 3320.0,
    Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005, p10.
  • [39]ibid.,
    p14.
  • [40] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey 2002, op.cit., p31, Table 6.
  • [41] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,
    2005
    , ABS cat. no. 4704.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005,
    p79.
  • [42] National Health and
    Medical Research Council, Nutrition in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Peoples, an information paper,
    NHMRC, Canberra, 2000,
    p21.
  • [43] Burn, J. and Irvine,
    J., ‘Nutrition and Growth’, Editor, Thomson, N., The Health of
    Indigenous Australians,
    Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2003,
    pp81-84.
  • [44] Australian Bureau
    of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    , op.cit., p125.
  • [45] Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Peoples, 2005
    , op.cit., p80.
  • [46] Thomson, N., ‘Responding to our ‘Spectacular Failure’, Editor, Thomson, N., The Health of Indigenous Australians, op.cit., p
    490.
  • [47] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Deaths 2001, ABS cat. no.3320.0. Commonwealth of Australia,
    Canberra, 2002, p 23.
  • [48] Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are excluded due to data
    quality issues. ibid.,
    p77.
  • [49] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Deaths 2004, ABS cat. no.3320.0. Commonwealth of Australia,
    Canberra, 2005, p69.
  • [50]ibid., p69, Table 8.7.
  • [51] Australian Institute of
    Health and Welfare, Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW cat. no. AUS 44,
    Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2004, p197, Table 4.6.
  • [52]ibid., p124, Table
    7.37.
  • [53]ibid., p121, Table
    7.34.
  • [54] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Deaths 2004, op.cit., p63, Table
    8.1.
  • [55]ibid., p
    70.
  • [56] United Nations
    Development Program, Human Development Report 2005, UNDP, Geneva, 2005,
    p220, Table 1.
  • [57] Ring, I., and
    Firman, D., ‘Reducing indigenous mortality in Australia: lessons from
    other countries’, Medical Journal of Australia, 1998, Vol. 169,
    pp528-533.
  • [58] National Health
    and Medical Research Council , Clinical Practice Guidelines for the
    Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.
    Commonwealth of Australia,
    Canberra, 2003, p5.
  • [59] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey: Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Results
    , Australia, 2001. ABS cat. no. 4715.0,
    Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2002,
    p10.
  • [60]ibid.,
    p7.
  • [61]ibid., p8.
  • [62] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Peoples, 2005.
    op.cit.,
    p136.
  • [63] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,
    2003.
    op.cit.,
    p174.
  • [64] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
    2002, op. cit
    ., p8.
  • [65]ibid.
  • [66]ibid., pp7-8.
  • [67]ibid.
  • [68] Swan, P., and
    Raphael, B., Ways Forward: National Consultancy Report on Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Health,
    National Mental Health Strategy, AGPS,
    Canberra, 1995, p42.
  • [69] Hunter,
    E., ‘Mental Health’, Editors, Thomson, N., The Health of
    Indigenous Australians,
    Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2003,
    p141.
  • [70] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2005,
    op.cit.
    , p131, Table
    7.39.
  • [71]ibid., p117,
    Table 7.30.
  • [72] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
    Survey 2002, op.cit.
    , p4.
  • [73] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    2005
    , op. cit., p116.
  • [74]ibid., p160.
  • [75] See generally
    Editors Marmot, M. and Wilkinson, R., Social Determinants of Health, Oxford University Press, New York,
    1999.
  • [76] Fred Hollows
    Foundation, Literacy for Life, Australian National University, Canberra,
    2004, pp10-12, available online at http://www.hollows.org/content/TextOnly.aspx?s=244. See also the issues raised
    in: Malin, M, Is schooling good for Indigenous children's
    health?, 
    Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health & Northern Territory University, 2003, available online at: http://www.acer.edu.au/research/special_topics/ind_edu/report_papers.html
  • [77] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2005,
    op.cit.
    , p37.
  • [78] Wadsworth,
    M., Early Life, Editors, Marmot, M. and Wilkinson, R., Social
    Determinants of Health,
    Oxford University Press, New York, 1999, p44.
    Chronic diseases that have poor diet as a determinant include cardiovascular
    disease, Type 2 diabetes and renal disease. Connections have been made between
    poor foetal nutrition and the presence of chronic diseases later in life:
    National Health and Medical Research Council, Nutrition in Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander peoples - An information paper
    , Commonwealth of
    Australia, 2000, p15.
  • [79] Jarvis, M. and Wardie, J., 'Social pattering of individual health behaviours;
    the case of cigarette smoking', Editors, Marmot, M. and Wilkinson, R., Social
    Determinants of Health
    , op.cit.,
    pp241-244.
  • [80] Shaw, M.,
    Dorling, D. and Davey-Smith, G., 'Poverty, social exclusion, and minorities',
    Editors, Marmot, M. and Wilkinson, R.., Social Determinants of Health,
    op.cit.
    , pp32-37. See also, ‘Financial stress in the social
    surveys’ below.
  • [81] Brunner, E. and Marmot, M, 'Social Organization, stress and health', Editors,
    Marmot, M. and Wilkinson, R., Social Determinants of Health op.cit, p 17.
  • [82]ibid., pp32-37.
  • [83] Marmot, M., 'Health and the psychosocial environment at work', Editors, Marmot,
    M. and Wilkinson, R., Social Determinants of Health, op.cit.,
    p124.
  • [84] Wilkinson, R.,
    'Prosperity, redistribution, health and welfare', Editors, Marmot, M. and
    Wilkinson, R., Social Determinants of Health, op.cit., pp260-265.
  • [85] Williams, R., Neighbours,
    H. and Jackson, J., 'Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Health: Findings from
    Community Studies', (Feb 2003), 93(2) American Journal of Public Health 200, pp200-201.
  • [86] Shaw, M.,
    Dorling, D., and Davey Smith, G., ‘Poverty, social exclusion and
    minorities’, Editors, Marmot, M. and Wilkinson, R., Social Determinants
    of Health
    , op.cit.,
    p220-221.
  • [87] Stansfeld, S., ‘Social support and social cohesion’, Editors, Marmot, M. and
    Wilkinson, R., Social Determinants of Health, op.cit.,
    p155.
  • [88] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
    2002, op.cit.,
    pp5-6.
  • [89] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics: Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Australians 2001, op.cit.,
    p81.
  • [90]ibid.
  • [91]ibid., p82.
  • [92]ibid.
  • [93]ibid., p81.
  • [94]ibid., p88,
    Table 7.2.
  • [95] Altman, J., and
    Hunter, B., Monitoring ‘practical’ reconciliation: Evidence from
    the reconciliation decade, 1991-2001,
    Discussion Paper No. 245/2003,Centre
    for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University,
    Canberra, pp6-8, Tables 1 and
    2.
  • [96] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians 2001, op.cit.
    , p84.
  • [97]ibid., p85.
  • [98] Australian Bureau
    of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey,
    2002, op.cit.,
    p3.
  • [99]ibid, pp11-12.
  • [100] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Australians 2001, op.cit.
    , p65.
  • [101]ibid.
  • [102]ibid., p66.
  • [103]ibid., p71, Table
    6.1.
  • [104]ibid., p66.
  • [105] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
    Survey 2002, op.cit.,
    p3.
  • [106]ibid.,
    p10.
  • [107] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians, 2001, op.cit.,
    p66.
  • [108]ibid., p67.
  • [109]ibid., p71,
    Table 6.1.
  • [110]ibid., p73,
    Table 6.2.
  • [111]ibid.,
    p68.
  • [112]ibid.
  • [113]ibid.. p28,
    Table 4.
  • [114] Department of
    Education, Science and Training, National Report to Parliament on Indigenous
    Education and Training 2003
    , Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005, p28,
    Table 3.4.
  • [115] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Year Book Australia 2006, ABS series cat. no. 1301.0,
    Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2006, p294, Table 10.9.
  • [116] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
    2002, op.cit.,
    p28, Table
    4.
  • [117] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
    2002
    , op.cit., p31, Table
    6.
  • [118] Defined by the ABS as
    a household in which at least one person identified as Aboriginal or Torres
    Strait Islander and was counted on the Census night. Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Population Characteristics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Australians 2001
    , op.cit., p140.
  • [119]ibid.,
    pp93-94.
  • [120]ibid.,
    p93.
  • [121] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
    2002
    , op.cit.,
    p12.
  • [122] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and
    Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    2003
    , op.cit., p38, Table
    3.2.
  • [123]ibid., p38.
  • [124] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal
    and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003
    , op.cit.,
    p38
  • [125] Steering Committee
    for the Review of Government Service Provision, op.cit.,
    pp10.24-10.25
  • [126] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Communities 2001
    , op.cit.,
    p87.
  • [127]ibid.,
    p1.
  • [128]ibid., p4.
  • [129]ibid.
  • [130] Royal
    Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, National Report Volume 1, AGPS,
    Canberra, 1991, para. 9.3.1. Find the report online at: www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/IndgLRes/rciadic.
  • [131]ibid.
  • [132] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia 2005, ABS cat. no.
    4517.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005,
    p5
  • [133] ibid,
    p5.
  • [134] ibid., p54.
  • [135] There have been a
    number of changes to the way the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
    calculates Indigenous imprisonment rates. The ABS now employs an
    age-standardisation method to calculate rates and ratios of Indigenous and
    non-Indigenous prisoners. There are differences in the age distributions between
    Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. In 2001, the
    proportion of Indigenous people aged under 18 years and over was 54.6%, compared
    with 75.8% of the non-Indigenous people (and 75.3% of the total Australian
    population). Using crude rates to examine differences between Indigenous and
    non-Indigenous populations may lead to erroneous conclusions being drawn about
    variables that are correlated with age. For more information see ABS, Prisoners in Australia 2004. Series cat. no. 4517.0, Commonwealth
    of Australia, Canberra, 2004, p54, Appendix
    2
  • [136] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Prisoners in Australia 2005, op.cit.,
    p5.
  • [137] ibid.
  • [138] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia 2004, op.cit.., p6.
  • [139] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Corrective Services, September Quarter
    2005, ABS cat. no. 4512.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005,
    p5.
  • [140]Weatherburn, D., Lind,
    B. and Hua, J., ‘Contact with the New South Wales court and prison
    system: the influence of age, Indigenous status and gender’
    78 Crime
    and Justice Bulletin (NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research) 1, 2003,
    pp4-5. Available online at: www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/bocsar1.nsf/pages/cjb78text.
  • [141] Cameron, M., ‘Women Prisoners and Correctional Programs’, Trends and
    Issues, no. 194, Australian Institute of Criminology, Feb 2001,
    p1.
  • [142] ibid.
  • [143] ibid.
  • [144] Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, Corrective Services, September Quarter 2005, op.cit., p17, Table
    10
  • [145] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Corrective Services, Australia, March Quarter 2004, op.cit., p22.
  • [146] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Corrective Services, September Quarter 2005, op.cit.,
    p17, Table 10.
  • [147]ibid., p18,
    Table 11.
  • [148] Cuneen, C. NSW Aboriginal Justice Plan – Discussion Paper, 2002,
    p26.
  • [149] Australian Bureau of
    Statistics, Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare, The Health and Welfare
    of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    , op.cit., p215.
  • [150]ibid. p217.
  • [151] Veld,
    M. and Taylor, N., Statistics on juvenile detention in Australia:
    1981-2004
    , Technical and Background paper No. 18, Australian Institute of
    Criminology, Canberra, 2005,
    p24.
  • [152]ibid.
    p26.
  • [153] ibid.,
    p25.
  • [154]ibid., p
    27
  • [155] Lynch, M. Buckman, J.
    and Krenske, L. Youth Justice: Crime Trajectories, Australian Institute
    of Criminology and Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, AIC Trends and
    Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, Issues paper 265, September 2003, AIC,
    Canberra, 2003
  • [156]ibid., p2.
  • [157] Williams P, Deaths in Custody: 10 years on from the Royal Commission,
    Trends and issues in Criminal Justice – No. 203, Australian Institute of
    Criminology, Canberra, 2001,
    p2.
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    explanation of care and protection classifications and statistics see:
    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child Protection 2001-02,
    AIHW, Canberra 2003, Chapter
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  • [167]ibid.,
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  • [168]ibid., p39,
    Table 3.10.
  • [169]ibid., p51,
    Table 4.8.
  • [170]ibid.,
    p53, Table 4.9.