Reconciliation Australia welcomes NATSISS survey
Watch: Animation – Key statistics from the
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
Photo credit: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics from September 2014 to June 2015. The ABC surveyed 11,178 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in private dwellings across Australia, providing broad, self-reported information across key areas of social interest for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Survey emerged from a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody that found more detailed data would be needed to Close the Gap.
The NATSISS survey highlights a number of positive developments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:
- Almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is under the age of 20. This population is diverse and growing.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent 3% of Australia’s total population. 35% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in major cities, 44% in regional areas and 21% in remote areas.
- Almost 3 in 4 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognise a connection with Country. Almost two in three (62%) identify with a clan, tribal or language group.
- Year 12 completion rates are increasing, to more than 1 in 4 persons graduating to secondary level in 2014 – up from 1 in 5 persons in 2008.
- Healthy lifestyles are also on the increase, with lower rates of smoking and drinking reported amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people.
Troublingly, the NATSISS survey also found that:
- 1 in 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people say have experienced racial discrimination in the past 12 months. Reconciliation Australia’s own State of Reconciliation in Australia report, launched in February 2016, also found that 1 in 3 (33%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had experienced verbal racial abuse in the six months prior to the survey.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment rates show little progress, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people three times more likely to be unemployed.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also coming into contact with the justice system at alarming high rates. 15% said they had been arrested in the last 5 years and 9% said they had been incarcerated at some stage in life. (See: Justice targets vital to Closing the Gap: Reconciliation Australia).
“We need to get the rest of Australia ready for this new generation that will be looking for opportunities and contributing to the economy, to the development and the planning of this country across decades to come…
(We need) to stamp out racism, to stamp out people feeling unsafe, and to be able to walk into any institution or place and feel that they will be treated equally – and also be acknowledged as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – and to be seen as a positive, not a negative.”
Reconciliation Australia CEO Justin Mohamed on NITV’s The Point with Stan Grant, speaking to the findings of the NATSISS survey. (Onwards 3:08)