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iGeneration report 2006

In September 2006, the West Australian newspaper published the results of the latest iGeneration survey of the values, beliefs and opinions of 18-30-year-olds in Western Australia. The first iGeneration survey was conducted in 2004. Respondents were proportionally representative of the population of 18-30-year-olds in Western Australia in terms of their gender, distribution across the age bracket and geographical location (metropolitan or country).

Jointly commissioned by the West Australian and insurance company HBF, the survey was conducted by Perth-based market research company Patterson Market Research. Data were gathered through telephone interviews with 467 randomly selected young people. This comprehensive survey sought young people's attitudes and opinions on a broad range of issues including their priorities in life, finance and security, health and activities, environmental issues, Australian values, beliefs and behaviours, political issues, and work and career issues.

Some findings from the report:

Occupation profile

Full-time work 56%
Full-time study 16%
Part-time work (no study) 13%
Part-time work (plus study) 10%
Home duties 4%
Unemployed 1%

Marital status

Married 22%
De-facto relationship 16%
Regular partner (not living together) 19%
Unattached 42%

Living arrangements

Living with parents/in-laws 37%
Buying home with partner/spouse 29%
Renting with partner/spouse 11%
Renting with a group (share arrangement) 7%
Renting alone 7%
Buying alone 6%
Buying with a group (share arrangement) 1%
Living with other family members 1%
House supplied by employer 1%

Life issues classed as a high priority

Having a fit and healthy lifestyle 72%
Saving or investing for the future 57%
Having a financial plan for the future 56%
The development of renewable energy sources 43%
Having enough money for the 'nice things in life' 42%
Reducing WA's greenhouse emissions 40%
Doing something constructuve about global warming 37%

Percentage of respondents who currently ...

... hold shares 27%
... have an investment property 15%
... have personal superannuation 73%

Planned method(s) for funding retirement

Superannuation payout/income stream 57%
Income from investments 49%
Don't know 14%
Part-time work 11%
Savings 5%
Winning lotto 1%
Children to assist/provide for 1%
Pension 1%
Other 1%

Frequency of participation in 30-minute exercise sessions

Daily 29%
1-3 times per week 45%
3-4 times per month 16%
Less than 3-4 times per month 8%
Never 2%

Attitudes towards nuclear power in WA

Strongly oppose 42%
Generally oppose 16%
Neither one nor the other 14%
Generally support 19%
Strongly support 6%
Don't know 2%

Percentage of respondents who believe that it is acceptable to...

... smoke cannabis 51%
... take ecstasy 25%
... use amphetamies 18%
... use cocaine 14%
... use heroin 6%
... drive when over the legal blood alcohol limit 20%
... take a 'sickie' from work 82%

Respondents' reaction to the question: 'Do you think that mainstream Muslims are any more or less suited to making a life in Australia than migrants with other religious beliefs?

Less suited 25%
No more or less suited 70%
More suited 2%

Voter allegiance (Respondents were asked which political party they would vote for if a state election was held that week)

Labor/ALP 38%
Liberals 26%
Nationals 2%
Greens 11%
Democrats 1%
One Nation 1%
Independent 4%
Don't know 18%

The iGeneration Report - 2006 is available from the HBF website:

Sources: Patterson Market Research, 2006, The iGeneration Report - 2006, HBF, viewed 14 September 2006.
West Australian, 2/9/06, pp.8-9.

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Social trends - education, training and work, 2005


  • In 2005 the number of full-time students attending primary and secondary schools in Western Australia was 338,300 (an increase of less than 1% from the 336,100 in 2004).
  • Between 1995 and 2005 the proportion of full-time students in the state's government schools fell from 73.9% to 67.6% (reflecting the national trend of increased participation in private schools).
  • The rate of decline has been more rapid in Western Australia than for Australia, bringing the proportion of the state's students in government schools closer to the national average in 2005 (67.1%).

Full-time students, percentage enrolled in government schools

Education participation:

  • Percentage of 15- to 19-year-olds in Western Australia participating in formal education in 2005: 69.7% (national average: 76.0%).
  • In 1995: 64.9%
  • In 2000: 75.5%

The strong labour market in Western Australia may, in part, be contributing to lower education participation rates for persons aged 15-19 years: Between 2001 and 2005, the labour force participation rate for Western Australia increased from 63.1% to 65.7% and the unemployment rate decreased from 5.6% to 4.4%.

Education participation, persons aged 20 to 24 years

'Growing emphasis on the need for higher educational qualifications and skills has contributed to a marked increase in the educational participation of Western Australians aged 20-24 years over the past ten years: In 1995, 25.7% of this age group were participating in education, but by 2005 this proportion had increased to 34.8%.
'Nationally, the education participation rate for this age group increased from 28.0% to 38.9% over the same period.'

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1367.5 - Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Sep 2006, released 04/10/2006, Canberra, ACT [viewed 25/01/2007].

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Kids Help Line Western Australia 2005 Report

General information

  • In 2005, Kids Help Line received 72,244* telephone and online contacts from Western Australia and were able to respond to 37,863* of these contacts (36,409* telephone contacts and 1,454 online contacts).
  • 35% of calls to Kids Help Line required counselling or support.
  • 112 young people from Western Australia reported current thoughts of suicide, while 351 young people reported having deliberately injured themselves (as distinct from suicidality).
  • 11% of telephone callers were referred to other support services in their local area. Duty-of-Care actions, such as contacting an emergency service or child protection agency, were required for 28 Western Australian callers.

* Estimation due to 6 days of missing data.

Location of callers

Region % of calls
Perth metropolitan 27.2%
Perth mobiles 15.8%
WA regional mobiles 11.8%
South-west WA 10.4%
Wheatbelt 9.4%
Pilbara/Kimberley 8.7%
Gascoyne/Midwest WA 7.8%
Great southern WA 4.9%
Goldfields 4.0%

The following figures are based on data gathered from 4,319 telephone counselling sessions with children and young people in Western Australia aged 5-25 years:

Age and sex of callers

Age Females Males Total
5-9 years 2.5% 1.9% 4.3%
10-14 years 32.1% 10.8% 42.9%
15-18 years 33.9% 14.0% 47.8%
19-25 years 3.4% 1.5% 4.9%
Total 71.9% 28.1% 100.0%

10 most frequent concerns of Western Australian KHL clients, 2005

Concern Proportion of WA contacts Proportion of national contacts
Family relationships 21.1% 17.7%
Peer relationships 14.6% 13.4%
Partner relationships 8.2% 10.0%
Bullying 7.1% 5.8%
Emotional/behavioural management 6.2% 7.1%
Child abuse 5.8% 4.9%
Mental health issues 4.1% 6.9%
Alcohol or drug use 3.3% 2.7%
Homelessness/leaving home 3.2% 4.0%
Grief or loss 2.9% 2.4%

The report is available for download from the Kids Help Line website:

Source: Kids Help Line 2006, Western Australia 2005 Report, Kids Help Line, Milton, QLD, [viewed 25/01/2007].

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Health and wellbeing of young adults in Western Australia 2002-05

The Western Australian Department of Health has released a report containing the results of a health and wellbeing survey it conducted with 3,220 young people aged 16-24 years between 2002 and 2005. The report, Health and wellbeing of young adults in Western Australia 2002-05, an overview, found that over 95% of those surveyed rated their health as good to excellent.

Other findings from the report:

  • 70% of female respondents and 80% of male respondents reported exercising regularly.
  • 1 in 5 females and 1 in 3 males reported being overweight or obese.
  • 1 in 10 respondents reported not using any contraception the last time they had sexual intercourse.
  • Female respondents were 3 times as likely as male respondents to experience anxiety, depression and stress-related problems.
  • 50% of respondents reported eating the recommended number of daily serves of fruit, but only 1 in 10 reported eating the recommended number of daily serves of vegetables.
  • Respondents from relatively socioeconomically disadvantaged areas were more likely to smoke, be overweight or obese, were less likely to exercise regularly and were more likely to have asthma and ADHD compared with those from areas classified as least socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Western Australian Department of Health:

Source: Department of Health, Government of Western Australia media release 12/04/06, Health snapshot a mixed bag for young West Australians, [viewed 25/01/2007].
The West Australian 12/04/06, p.5.

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Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition (CAPANS) Survey 2003

In May 2005, the Premier's Physical Activity Taskforce (Western Australia) released the results of its 2003 Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition (CAPANS) Survey, a project undertaken with Healthway, the Western Australian Department of Health and the University of Notre Dame Australia to 'provide a set of baseline data on child and adolescent physical activity behaviours, eating patterns and physiques'.

Data were collected in 2003 from 2,274 Western Australian school students in Years 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11. The study had five components: a physical activity questionnaire, a 7-day pedometer diary, a 24-hour dietary record, a food frequency questionnaire and measurements of height, weight and waist girth.

Key findings from the survey include:

Physical activity and inactivity

  • At least 9 in 10 primary school and 8 in 10 secondary school students participated in school sport or physical education.
  • Soccer (55.2%) was the most popular sport, exercise or dance activity with primary school males, while Australian Rules Football (46.2%) was the most popular activity for secondary school males.
  • Dance (51.5%) and swimming laps (47.7%) were the most popular sport, exercise or dance activities for primary school females, while dance (43.6%) and netball (33.3%) were the most popular activities for secondary school females.
  • Close to 30% of primary school students and 50% of secondary students did not engage in 'active play' (activities such as bike riding, jogging/running, playing with pets).
  • Around 1 in 4 secondary school males and 1 in 3 secondary school females reported doing no physical activity in a typical week.
  • Just under 50% of all females and 33% of all males spent 10 or more hours per week on 'sedentary behaviours'.
  • 95% of all males and 97% of all females agreed that engaging in physical activity in the next year would keep them healthy.

Daily steps taken by children and youth on a school day (average)

Primary school males 12,464
Primary school females 10,673
Secondary school males 13,741
Secondary school females 11,309

Hours per weekday spent watching television (average)

Primary school males 2.2
Primary school females 2.1
Secondary school males 3.9
Secondary school females 4.3

Nutrition, overweight and obesity

'Approximately 95% of students ate cereals and cereal products; 90% consumed milk or milk products; 75% ate meat, poultry and game products or dishes; 70% ate vegetables; 55% ate fruit and 10% or less ate fish or eggs.

Approximately 70% of students ate cereal based products (e.g. cakes, biscuits, pizza), 50% of students ate fats and oils, 45% of students ate confectionary (e.g. lollies, chocolates, snack bars) and 45% of students ate other sugar products and dishes (e.g. sweet spreads, jelly, icy poles).'

'Measured according to Body Mass Index (BMI), the prevalence of overweight and obesity in 7- to 15-year-old males has doubled from 9.3% in 1985 to 23.1% in 2003; and tripled in females from 10.6% in 1985 to 30.5% in 2003.'

A full copy of the report is available on the Premier's Physical Activity Taskforce (Western Australia) website.

Source: Premier's Physical Activity Taskforce (Western Australia), 2005, Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition (CAPANS) Survey 2003 Summary [viewed 25/01/2007].

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Juvenile detention rates in Western Australia 2004

In late 2005, the University of Western Australia's Crime Research Centre released its latest report, Crime and Justice Statistics for Western Australia: 2004.

The juvenile detention figures for Western Australia in 2004 were:

  • Overall rate: 51.9 per 100,000 juvenile persons
  • Indigenous rate: 654.6 per 100,000 Indigenous juveniles

The Indigenous juvenile detention rate was found to be 52 times higher than the non-indigenous rate, while both the overall juvenile detention rate and the Indigenous juvenile detention rate were the highest of their kind in the country.

University of Western Australia:

Source: University of Western Australia media release, Motor vehicle theft drops to one third of 1995 level, [viewed 25/01/2007]

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The WA Aboriginal Child Health Survey: 2002

The survey was conducted between May 2000 and June 2002. At 30 June 2001, there were 29,817 Aboriginal children under the age of 18 years in Western Australia (6% of the WA population for this age group and 45% of the total WA Aboriginal population). The survey used the term 'Aboriginal' to encompass both Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, and 'children' included all those under 18 years at the time of the survey.

'Of the 5,289 children studied, 1,480 were aged 12-17 years. Carer reports were obtained for 1,399 and self-reports from 1,073. Among those completing self-reports, 81 did not have a carer report. Carer reports show that young people who completed a questionnaire differed from those who did not with respect to age, sex, LORI and social and emotional wellbeing. Data were again weighted for age, sex and LORI to obtain rates applicable to the 9,100 Aboriginal 12- to 17-year-olds estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to reside in WA in June 2001.'

Key findings:

Health of Aboriginal young people aged 12-17 years

Infections: Recurring infections involving the ear, skin and/or gastrointestinal tract: 23.6%

Recurrent ear infections: Abnormal hearing: 6.9%, unintelligible speech: 4.8% difficulties in saying certain sounds: 4.3% and learning difficulties: 9.6%

Asthma: Ever having asthma: 24.4% (12.9% used medication, and these rates were inversely related to geographic isolation). This compared with 17.3% in non-Aboriginal 12- to 16-year-olds, of whom 8.7% used asthma medication, with no association with area of residence.

Vision: 11.3% of Aboriginal young people had abnormal vision and 7.8% wore contact lenses or glasses, compared with 20.7% and 16%, respectively, in non-Aboriginal 12- to 16-year-olds. The prevalence of abnormal vision decreased as the level of relative isolation increased.

Oral health: 45.6% had decayed, missing or filled teeth. The prevalence of poor oral health decreased with increasing isolation of residence.

Contact with health care: Compared with non-Aboriginal children, Aboriginal young people had less contact with all types of health professionals except Aboriginal health workers, Aboriginal medical services and nurses, and were half as likely to use Medicare or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Sexual knowledge and experience reported by Aboriginal young people

Sexual experience: 74.5% of Aboriginal 17-year-olds had had sexual intercourse, and in half of these (48.6%) this occurred before the age of 16 years.
Of Aboriginal young people, 33.4% of 15-year-olds and 43.9% of 16-year-olds had had sexual intercourse. (Comparable 1993 estimates for non-Aboriginal youth were 16.0% and 23.5%, respectively).

Associations with sexual experience: Independent of age, ever having had sexual intercourse was independently associated with having left school, drinking alcohol and using marijuana at least weekly.

Sexual knowledge: 73.9% of Aboriginal 12- to 17-year-olds had received information about how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, with school being the source most frequently reported, 62.6%.

Contraception: Of those who were sexually active, 70.1% relied on condoms to prevent pregnancy; this proportion declined with age and was lower (59.0%) in females.

Pregnancy: One in 10 girls had been pregnant at least once: 33.7% of 17-year-olds and 21.9% of 16-year-olds.

Emotional and behavioural wellbeing of Aboriginal young people

Emotional or behavioural difficulties: A Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) completed by carers indicated that 20.5% of Aboriginal young people were at high risk of clinically significant emotional or behavioural difficulties. (Compared with 7% of non-Aboriginals 12-17 years old).

Conduct difficulties: The greatest difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal SDQ scores related to conduct difficulties, with 31.4% of Aboriginal young people being at high risk of clinically significant conduct problems, compared with 13.1% of the non-Aboriginal sample.

Suicide attempts: Of the Aboriginal young people surveyed, 9.0% of females and 4.1% of males had attempted suicide in the past 12 months. A high SDQ score, low self-esteem, having friends who had attempted suicide, exposure to family violence, and exposure to racism, were each independently associated with suicidal ideation.

Source: The West Australian, 17/10/2005, p.11.
The WA Aboriginal Child Health Survey [viewed 25/01/2007].

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ADHD drug use, 2003/4

2003/2004 figures from the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) show:

  • Number of prescriptions dispensed in WA to people aged 20 and over: More than 40,000 (15% increase from the previous year).
  • The biggest adult users were in their 20s and 30s.
  • More than 18,600 scripts were written for 20- to 29-year-olds, compared with 5,700 in NSW and 2,040 in Victoria.

Source: West Australian, 16/2/2005, p.1.

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Some opinions of young people in WA, 2003

Some opinions of nearly 8,000 young people aged 12-25 years, from a survey carried out by the Western Australia Government in 2003:

  • Most were content with their lives and optimistic about the future.
  • 80% think they are healthy (89% in some country areas).
  • 92% of Perth young people considered that being smart was very important (75% in some country areas).
  • Most cared about what they ate and tried to do some physical activity.
  • Most rated being kind and having a good sense of humour as more important than being rich.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were far more concerned than other ethnic groups about "being tough and strong".
  • Young people in the traditionally heavy-drinking Goldfields perceived themselves as the least healthy.
Survey results will be examined in depth by the Youth Advisory Group, Office for Children and Youth.

Source: Sunday Times, 15/8/2004, p.29.

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Indigenous health, 2004

The following facts and stats are drawn from the Western Australian Aboriginal child health survey: The health of Aboriginal children and young people, which was published in June 2004. The survey investigated the health of 5,289 Western Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children.

Total Aboriginal population of Western Australia at 30 June 2001: 66,069 (estimated)
… or 3.5% of the State's population

Number aged under 18: 29,817
… as a percentage of the State's total Aboriginal population: 45%
… as a percentage of the State's general population for this age group: 6%

Number living in the Perth region: 10,200 (34%)
… living in areas of low – moderate isolation: 13,660 (46%)
… living in areas of high – extreme isolation: 6,000 (20%)

Number being cared for by both original parents: 13,900 (47%)
… by sole mothers: 9,220 (31%)

Care arrangements by age of child:

An estimated 11% of Aboriginal babies are born to mothers aged 17 or less (compared with 2% in the total population). 26% of mothers under 16 were not caring for their 0-3-year-olds at the time of the survey.

Four indicators of dietary quality were devised for the survey. 19% of children met all four indicators, 40% met three indicators and 32% met two.

40% of 12- to 17-year-olds had had fillings in their teeth, and children in the Perth metropolitan area were almost four times more likely to have had a filling than children in areas of extreme isolation.

14% of children aged 12–17 had recurring ear infections. 7% of all children aged 4-17 had abnormal hearing, which can lead problems with speech, language and general learning.

11% of 12- to 17-year-olds suffered from abnormal vision; the prevalence of this problem decreased as the level of relative isolation increased.

39% of 12- to 17-year-olds had seen a doctor and 9% had seen an Aboriginal Health Worker at least once in the six months before the survey. Comparable figures are 59% of all WA children aged 4-16 who had seen a doctor before the 1993 WA Child Health Survey.

Source: Telethon Institute for Child Health Research 2004, Summary booklet: The health of Aboriginal children and young people, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Perth - pdf available [viewed 25/01/2007]  from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research:

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Anti-depressant prescriptions, 2002-03

Age 2002 2003
10-14 3,644 4,689
15-19 18,246 20,502

Source: Health Insurance Commission quoted in Sunday Times (Perth), 16/05/04, p.9.

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Speeding, 2003

Speeding is the single most common traffic violation committed by young drivers in the initial years of driving.

Young Australian drivers aged 17-25 years have double the risk of all-age drivers for being involved in a fatal road accident. This is despite a 42% reduction in the fatality rate over the last 20 years.

In Western Australia, drivers aged 17-24 years represent 13.6% of the state's licensed drivers but account for 34% and 30.5% of driver deaths and hospitalisations respectively.

The risk of being involved in a casualty crash significantly increases for 17- to 19-year-olds if they have already committed a previous 'excessive' speeding offence.

A study was conducted by the University of Western Australia's Injury Research Centre (School of Population Health) in 2003. The researchers tracked 1,277 young West Australian drivers over 36 months of licensing, reviewing offences and demerit points accumulated at 12, 24 and 36 months after licensing.

The authors reported that:

  • 66% of the cohort incurred Traffic Infringement Notices for speeding within 36 months of licensing. Approximately 61% of offending drivers were 'repeat offenders' within this time.
  • The annual incidence rate of offending drivers per 10,000 licensing days significantly increased from year one to year two and was highest for all drivers (14.4), males (18.4) and females (14.4) in the second year of driving.
  • The annual incidence rate of offending drivers per 10,000 licensing days was highest for males compared with females. Males incurred their first speeding infringement substantially earlier than females.
  • The majority of speeding infringements were issued for exceeding the posted speed limit by 10-19 km/hour. Males incurred significantly more 'excessive' speeding infringements compared with females.
  • Over the 36 months, 94% of offending drivers accumulated one or more demerit points through speeding. The mean number of points lost per driver was 3.61. The mean number of demerit points lost by infringing drivers was highest in year two and significantly higher for males than females in each year of driving.
  • Four variables were found to be significantly and consistently predictive of speeding – male gender, a high disposition for risk-taking, high self-rated confidence and adventurousness as a driver, and the low level of practice of other health-related behaviours.
  • By 36 months after licensing, 61% of infringing drivers had incurred more than one speeding infringement. The risk of a repeat speeding offence was significantly higher for males, and drivers who were high in confidence–adventurousness and moderately to highly disposed to risk-taking.
  • There was no evidence to suggest that the penalties for speeding were likely to influence two of the identified risk factors for speeding (self-rated driving style and driver disposition for risk-taking) or the likelihood of a repeat offence by certain drivers.

Source: Injury Research Centre (University of Western Australia) 2003, A longitudinal investigation of psychosocial risk factors for speeding offences among young motor car drivers, Criminology Research Council, Griffith, ACT. Available online [viewed 25/01/2007] in pdf format: Criminology Research Council.

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