This paper explores deficits in data collection and reporting on Australia’s cultural diversity. The 1999 ABS Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity established a number of variables. In practice, ‘country of birth’ is the most common and often the only variable collected.

The paper identifies the impact of these data deficits in administrative and survey data, and in social, health and medical research.

The paper makes recommendations, including a call for the Australian Government to establish a high level national expert working group to develop recommendations as to how national and jurisdictional data collection and reporting on cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity can be more consistent, complete and useful.

COVID-19 permitting, FECCA plans to convene a national symposium  of experts and key stakeholders to further explore these issues.

We welcome any comments on the paper to