8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update, Dec 2012  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/01/2013   
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The Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia (cat. no. 8104.0) (BERD) collection, up until 2011, has been run as an in scope census, capturing the research and experimental development (R&D) of businesses who spent more than $100 000 on their R&D activities during the reference period. Due to the increased number of businesses meeting this threshold, the survey will be moving to a sampled survey for next year (2011-12 financial year). The forms will be despatched in early 2013, with the publication set for release in September 2013. The survey will also be moving to a biennial basis, with the next scheduled publication expected to cover the 2013-14 financial year and anticipated to be released in September 2015.

For the 2011-12 financial year, statistics for BERD using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classifications (ANZSRC) Fields of Research (FOR) and Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) will be collected at the division level (2 digit) only. Production of outputs at the group level (4 digit), will no longer be produced.

The Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) changes mentioned in the last edition of this newsletter have been implemented, and are therefore no longer published in a separate release. This year GERD estimates were published in an appendix to the 2012 release of the Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia (cat. no. 8104.0) collection (Gross Expenditure on R&D (Appendix))."

The 2011-12 Venture Capital and Later Stage Private Equity, Australia (cat. no. 5678.0) survey is now being conducted by the Innovation and Technology Statistics Branch in Perth. This survey was first conducted by the ABS in Canberra in respect of 1999-2000 and has been run on an annual basis. The survey is fully user funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. Venture capital and later stage private equity is high risk capital directed towards businesses with prospects of rapid growth and/or high rates of returns. It is an investment not only of money, but also of skills and time. The 2011-12 publication will be released on 14 February 2013. This publication presents information on both financial and non-financial contributions to venture capital and later stage private equity investments.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics' forward work program for 2012-13 to 2015-16 was released in July, 2012. This important document outlines the ABS' goals, strategies and key projects for the period, as well as highlighting current and emerging statistical priorities. In terms of Innovation and Technology statistics, the program has highlighted the five main outputs the I&T Branch is responsible for producing, including:

    • use of ICT by Australian businesses and households
    • internet activity conducted through the Australian Internet Service Provider industry
    • innovation activities undertaken within the Australian economy
    • research and experimental development undertaken by businesses, government, universities and private non-profit organisations
    • selected business characteristics data
As part of the outputs above, the I&T Branch is responsible for the creation and release of the Business Longitudinal Database Confidentialised Unit Record File (BLD CURF) of Australian business characteristics. This product, Microdata: Business Longitudinal Database, Australia, 2004-05 to 2009-10 (cat. no. 8168.0.55.001), is a specialised product for analytical purposes, providing a look at confidentialised, individual business data. The third release covering the period 2006-07 to 2010-11 (Panel 3) is planned for release on the 18th of June 2013.
    In addition to the outputs listed above, in 2012, the I&T Branch also became responsible for the collection and publication of the annual, user funded Venture Capital and Later Stage Private Equity Survey (Cat. 5678.0).

    More information is available in the Forward Work Program, 2012-13 to 2015-16 (cat. no. 1006.0).


    The Census is conducted every five years, but preparation for the Census begins long before that, with planning for the 2016 Census already well under way. As part of the ABS's goal of on-going improvement of statistical outputs, the ABS has released a consultation paper inviting Australians to comment on the proposals around content and procedures for the 17th national Census. While the paper addresses content for the entire Census, of particular interest to I&T users would be the section relating to 'Internet access', which is currently under review. With the rapidly changing ICT industry and the wide-spread use of the internet, for the 2016 Census the focus of the topic is moving from 'type of connection' to 'personal use of the internet' (e.g. voice over internet and teleconferencing, e-Health services, home-based work, accessing government services, buying or selling goods and services, entertainment, study-related activities, social networking and general browsing).

    Further information is available in the Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0).


    The ABS is continuously investing time and resources into the development of new products as technology improves and data requirements become more specific. As such, the ABS has developed ABS.Stat an interactive, free online tool that presents datasets in a searchable and dynamic way. Currently data is available on the ABS website in an excel, PDF or .zip format, but with the release of ABS.stat on the 14th of December, 2012, datasets can be viewed within the web browser and exported, or through a web service interface using Statistical Data and Metadata Standard (SDMX). This allows machine-to-machine mechanisms to access ABS data. Not only can datasets be viewed, but they can be customised and queried, as well as being able to view the associated metadata. This allows users to cut-down or expand datasets to their own requirements, as well as allowing them to explore related outputs.

    Users should note that not all datasets are currently available on ABS.stat. Internet Activity (cat. 8153.0) was one of the first datasets to be loaded and as development continues new datasets will continue to be added following their release on the ABS website. If users do find any issues, please email them to abs.stat@abs.gov.au.