1104.0 - CURF Microdata News, Feb 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2009   
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Note 31/03/2009: This product has been edited on 31 March 2009 to provide greater clarity on the Census Table Builder product.

Image: missing Jigsaw puzzle peiceIn this issueShort Cuts
Image: CURF logoNew CURF releases MiCRO - it's coming!
Changes to Consultant accessABS/Universities Australia Agreement

Image: missing Jigsaw puzzle peice In this Issue

2009 promises to be an exciting year for our CURF clients. Not only will a number of key files be released - including the National Health Survey CURF and the Business Longitudinal Database, but Census Table Builder will also be released mid year. Read more about releases in the New CURF releases article below, and on the List of Expected CURFs ABS web page.

We are also delighted to announce that universities now have unprecedented access to statistics through the new Universities Australia/ABS Agreement. As well as access to Basic CURFs on CD-ROM, and Basic and Expanded CURFs in RADL, participating universities may now access the ABS on-site Data Laboratory. The Data Lab is a great solution for researchers who want a more responsive and interactive environment than that offered by the RADL. Another important change is that for the first time, the Agreement permits access to CURFs for a range of commercial uses. See What's new in the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement below.

Finally, the ABS will progressively move to an on-line CURF application system from March. Many clients have asked for this in recent times and we are pleased to be able to provide it. Read more below in the MiCRO - its coming! article.

Kim Farley-Larmour
Director, ABS Microdata Access Strategies

Image: CURF logo New CURF releases

This part of the Newsletter provides information on recent and forthcoming CURF releases. Clients may also keep up to date with CURF releases by subscribing to our Email Notification Service or the ABS RSS Feed.

Microdata: Personal Fraud, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2007. Released: 27 January 2009

The first edition of this CURF contains summary results of the Personal Fraud Survey. Topics covered in the survey are identity fraud, including credit or bank card fraud and identity theft; and a selected range of scams: lotteries, pyramid schemes, phishing, financial advice, chain letters, advance fee fraud and other scams.

The publication includes information about the characteristics of the most recent incidents of personal frauds, and socio-demographic details of victims and non-victims.

As an Expanded CURF it is only available through the RADL.

Microdata: Multipurpose Household Survey, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2007-08. Released: 27 January 2009

This CURF from the 2007-2008 Multipurpose Household Survey provides statistics on two topics: Household Use of Information Technology, and Environmental Views and Behaviour.

As an Expanded CURF it is only available through the RADL.

Microdata: Mental Health and Wellbeing, Basic and Expanded CURF, Australia, 2007. Indicative release: 20 March 2009

The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing CURFs contain confidentialised data about each selected person and the household to which they belong. Data is also available based on diagnosis, mental health condition, and consultations for mental health (service use).

Microdata: Employee Earnings and Hours, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2006. Indicative release: March/April 2009

The survey was designed to provide statistics on the composition and distribution of earnings and hours of employees and whether their pay is set by award, collective agreement or individual agreement. Distribution and composition of average weekly earnings and hours of employees is classified by sex, adult/junior, full-time/part-time, managerial/non-managerial, industry, State/Territory, sector (private/government), employer unit size and composition of earnings and hours paid for.

Microdata: Child Education and Care Survey, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2008. Indicative release: June 2009

This CURF presents information on children aged 0-12 years and their families. Information was collected about the use of formal and informal care, requirements for additional preschool/kindergarten or formal care, patterns of child care attendance, child care costs, the use of the child care benefit, working arrangements used by parents to help care for their children and parental income.

The CURF also presents characteristics of children aged 0-8 in their early learning years through the collection of information about the types of formal, non-formal and informal learning activities they engage in and the environments in which these activities take place. Information is also collected about patterns of attendance at preschool/kindergarten and school, including historical and usual attendance, and frequency of attendance.

Microdata: National Health Survey, Basic and Expanded CURF, Australia, 2007-08. Indicative release: July 2009

The 2007/08 National Health Survey (NHS) is the third in the series of regular triennial health surveys conducted under the partnership arrangements between the ABS and the Department of Health and Aging (DoHA).

Both the Basic and Expanded CURF's will contain information about:

  • the health status of the population, including long term medical conditions experienced;
  • health–related aspects of people's lifestyle, such as smoking, exercise and alcohol consumption;
  • use of health services such as consultations with doctors and other health professionals and other actions people have recently taken for their health; and
  • certain demographic and socio–economic characteristics.

Microdata: Business Longitudinal Database (previously known as A Profile of Australian Businesses), Expanded CURF, Australia, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07. Indicative release: July 2009

The aim of Business Longitudinal Database is to facilitate micro level analysis for a panel (cohort) of small and medium businesses over time, and it includes both characteristics and financial data. A new wave of businesses is added each year and each wave is surveyed for five years.

The Business Longitudinal Database Expanded CURF will be available through the RADL.

Changes to Consultant CURF application process

ABS has simplified the process for those who apply to use CURFs within a consultancy to another organisation. We have also simplified the process for the organisation employing the Consultant. Until now, organisations using Consultants were required to provide the ABS with a letter of introduction for each Consultant and to take responsibility for the Consultant's use of CURF Microdata. This requirement will no longer be necessary.

In the future ABS will manage Consultants in much the same way it manages other CURF users. This will include legal responsibility for use of the CURF lying with the Consultant's home organisation rather than the sponsoring organisation.

As a Consultant:
  • Your own organisation's chief executive officer will act as CURF Responsible Officer for your use of the CURF.
  • Your own organisation will usually pay for access to the CURF.
  • The Consultancy project fee will be dropped.
  • Your CURF application form will:
    • describe the nature of the consultancy within the Statistical Purpose and Expected Outcomes and Outputs
    • identify the organisation for which you are completing the consultancy, and
    • name the staff of that organisation who will manage the consultancy and/or receive your statistical outputs.

The organisation for which you are completing the consultancy will also need to be approved by ABS to access the CURF. This ensures that any Microdata based discussions you might have with them are in no danger of breaching ABS conditions of CURF access.

Short Cuts

Short Cuts is a new regular feature highlighting tips and reminders for CURF users and Contact Officers.

In this issue we provide a reminder for CURF Contact Officers:
  • Don't give the Master copy of a CURF CD-ROM to CURF users. The Master copy sent to you by the ABS should be retained by the Contact Officer and kept in secure location.
  • Do provide CURF users with either a copy of the Master CD-ROM or, access via a secure network location.

We encourage all CURF users and Contact Officers to revisit the Responsible Access to ABS CURFs Training Manual.

MiCRO - it's coming!

MiCRO: new on-line CURF application system

Production of an on-line CURF application system, MiCRO, has nearly finished. We are currently undertaking final testing of the system, which will be released to clients progressively from March 2009. We will email Contact Officers to let them know about the roll-out in their state or territory as it occurs.

So what will MiCRO do?

MiCRO will allow you to apply for CURFs on-line. It will provide a record of which CURFs you are currently approved to access and for what statistical purposes. Contact Officers will be able to manage CURFs in their organisation, verify new CURF applications before sending them electronically to the ABS and deactivate CURF users as they leave the organisation. With the application process going electronic there will no longer be any paper REQ1 forms to fill out and sign, thereby saving you time and paper.

If you would like more information about MiCRO please email microdata.access@abs.gov.au.

What's new in the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement

Permitted Commercial Uses

Traditionally the Agreement has allowed only uses for the purposes of teaching and research. However, ABS and Universities Australia are committed to facilitating broader use of data in the university sector and are pleased to announce that some commercial use is now available under the new Agreement.

Permitted Commercial Use includes:
  • Consultancy services for a third party, based on CURFs or use of Census Table Builder
  • Statistical and other reports and publications produced from CURFs or from use of Census Table Builder
  • Teaching materials developed from CURFs or from use of Census Table Builder

ABSDL: high-end data analysis

The ABSDL is the data analysis solution for high-end data users who want to extract full value from CURF microdata. It offers a richer and more interactive experience of the data than is possible in the ABS Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and is available in ABS Offices in each state and territory. Under the Agreement each Data Lab user can access a CURF from the ABS List of Available CURFs, one of the standard analysis tools (SAS, SPSS or Stata), and is entitled to three half-day user sessions.

As a researcher conducting high-end data analysis, you are encouraged to utilise this exciting new addition to the Agreement. As an added benefit, production of a Specialist CURF tailored to your data requirements, and/or the loading of a statistical analysis package other than SAS, SPSS or Stata, is available on a cost recovery basis.

Census Table Builder

Census Table Builder is an interactive, web based product currently under development by the ABS and Space-Time Research. This product will enable you to build Census tables by remotely interrogating 100% of 2006 Census Unit Record Files. Census Table Builder will provide full graphing and mapping functionality, and is expected to be released mid 2009.

Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Databases

While this was included in the 2009 Agreement it is timely to remind clients of their access to Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) data via the Universities Australia Agreement. LIS is a cross-national data archive that includes income microdata from more than 30 countries, including Australia, at multiple points in time. The LIS Databases also includes labour market and demographic data. It is an important source of information for researchers involved in international comparative studies.

New Zealand Basic CURFs

SNZ Basic CURFs are usually unavailable to users outside New Zealand. With the new Agreement, SNZ Basic CURFs will now be made available to Australian university researchers.

The Bottom Line

Universities Australia has paid for access to on behalf of participating universities. As a staff member or student, you will not be invoiced for use of the products and services covered under the Agreement.

Find out more

Currently thirty-five Australian universities participate in the Agreement. For a list of these and more information about the products and services provided by the Agreement see the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement web page.