1104.0 - CURF Microdata News, Nov 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2008   
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Image: missing Jigsaw puzzle peiceIn this issueChange to CURF prices
Image: CURF logoNew CURF releases Image: Person with thumb upCURF tool kit survey results
What are typical Outcomes and Outputs from CURF use?Reissue vs New Edition
Changing your Statistical PurposeCURF remediation project
What are CURF Special Conditions?ABS Christmas shutdown - no manual clearance in RADL...

Image: missing Jigsaw puzzle peice In this Issue

This issue of CURF Microdata News covers a lot of territory: with news about recent and forthcoming CURF releases; a reminder to advise ABS if you propose to use a CURF for a statistical purpose other than the one for which your access was originally approved, and advice about CURFs with special conditions of use.

Other news is that the CURF price will increase from $1,320 to $1,430 from 1 January 2009. This is the first price increase since 2006. Read more below.

Finally, I wish all our CURF users, Contact Officers and Responsible Officers a safe and happy holiday season.

Kim Farley-Larmour
Director, ABS Microdata Access Strategies

Image: CURF logo New CURF releases

Household Expenditure Survey (1988-89) Second Edition. Released September 2008

The second edition of this CURF includes a new variable indicating State/Territory of residence. This has been added to allow clients to analyse income and expenditure data by State/Territory over time. The 1988-89 CURF was the only HES CURF from 1984 onwards that did not include this data item. Identifier names have also been changed to comply with current standards.

It is also possible that the version of the 1988-89 HES CURF you currently hold does not include the data items produced in the Fiscal Incidence Study. This study used HES data in conjunction with government finance and national accounts data to calculate the effects of government benefits and taxes on household income. These items were previously released on a separate file but have been incorporated in this new second edition of the HES CURF.

For more information about content and use of the HES (1988-89) Second Edition CURF see Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Technical Paper, 1988-89 (Cat. no 6544.0).

Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (2007) Expanded CURF. Released 18 November 2008

This CURF contains data from the Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS). SEARS is a household survey conducted throughout Australia between April and July 2007. The survey provides information on employment arrangements in the Australian workforce (e.g. job duration, access to paid leave, hours worked and work patterns), work and caring responsibilities, plans that people have for retirement, and saving for retirement through superannuation.

The Expanded CURF is only available through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL). An information paper explaining data content, technical details and conditions of use will be made available on the ABS website and via the 'Information by' link on the RADL home page.

Child Care Survey 2005. Reissue. Released 19 November 2008

The 2005 Child Care CURF consists of approximately 10,228 unidentified individual child level statistical records containing data on children aged 0–12 years in families living in private dwellings (6,630 families at the income unit level). The data include information about the use of, and demand for, child care for children aged 0–12 years. Information collected in the survey includes children' and families' use of formal and informal care and preschool, the weekly cost of care, the use of care by the child and family, and the income, labour force status, hours worked and flexible work arrangements of parents.

The 2005 Child Care CURF is only available as an Expanded File in the RADL. For more information about the content of the 2005 Child Care Expanded CURF see Child Care, Australia, Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File, Technical Manual (Cat. no 4402.0.55.002).

Multipurpose Household Survey, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2007-08. Indicative release 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.

The Expanded CURF is only available through the RADL. An information paper explaining data content, technical details and conditions of use will be made available on the ABS web site and via the 'Information by' link on the RADL home page.

Census Table Builder. Indicative release, early 2009

This product will enable registered users to build Census tables with full graphing and mapping functionality by remotely interrogating 100% of either the 2001 or 2006 Census Unit Record Files. See the Census Table Builder Product Brief for more information.

What are typical Outcomes and Outputs from CURF use?

Along with a detailed statistical purpose, applicants for access to CURF Microdata are required to list their expected outputs. For more information and guidance on this, please see FAQ - What are typical Outcomes and Outputs from CURF use?

Changing your Statistical Purpose

Users are reminded that ABS grants access to a CURF for the specific statistical purpose submitted by the user in their CURF application. If you wish to use the CURF for a different statistical purpose other than the one specified your REQ1 form, you must submit a new REQ1 form outlining the CURF you will be using and the new Statistical Purpose and Outcomes.

This requirement is one of the conditions to which users must agree when they sign the CURF Individual Undertaking. Specifically, the Undertaking states that the user will "use the information only for statistical purposes specified in the Request for Access to a CURF to which that information relates".

If you wish to check you current use against your approved use please contact your CURF Contact Officer or ABS Microdata Access. The CURF Contacts page provides contact details.

What are CURF Special Conditions?

Special conditions of use apply to some CURFs. This means that when applying for these CURFs, both the organisation's Responsible Officer and each Individual User must "sign off" against these special conditions before access can be granted.

CURFs with special conditions of use are:

Australians' Employment and Unemployment Patterns (1994-97) Basic and Expanded CURF
Family Characteristics Survey (2003) Expanded CURF
Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing (2003-04) Third Edition Basic and Expanded CURF
Income and Housing (2005-06) Expanded CURF
Innovation in Australian Business (2003) Expanded CURF
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health Survey (2004-05) Expanded CURF
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Social Survey (2002) Expanded CURF

When applying for these CURFs please ensure you have complete the Special Conditions forms that can be found on the CURFs with Special Conditions page on the ABS web site.
Change to CURF prices

CURFs are priced in accordance with ABS Pricing Policy and Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines. The price covers costs incurred in providing access to CURFs.

ABS reviewed the CURF price in 2006 and has again reviewed the price in 2008. Following this review ABS has retained the pricing structure which sees the CURF price charged per organisation rather than per person. Likewise, ABS will not charge a renewal fee for CURF access nor charge for providing access to a CURF for additional users in an organisation.

The following prices will apply from 1 January 2009:

CURF Access TypeCurrent price (inc GST)New Price (inc GST)
Basic or Expanded CURF$1,320$1,430
Basic and Expanded CURF purchased concurrently$1,980$2,140

Image: Person with thumb up CURF tool kit survey results

Prior to the release of the CURF tool kits (Microdata News August 2008) a survey of Contact Officers and CURF users was conducted to gauge the effectiveness of our new tool kits. Preliminary results of the survey include:
  • Over half (57%) of respondents identified themselves as 'Individual Users' with 71% of these clients believing the Tool Kit provided them with the information needed for their role.
  • All (100%) of the Individual Users believe that the Individual User Tool Kit will assist them in their role with 86% rating the look and feel of the Individual User Tool Kit as 'very good' or 'good'.
  • All of the Contact Officer respondents believed that the Contact Officer Tool Kit would provide them with the information needed to undertake their role and comments were positive.
  • The most common way of accessing the CURF web pages was 'from a bookmark that links to the CURF Microdata Entry Page' (40%). 'Via a link from the ABS Home page', 'Via a link from somewhere else on the ABS Website' and 'Other' each had 20% of respondents using these method. 'Other' methods included typing 'CURF access' 'ABS CURF' in the search bar.
  • 60% of users stated the best way to inform them of changes to the CURF Web pages was 'By providing information in the CURF Microdata News'. An additional 30% would like some form of email notification to alert them to the changes.

Thanks to all those who responded to the survey. Your input is invaluable. Please note that you can still respond by accessing the On-line Survey on the ABS CURF Microdata Web pages. Reissues vs New Editions

Recently we have received some question from Contact Officers regarding new editions and reissues of CURFs. To help sort this out we explain the difference between a Reissue and a New Edition below.


Products are 'reissued' to correct errors in previously released versions.

When a CURF is reissued the ABS will organise for a replacement CD-ROM with the corrected dataset to be sent to each of the Contact Officers who hold the previous version of the CURF. All approved users of the CURF will be notified by email that the CURF is being reissued. This reissued CURF will not need to be purchased and previously approved users will not need to apply for access.

New Editions

ABS products are published in separate editions in order to alert clients to changes in their content. In order to ensure one edition is readily distinguishable from another, each will have an edition statement added to the title.

When a new edition of a CURF is released the CURF will be advertised on the ABS website through the Release Advice and the List of Expected CURFs page - as are all new CURFs. Those wishing to use the new edition will need to submit an application and will require approval from the ABS before access is given. Access to the new editions is subject to regular CURF pricing.

CURF remediation project

The ABS has agreed to a new standard for titling CURFs. All new CURFs being released will now be titled in the following manner:

Microdata: <CURF Title>, <Format>, <Geography>, <Reference period>

For example, the Microdata: Multipurpose Household Survey, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2007-08, which is expected to be released on 27 January 2009. Use of the pre-title element, 'Microdata', will help you easily identify the CURFs in lists of all ABS product types. All previously released CURF titles will be amended to conform with the new standard in due course.

ABS Christmas shutdown - no manual clearance in RADL...

The ABS will be closed for the period 25 December to 1 January 2008. Clients will continue to receive RADL automatic output clearance but no manual clearance service will be available.

If the lack of availability for manual clearance will cause serious difficulties during this period please do not hesitate to contact the RADL Administrator at <radl@abs.gov.au>