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4430.0.00.001 - Information Paper: Disability, Ageing and Carers, Basic CURF, Australia, 2009 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/05/2011  Ceased
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Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA). This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs can be found at the 'How is CURF data confidentialised?' page.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


Microdata from the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) are available as a Basic CURF. The CURF contains information about a range of indicators which measure the prevalence of disability in Australia and provides information about people who provide care to older people and people with disabilities. Information on the support that people need due to disability or old age is also collected, as well as demographic, socio-economic and employment characteristics.

The level of detail provided for selected data items are:

Data ItemBasic CURF
AgeSingle years: 0–14;
5 year groups: 15–84;
85 years and over.
State or Territory of usual residenceNew South Wales;
South Australia;
Western Australia;
Northern Territory;
Australian Capital Territory.
Disability StatusHas disability and profoundly limited in core activities;
Has disability and severely limited in core activities;
Has disability and moderately limited in core activities;
Has disability and mildly limited in core activities;
Has disability and not limited in core activities but restricted in schooling or employment;
Has disability and not limited in core activities, or restricted in schooling or employment;
Has a long-term health condition without disability;
No long-term health condition or disability.
Carer StatusNot applicable;
Primary carer and other carer;
Primary carer only;
Other carer, including unconfirmed primary carer;
Not a carer.


The most recent Survey of Disability Ageing and Carers was conducted throughout Australia from April to December 2009. The ABS has been conducting similar surveys on a five to seven year basis since 1981. The next SDAC CURF is expected to be released in 2014 based on the survey to be conducted during 2012.


The 2009 SDAC Basic CURF contains a set of confidentialised records obtained from the 2009 SDAC. The files are arranged in a hierarchy made up of the following 10 levels:
  1. Household
  2. Family
  3. Income Unit
  4. Person
  5. All conditions
  6. Restrictions
  7. Specific Activities
  8. All recipients
  9. Broad Activities
  10. Providers of assistance

The first four levels are in a hierarchical relationship: a person is a member of an income unit, which is a member of a family, which is a member of a household. Levels five to nine are in a hierarchical relationship (i.e. a person can have more than one condition) with the person level, and level ten is in a hierarchical relationship with level nine. All person and lower level records link to a household, family and income unit record; however, lower level records only exist where the person is in the relevant population.

The CURF generally contains finer levels of detail of data items than what is otherwise published in other formats, for example, in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0). For more information on the level of detail provided in the CURF, please see the associated data item listing.

Steps to confidentialise the data made available on the CURF are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents selected in the survey. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the CURF with other published statistics.

For more information on the survey methodology see Information Paper: Disability, Ageing and Carers, Basic CURF, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0.00.001).


Results from the two previous household surveys on this topic were published in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003 (cat. no. 4430.0) and Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 1998 (cat. no. 4430.0). Data from the first three disability surveys (1981, 1988 and 1993) can be obtained by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Much of the content of the six disability surveys conducted by the ABS in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2009 is comparable. There are differences however, as later surveys have attempted to obtain better coverage of disability, specific tasks and activities previously considered too sensitive for a population survey and identification of primary carers. For the 2003 survey, the inclusion of questions relating to unmet need for and receipt of assistance with cognition or emotion provided a better perspective on assistance needs and requirements for both physical and psychological needs. Further enhancements to measuring unmet need were added in the 2009 survey.

The Explanatory Notes section of Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0) provides more detailed information on the differences between the ABS disability surveys over time.


The Information Paper: Disability, Ageing and Carers, Basic CURF, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0.00.001) is a key reference document when using the CURF. It includes survey objectives, methods and design; survey content; data quality and interpretation; output data items; and information about the availability of results; comparability with previous surveys; and the content of the CURF file. Further information can also be found in the Explanatory Notes section of Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0).


CURF microdata are not available to the public without special access being granted. All CURF users are required to read and abide by the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs. Application to access a particular CURF can be completed and submitted for approval by following the step-by-step guide at the How to apply for Microdata web page. A full list of available CURFs can be viewed via the Expected and available Microdata

The 2009 SDAC Basic CURF can be accessed on CD-ROM, in addition to being accessed through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and the ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL).

More detail regarding types and modes of access to CURFs can be found on the CURF Access Modes and Levels of Detail web page.

Any questions regarding access to CURF Microdata can be forwarded to the Microdata Access Strategies Section at <> or phone (02) 6252 7714.

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