8126.0 - Information and Communication Technology, Australia, 2002-03  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/09/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


1 This publication, Information and Communication Technology, 2002-03 presents results from a survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on the production and distribution of information and communication technologies (ICT) goods and services by businesses in Australia. Also included in this publication are:

  • import and export data compiled by the ABS from information submitted by exporters, importers or their agents to the Australian Customs Service. Exports include both exports of Australian produce and re-exports of goods of foreign origin; and
  • data from the ABS Survey of International Trade in Services.

2 The ICT industries survey is conducted biennially and is part of the overall ABS program of economy wide statistics.


3 The definition used for the scope of the ICT industries survey is based on a set of goods and services descriptions that are of relevance in the Australian context and which have been agreed by major policy and industry organisations. The scope for the 2002-03 ICT industries survey draws on, but is not identical to, the currently accepted Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ICT industries definition. The OECD ICT industries definition includes a wider range of commodities (goods and services) produced and, consequentially, industries involved in ICT activity.

4 Information in this publication covers the main industries involved in the production and distribution of ICT goods and services in Australia. This industry view draws together a number of standard industries from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) that specialise in ICT activity.

5 Within these industries, it is the subset of businesses which specialise in ICT which are the prime interest, and therefore the main focus of the statistics in this publication. The recorded media manufacturing and publishing industry (ANZSIC 2430) is included in a separate chapter of the publication, because it undertakes significant ICT activity in Australia, but is not within the wider OECD definition of industries.

6 The scope of the 2002-03 ICT industries survey was all employing businesses recorded on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) and classified to the following classes of ANZSIC:

  • Class 2841, Computer and business machine manufacturing;
  • Class 2842, Telecommunication, broadcasting and transceiving equipment manufacturing;
  • Class 2849, Electronic equipment manufacturing n.e.c.;
  • Class 2852, Electric cable and wire manufacturing;
  • Class 4613, Computer wholesaling;
  • Class 4614, Business machine wholesaling n.e.c.;
  • Class 4615, Electrical and electronic equipment wholesaling n.e.c.;
  • Class 7120, Telecommunication services;
  • Class 7831, Data processing services;
  • Class 7832, Information storage and retrieval services;
  • Class 7833, Computer maintenance services; and
  • Class 7834, Computer consultancy services.

7 The scope excludes businesses classified to the General Government sector but includes government owned Public Trading Enterprises. As noted above, Class 2430, Recorded media manufacturing and publishing is also included.


8 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. The units model is also used to break groups of related businesses into relatively homogeneous components that can provide data to the ABS.

9 In mid 2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System (TNTS), the ABS changed its economic statistics units model. The new units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations.


10 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the whole-of-government register of businesses, the Australian Business Register, which is maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. For these businesses, the ABS has aligned its statistical units structure with the ABN unit. The businesses with simple structures constitute the ATO maintained population, and the ABN unit is used as the statistical unit for all ABS economic collections.


11 For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the ABS maintained population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new statistical units model described below has been introduced to cover such businesses.

      Enterprise group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
      Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising:
      (i) a single legal entity or business entity, or
      (ii) more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the same institutional sub-sector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) sub-sector).
      Type of activity unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an enterprise group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items are available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.

12 For more information on the impacts of the introduction of the new economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from the New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).

13 The previous ICT industries survey conducted in respect of 2000-01, used the management unit as the statistical unit. For 2002-03, the statistical unit is the ABN unit for businesses with simple structures, and the TAU for businesses with complex structures. In most cases, ABN units/TAUs will concord with the management units used prior to the 2002-03 year; however, there are other changes to these units that make this concordance less robust. For more information about the impact of these changes, please see the Appendix.


14 The frame used for the ICT industries survey, like most ABS economic surveys, was taken from the ABSBR. The ABSBR is primarily based on registrations to the Australian Taxation Office's Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) scheme. The frame is updated quarterly to take account of new businesses and businesses which have ceased employing. Unlike the previous ICT industries survey (2000-01), the frame has not been supplemented in any way. There were approximately 30,600 businesses in scope of the ICT industries survey on the ABSBR in June 2003 when the survey sample was taken. The sample size was approximately 4,600 businesses.


15 Businesses which have ceased employing are identified when the Australian Taxation Office cancels their PAYGW registration. Businesses which did not remit under the PAYGW scheme for the previous five quarters are removed from the frame.

16 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected, and to which the adjustments apply, are small in size.

17 Adjustments have been made to include new businesses in the estimates in the periods in which they commenced operations, rather than when they were processed to the ABSBR.


18 Most data contained in the tables in this publication relate to ICT businesses which operated in Australia at any time during the year ended 30 June 2003. Counts of businesses however, include only those that were operating at 30 June 2003.


19 As noted above, the coverage for the ICT industries survey includes all employing businesses on the ABSBR that are classified to the in scope industries. The ANZSIC recorded for the business on the ABSBR is only used for the purposes of survey selection. An alternative ANZSIC based on sources of income reported on the survey form is derived for the purposes of output. This may result in differences between industry data published for the in scope industries in this publication and industry data that may be published in other ABS publications such as Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0).

20 The updating of the industry classification from the ANZSIC allocated to the selected unit on the ABSBR to an ANZSIC based on sources of income has an impact on data quality. Based on information received from businesses, approximately 18% of businesses selected were found to be out of scope of the ICT industries survey. A further 22% of businesses selected were still in scope but were found to belong to a different ANZSIC class within the ICT industry groupings. The impact of this on the estimates has been to increase the sampling variability. For more information about the impact of sampling variability on the estimates, please refer to the Technical Note.

21 No attempt is made to adjust for businesses on the ABSBR who are classified to an ANZSIC class not within the scope of the ICT industry survey but would be in scope based on their sources of income. The impact of this on estimates is unknown.


22 Businesses contributing to estimates in this publication are classified as either ICT specialists or non-specialists. This effects some businesses in industries in the ICT Manufacturing and Wholesale trade industry groupings only. Businesses in these industries are determined to be ICT specialists if more than 50 percent of their income is derived from ICT activity. Please refer to Glossary for definition of ICT specialists.


23 Annual industry data for the ANZSIC classes in scope of ICT industries survey are published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0) and Manufacturing Industry, Australia (cat. no. 8221.0). There are important differences between the statistics published in the Australian Industry, Manufacturing Industry, Australia and Information and Communication Technology publications and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between these estimates. The 2002-03 editions of Australian Industry and Manufacturing Industry, Australia are expected to be released in late 2004.

24 The Information and Communication Technology publication supplements the annual industry summary statistics with a detailed examination of the structure and performance of businesses involved in selected ICT industries for the reference year of the survey.

25 One reason the three sets of estimates vary relates to the use of different industry coding practices. For the Australian Industry and Manufacturing Industry, Australia publications, businesses are coded to ANZSIC industry classes on the basis of the activity reported to the ATO when they registered for an ABN, or for more complex businesses, information reported directly to the ABS (see paragraph 11). On the other hand, ICT Industries presents estimates for industry classes based on detailed income data reported in the survey.

26 Other differences in results relate to further scope and coverage variations between the three surveys. Non-employing units are included in the scope of the range of statistical collections that contribute to estimates published in Australian Industry, and the Manufacturing industry collection (from 2001-2002) but are generally excluded from the ICT industries survey.


27 Data were collected from the Australia-wide operations of each organisation. Businesses which operated in more than one State or Territory were asked to provide a dissection of total employment and wages and salaries to enable State and Territory statistics to be compiled and comparisons undertaken.


28 Due to changes arising from TNTS, data presented in this publication for 2002-03 are not directly comparable to data published for the 2000-01 ICT industries survey. For more information about the impact of this change on the data presented, see the Appendix.


29 For more information on this subject, see the Technical Note.


30 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is protected by the strict secrecy provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


31 The most recent issue of other ABS publications on the use and production of information and communication technologies in Australia are listed below:

      Business Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2002-03 (cat. no. 8129.0)
      Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2001-02 (cat. no. 8146.0)
      Government Information Technology, Australia, 2002-03 (cat. no. 8119.0)
      Internet Activity, Australia, March 2004 (cat. no. 8153.0)
      Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 2002-03 (cat. no. 8150.0)


32 The ABS will be compiling an ICT satellite account for the 2002-03 reference year. Data for input into the compilation of the ICT satellite account are being sourced from a number of ABS economic collections conducted in respect of 2002-03 including the ICT industries survey. The ICT satellite account is expected to be released in the ABS publication Australian National Accounts: Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account, 2002-03 (catalogue to be advised) during 2005.


33 The ABS will be producing estimates based on the OECD ICT industry definition early in 2005. To register your interest in these data, please telephone the contact shown on the front of this publication.


34 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


35 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items. Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in this publication have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.