8698.0 - Waste Management Services, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/06/2011   
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1 This publication presents estimates of the financial performance of waste management services businesses/organisations for 2009-10. It also provides information on waste facilities operated, waste activities undertaken, quantities of waste received and processed and factors hampering resource recovery. Estimates were produced from directly collected data from the Waste Management Services Survey, comprising the Economic Activity Survey (EAS) and Local Government Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


2 The scope of the collection consisted of all employing and significant non-employing private and public trading sector businesses and organisations on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) classified to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) Subdivision 29 - Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services. ANZSIC Subdivision 29 consists of the following classes:
  • 2911 Solid Waste Collection Services: This class consists of units mainly engaged in the collection and haulage (except long distance) of domestic, commercial or industrial solid waste (except through sewerage systems). This class also includes units who provide portable toilets, bins and other receptacles for hire to clients as part of a waste collection service
  • 2919 Other Waste Collection Services: This class consists of units mainly engaged in the collection and haulage (except long distance) of domestic, commercial or industrial liquid waste and other waste types (except through sewerage systems)
  • 2921 Waste Treatment and Disposal Services: This class consists of units mainly engaged in the treatment or disposal of solid, liquid and other waste types (including hazardous). Also, included are units mainly engaged in operating landfills, combustors, incinerators, compost dumps and other treatment facilities (except sewage treatment facilities), including waste transfer stations
  • 2922 Waste Remediation and Materials Recovery Services: This class consists of units mainly engaged in the remediation and clean up of contaminated buildings and mine sites, mine reclamation activities, removal of hazardous material such as asbestos and lead paint and other toxic material abatement. This class also includes units mainly engaged in providing materials recovery and sorting services

3 The survey scope also included the waste management activities of the general government sector. The general government sector in this survey mainly comprised local government administration units (ANZSIC class 7530) and units in ANZSIC subdivision 29 classified to Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) 3000 (General Government).

4 There are businesses with substantial waste activity that were out of scope of this collection since their primary activity is in a different industry. This includes waste collection, transport, recovery, recycling and reprocessing activity undertaken by businesses whose primary activity is manufacturing (ANZSIC Division C) and landfills operated by businesses whose primary activity is mining (ANZSIC Division B). Note that the amount of waste activity that is out of scope will vary between states/territories.

5 The survey included businesses coded to ANZSIC classifications in scope for the Waste Management Services Survey, even if these businesses did not undertake any waste management activity during the period between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2010. A number of businesses in the private and public trading sector reported having no waste management activity. This may have been due to businesses changing primary activity or being incorrectly coded to the ANZSIC classification. As these reporting businesses represent other businesses in the population (17% of all private and public trading sector businesses), they contribute to financial estimates and business counts in the Waste Management Services Survey.


6 The period covered by the collection was, in general, the 12 months ended 30 June 2010. Where businesses are unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than those relating to employment and the number of facilities operated. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended June in the relevant year.

7 Although financial estimates relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2010. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person employed may have been affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period. In addition, the number of waste management facilities operated were reported as at 30 June 2010.

8 Financial data incorporate all units in scope of the Waste Management Services Survey that were in operation at any time during the year. They also include any temporarily inactive units, i.e. those units which were in the development stage or which were not in operation, but which still existed and held assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).


9 The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified:

10 This section discusses frame, statistical units, coverage issues and improvements to coverage.


11 Businesses contributing to the estimates in this publication were sourced from the ABSBR, which has two components as described below.

Statistical units

12 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses/organisations, and the structural relationships between related businesses/organisations. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

13 In mid 2002, the ABS commenced sourcing its register information from the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Australian Business Register (ABR) and at that time changed its business register to a two population model. The two populations comprise what are called the Profiled Population and the Non-Profiled Population. The main distinction between businesses in the two populations relates to the complexity of the business structure and the degree of intervention required to reflect the business structure for statistical purposes.

Non-Profiled Population

14 The majority of businesses and organisations included on the ABSBR are in the Non-Profiled Population. Most of these are understood to have simple structures. For these businesses and organisations, the ABS is able to use the Australian Business Number (ABN) as the basis for a statistical unit. One ABN equates to one statistical unit.

Profiled Population

15 For a small number of businesses and organisations, the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS economic statistics purposes and the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with businesses. These businesses constitute the profiled population. This population consists typically of large or complex groups of businesses. The statistical units model below caters for 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:
      • a single legal entity or business entity, or
      • more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the same institutional subsector (i.e. they are all classified to a single SISCA subsector).
  • 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 is 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.

16 The statistical unit for which statistics were reported in this publication was the TAU or ABN.

Coverage issues

17 The ANZSIC-based industry statistics presented in this publication are compiled as follows: each ABN unit or TAU on the ABSBR has been classified (by the ATO and the ABS respectively) to its single predominant industry class irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken. However, for the general government sector, the statistical unit was required to report in respect of only those activities associated with the provision of waste management services.

18 The ABS attempts to obtain data for those businesses selected for direct collection and which ceased operation during the year, but it is not possible to obtain data for all of them.

Improvements to coverage

19 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses/organisations 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. As an example, the effect of these adjustments is generally 2.2% or less for ANZSIC subdivision 29 and for most states and territories.

20 Adjustments have been made to include new businesses/organisations in the estimates in the period in which they commenced operations, rather than when they were processed to the ABSBR.

21 For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).


22 Selected key terms are described below.

Waste management facilities and activities

23 Waste management facilities included any facility involved in the disposal, transfer or recovery of waste. To avoid double counting, facilities that were owned but not operated by the organisation were excluded. An organisation may have been involved in a waste management activity without directly operating a facility, so there is not a direct relationship between data in Tables 13 and 14 and data in Table 15.

Waste transferred

24 Waste received at a facility by one business/organisation may have been transferred to other facilities or businesses/organisations for reprocessing or disposal. To avoid double counting, data on transfers for reprocessing were not used in the calculation of recovery rates in Table 18 or diversion rates in Table 20. Waste that was transferred for reprocessing or disposal may have been sent to businesses/organisations that were out of scope of this collection.

No waste stream/source type provided

25 Tables 16 and 19 contain categories for 'no source type provided' and 'no waste stream provided' that were not asked directly on the questionnaire. Some respondents were unable to provide a breakdown for the source type or waste stream, either providing only one of the breakdowns or only a total. The 'no source type provided' and 'no waste stream provided' categories were created during editing of the survey in order to classify these responses and show the difficulty respondents had in reporting this information.


26 The following information provides additional context to assist with interpretation of data.

Comparisons of financial data across sectors

27 In this collection, financial data for the general government sector relates only to waste management activities whereas financial data for the private and public trading sector includes all activity these businesses were engaged in including activities outside of ANZSIC subdivision 29. Therefore the financial items are not comparable between sectors.

General government sector revenue from rates, charges, levies, fines and licenses

28 For units in the general government sector, data was collected for revenue from rates, charges, levies, fines and licenses related to waste management activities. Some general government sector units were unable to separately report this item, where there was no specific waste component of the total rates, resulting in waste expenses being covered by general revenue. For general government sector organisations, where total expenses on waste management activities exceeded 120% of income related to waste management activities, an adjustment factor was applied to the data so that income was equal to expenses. This adjustment affected approximately 25% of general government sector units.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) levy expenses

29 Levies for waste disposal are paid to state/territory EPAs by landfills in regulated areas. However such levies do not apply at all landfills, or in all states/territories.

Quantities of material

30 For the purposes of this survey, quantities of material were reported in tonnes. As different types of waste have different densities care should be taken when comparing waste quantities of different waste types.

31 Due to variations in the type, quality and market value of material recovered, there is no direct relationship between income from sales of recyclable/recoverable material and quantities of recyclable material recovered/reprocessed.


32 The frame from which the direct collect sample was selected was stratified using information held on the ABSBR. Businesses eligible for selection in the direct collect sample were then selected from the frame using stratified random sampling techniques.

33 Businesses were selected to participate in the survey (the direct collect sample) only if their turnover exceeded a threshold level, or the business was identified as being an employing business (based on ATO information), as at the end of the reference period. Turnover thresholds were set for each ANZSIC class so that the contribution of surveyed businesses accounted for 97.5% of total industry class turnover as determined by Business Activity Statement data (refer to Technical Note 1 Estimation Methodology for further information). A sample of 867 businesses/organisations (561 private and public trading sector businesses and 306 general government sector organisations) was selected for the directly collected part of the 2009-10 Waste Management Services Survey. Each business/organisation was asked to provide data sourced from financial and operational statements, through mail out questionnaires. Businesses/organisations were also asked to supply key details of their operations by state/territory, enabling production of state/territory estimates.


34 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.

35 Proportions and 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.


36 A range of further information is available, as described below.

Related publications

37 The following ABS publication presents economic and financial performance of Australian industry. Refer to Technical Note 2 Data Quality for further information on data comparability.
38 Data from previous waste management collections were released in the following publications. This 2009-10 survey was not designed to support accurate estimates of change over time. There have been major changes in the statistical units, frame, scope, industry classification and estimation methodology between the three Waste Management Services Surveys. Refer to Technical Note 2 Data Quality for further information on historical comparisons.
Other information available

39 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

40 Apart from the statistics included in this publication and its associated spreadsheets, no further data from the Waste Management Services Survey will be available on request.

41 Inquiries on ABS products should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


42 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 treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Use of ATO data in this publication

43 The results of these studies are based, in part, on tax data supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, which requires that such data are only used for statistical purposes. No individual information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 is provided back to the ATO for administrative or regulatory purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements.