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8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update (Newsletter), Dec 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/12/2005   
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2 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) STATISTICS

2.1 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Reference Group
2.2 Household use of Information Technology
2.3 Use of Information Technology by Households in Queensland
2.4 Business Use of Information Technology
2.5 Small Business Use of Information Technology
2.6 Farm use of Information Technology
2.7 Internet activity
2.8 ICT satellite account

2.1 Information and communication technology (ICT) reference group

The ABS established an ICT reference group in early 2004 involving government, industry, academic and community representatives. The aim of the reference group is to improve the usefulness of ICT statistics in Australia from a variety of sources. The reference group provides a high level forum for understanding, improving and developing ICT statistics, providing members with the opportunity to discuss and consider strategies to address ICT statistical issues.


The most recent meeting was held on the 11th October 2005 and issues discussed included:

  • Information on the National Data Network (NDN). The NDN is a national platform for acquiring, sharing and integrating data relevant to policy and research. It will link and share data so that the best use can be made of our national information resources without compromising standards of privacy and intellectual property.
  • Developments regarding the ICT Information Development Plan (IDP) which will take a lower priority for 12 months while resources are allocated to Innovation statistical developments. However a preliminary draft has been prepared and a watching brief will be maintained on major inputs including key policy drivers.
  • Broadband definitions and monitoring were discussed. Currently, the ABS defines Broadband as an 'always on' Internet connection with access speeds of 256 kilobits per second (kbps) or above.
  • Technology of possible upcoming interest including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which is reportedly experiencing high growth worldwide.
  • An Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy (IBCS) for the collection of business characteristics data was presented. The strategy focusses on capturing business characteristics data through, initially, the integration of two existing ABS surveys, the Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) survey and the Innovation Survey. The longer term strategy is to integrate other characteristics data.

2.2 Household use of Information Technology

The publication Household Use of Information Technology, Australia 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8146.0) was released on 15 December 2005.
Data was collected on the ABS Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) for 2004-05, which covers a proportion of the households in the ABS Monthly Population Survey. The MPHS will be conducted on an annual basis and will serve as a stable collection vehicle for the Household use of IT data. The survey has a sample size of approximately 13,500 households.


2.3 Use of Information Technology by Households in Queensland, (ABS cat. no. 8146.3) publication was released on 30 November 2005. The statistics in this publication were compiled from four different national surveys, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) between 1998 and 2003. Information was obtained about the access and use of computers and the Internet by private households via the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Population Survey Monitor; 2001 Survey of Education, Training and Information Technology; 2002 General Social Survey; and the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Statistical Consultancy Unit on Brisbane (07) 3222 6012.


2.4 Business Use of Information Technology

The most recent
Business Use of Information Technology, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8129.0) publication was released on 17 March 2005 and presents the results of the survey conducted in respect of 2003-04.

2.5 Small Business Use of Information Technology

The publication Characteristics of Small Business, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8127.0) was released on 28 April 2005. This publication presents the results of the Characteristics of Small Business Operators Survey which was conducted in June 2004 as a supplementary topic in the ABS Monthly Population Survey.

2.6 Farm use of Information Technology

The ABS publication
Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8150.0) was released on 28 November 2005. This publication presents statistics on the use of computers and the Internet on farms in Australia. The data were obtained from questions included in the 2003-04 Agricultural Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Information obtained was in respect of the year ended 30 June 2004. Comparative data from the 2002-03 Agricultural Survey have also been included.

Findings from the latest publication include:

  • In 2003-04, 55% (72,342 ) of the 130,526 Australian farms with an estimated value of agriculture earnings (EVAO) of $5,000 or more used a computer and 47% (or 61,082 ) used the Internet as part of their business operations. Both computer and Internet usage rates have increased by 1 percentage point from 2002-03.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact Nick Deverson, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth WA 6842, or phone Perth (08) 9360 5323, or email nick.deverson@abs.gov.au.

2.7 Internet activity

Review of the Internet Activity Survey

The ABS had previously notified users of this data of a reduction in the frequency of the Internet Activity survey to an annual basis, with the next survey due to be conducted in respect of March 2006. More recently a decision has been made to review the collection to address ongoing concerns with the quality and relevance of the data produced. The review will consider ongoing requirements for the current range of data, new and emerging data needs related to Internet Activity, methodology, scope and data collection mechanisms. Pending the outcome of this review, the survey has been suspended for at least the period up to September 2006.

If you wish to know more about the review or provide input, please write to the Mike Scott, Director, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth, WA, 6842, or email mike.scott@abs.gov.au.

2.8 ICT satellite account

The National Accounts Research section of the ABS is compiling an ICT satellite account in respect of 2002-03. A publication date has now been set for this product and it is the 7th March 2006. The title of this publication will be Australian National Accounts: Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account (ABS cat. no. 5259.0).

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