ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication contains near-final estimates for the main agricultural commodities and livestock numbers collected in the 2005-06 Agricultural Census and final estimates from related collections (i.e. Apples and Pears Collection and Vineyards Collection). The data are based on a response rate of 93% from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census.
Final estimates for the 2005-06 season will be published in November 2007 in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0). Preliminary estimates of agricultural water use will be published in August 2007 in Water Use on Australian Farms, Preliminary (cat. no. 4618.0). The ABS also plans to release a range of sub-state geographic level data in early 2008. The sub-state outputs will generally be available as spreadsheets, data suitable for use in Geographic Information Systems, and possibly as maps. Standard outputs will be produced to approximate as closely as possible various regional structures such as river basins and Natural Resource Management regions.
CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE
Move to a new register of agricultural businesses
Until recently, the ABS had maintained its own register of agricultural establishments. However, it had become increasingly difficult to maintain this list, and users were questioning the accuracy of some of the commodity data published. The ABS investigated a number of alternatives for maintaining the register and discussed these with key users of agriculture statistics. It was agreed that the ABS should move to a new frame sourced from the Australian Taxation Office's Australian Business Register (ABR).
The ABR-based frame has been used for the first time to conduct the 2005-06 Agricultural Census. The key implication of this strategy is that census data will not be directly comparable with historical time series. This is because, in addition to the change in frame, there have been changes in methodologies used for determining whether agricultural businesses are 'in-scope' of the collection and in some of the ways the data are compiled. (For more information, please see the technical note on page 21.)
To provide users with a way of comparing the 2005-06 Agricultural Census data with the historical time series, the ABS has prepared two sets of 2005-06 estimates for a limited set of commodities and livestock estimates (see technical note pages 25-26). 'New-basis' estimates were prepared using the new ABR-based register and its associated statistical methodologies. These methodologies were subjected to rigorous analysis and testing, with the resulting 'new basis' estimates representing the start of the new commodity and livestock series. 'Old-basis' estimates were prepared to provide a best judgement approximation to what the various estimates may have been if the ABS had continued to use the previous ABS-maintained list of establishments (with its associated statistical methodologies) to conduct the 2005-06 Agricultural Census. Due to the complexities involved in collecting, processing and estimating 'old basis' data from a 'new-basis' framework, the 'old-basis' 2005-06 estimates and the movements between 2004-05 and 2005-06 should be considered indicative only.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Nigel Gibson on Hobart (03) 6222 5940.