8698.0 - Waste Management Services, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/06/2011   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product



This publication presents estimates of the financial performance of businesses and components of general government sector organisations involved in waste management services. The data presented in this release was compiled from data directly collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

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


The main purpose of the estimates is to present detailed information on the financial performance and activity of businesses and organisations primarily engaged in the provision of waste management services during the 2009-10 reference period.

The information is also used by government departments and economic analysts to assist in policy formulation and evaluation. Financial estimates include components of income and expenses. Estimates for waste quantities are also provided.

Businesses were classified by:
  • institutional sector, in accordance with the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA), which is detailed in Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) ( cat. no. 1218.0)
  • industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0)
  • state and territory
  • business size

The scope of the survey consisted of all employing and significant non-employing private and public trading sector businesses and organisations on the ABS Business Register classified to ANZSIC Subdivision 29 - Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services. The survey scope also included the waste management activities of the general government sector.

The period covered by this collection was, in general, the twelve months ended 30 June 2010. 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 be 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.

The collection was designed primarily to deliver national estimates and state estimates for key financial and waste quantity data.


This is an irregular collection with estimates generally available within twelve months of the reference period to which they relate. For the 2009–10 reference period, questionnaires were despatched by ABS in August 2010 and estimates scheduled for release in June 2011.

This is the third ABS survey of waste management businesses and organisations with previous collections being conducted in respect of 1996-97 and 2002-03.


The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing.

The 2009-10 survey used generalised regression estimation for the private and public trading sector. This estimation method enables maximum use of observed linear relationships between data directly collected from businesses in the survey and auxiliary information. The auxiliary variables used in this survey were turnover and wages sourced from the ATO. For the general government sector number-raised estimation was used. This estimation method does not use auxiliary information as none was available for the general government sector. Use of this methodology allowed high quality statistics to be produced from a small sample of 561 private and public trading sector businesses and 306 general government sector organisations.

Two types of error can occur in estimates that are based on a sample survey: sampling error and non-sampling error.

Sampling error occurs when a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. It reflects the difference between estimates based on a sample and those that would have been obtained had a census been conducted. One measure of this difference is the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all businesses had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Another measure of sampling error is the relative standard error, which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the sampling error in percentage terms, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. Relative standard errors of key estimates are available in a Technical Note on Data Quality in Waste Management Services, Australia (cat. no. 8698.0).

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error, by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of survey analysts, and efficient data processing procedures.

Non-sampling error also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all businesses selected in the survey. For the 2009-10 survey of waste management services, there was an overall response rate of 93% from all businesses/organisations that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period (89% for businesses in ANZSIC subdivision 29 and 98% for organisations in the general government sector). Data were imputed for the remaining 7% of operating businesses/organisations. Imputed responses contributed 5.3% to the estimate of total income for businesses in ANZSIC subdivision 29 and 2.4% for the general government sector.


Previous waste management services surveys were conducted by the ABS for the 1996-97 and 2002-03 reference periods. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, their relevance to the changing needs of users and the efficiency of the survey. There have been substantial changes in frame, scope, industry classification and methodology between the surveys, so users should exercise caution when making historical comparisons. Further information about these changes can be found in a Technical Note on Data Quality in Waste Management Services, Australia (cat. no. 8698.0).

Key annual industry data for ANZSIC subdivision 29 are published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0). There are important differences between statistics published in Australian Industry and Waste Management Services, Australia publications and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates. Further information about data comparability can be found in a Technical Note on Data Quality in Waste Management Services, Australia (cat. no. 8698.0).


Estimates from the 2009-10 Waste Management Services Survey are available as original series only, and are not seasonally or trend adjusted.

Although financial and quantity estimates relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2010, and waste management facilities operated were reported as at 30 June 2010. Business counts relate to those businesses operating at the end of June 2010.

Further information about terminology and other technical aspects associated with these statistics can be found in the publication Waste Management Services, Australia (cat. no. 8698.0) which contains detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note on Estimation methodology, a Technical Note on Data quality and a Glossary.


Data from the 2009-10 Waste Management Survey are available in a variety of formats. The formats available free of charge on the ABS website are:
  • an e-magazine with main features, which include key findings commentaries
  • spreadsheets which contain all published tables

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