The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABS Business Register 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.
The units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Maintained Population, while the remaining businesses are in the ABS Maintained Population. Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABS Business Register population.
ATO MAINTAINED POPULATION
Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the ATO’s Australian Business Register. Most of these businesses have simple structures and in such cases 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'.
ABS MAINTAINED POPULATION
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 each business. These businesses constitute the 'ABS Maintained Population'. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The 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 sub-sector). For more details refer to Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2002 (cat. no. 1218.0).
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 sub-division and the TAU is classified to the relevant sub-division of the ANZSIC i.e. industry classification (see Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (cat. no. 1292.0)). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry sub-division.
For more information on the economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from the New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).
The statistical unit in the LPI is the ABN unit for businesses with simple structures, and the TAU for businesses with complex structures for each state of operation of the ABN unit/TAU. Where organisations are unable to provide data at the TAU/state level, special reporting units are created to collect information from the level within the organisation structure at which it is available. These special reporting units comprise either an aggregation of TAU/state units into larger units or a disaggregration into smaller units. In cases where a TAU/state unit is disaggregrated into a large number of similar small units, a sub-sample of these units is selected in order to reduce the reporting load on the providers.