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Newsletters - Innovation and Technology Update - Bulletin No. 12, June 2005


Information and communication technology (ICT) statistics
ICT reference group
Household use of information technology (IT)
Business use of IT
Small business use of IT
Government use of IT
Farm use of IT
Internet activity
Information technology and telecommunications industries
ICT regional information
ICT satellite account
3Research and experimental development (R&D) statistics
3.1Business R&D survey 2003-04
3.2Government and private non-profit R&D surveys 2004-05
3.3Higher Education R&D survey 2004
All Sector R&D
Business R&D survey 2004-05
3.6International standards
4Biotechnology statistics
5Knowledge based economy and society (KBE/S) framework and indicators
6Innovation Statistics
6.1Release of 'Innovation in Australian Business, 2003
6.2International Standards
Other Information
NSW In Focus 2005
Year Book Australia 2005
8For more information ....


Welcome to the 12th edition of the ABS'
Innovation and Technology Statistics Update. The Update provides information on statistical developments and data releases in the innovation and technology field, and is prepared by the Innovation and Technology National Statistics Centre in Canberra.

The results of the 'Innovation in Australian Business Survey, 2003' were released in February 2005, and more information on these statistics can be found in section six.

We hope you find the
Update useful and would appreciate any feedback you have to offer. Please send any comments to Damien Beard-Browning at

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We are happy to add new subscribers to the
Update to our e-mailing list. If you did not receive a link to this edition directly from us and would like to be alerted to future editions, or if you would like to unsubscribe to the update, please contact Damien Beard-Browning at

Previous editions of our
Update can be viewed here, or by visiting the ABS website.

Innovation and Research & Development/Information and communication technology statistics information on the ABS website

We have a theme page on the ABS website. The theme page provides links to current information on statistical releases and contacts, and now includes a glossary of terms. It will also enable you to link to other sites of interest. The theme page can be accessed by clicking on the following link:
    Innovation, Science and Technology
      We are also pleased to advise that all ABS catalogued publications will be available free of charge on the ABS website from 1 July 2005.
        If you have any questions about our theme page, please contact Damien Beard-Browning at


        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. In particular, these relate to:

        • existing or planned activities in the area of ICT statistics;
        • statistical priorities, based on policy, business and community requirements.

        The most recent meeting was held in April 2005. Some of the key issues discussed, included:

        • Information Development Plan (IDP) - The ABS is in the process of developing an IDP for ICT information. The ABS is taking a lead role in this development, but will not be the owners of the outputs of this process. There are many stakeholders involved in the production and use of ICT information and it is important for the success of the IDP process to involve and engage with these users and producers. The development of IDPs is seen by the ABS as an important element in progressing the National Statistical Service. Its effectiveness is manifested in how useful it is for decisions made on statistical priorities.
        • The National Data Network (NDN) - The ABS is supporting the development of a National Data Network (NDN). The NDN provides a distributed library of data holdings for policy analysis and research. These data holdings remain held and controlled by their Custodian organisations. This initiative promotes improved integration and consistent systems across government by facilitating greater collaboration between data providers and faster access to data.

          Data Custodians will have access to web based services, protocols, procedures and tools to assist them to more efficiently manage and share data in a way that ensures security and privacy.
          The National Data Network will, over time, deliver significant value and benefits to:
          • agencies, by avoiding development costs;
          • policy makers, by supporting efficient access to data;
          • researchers, by articulating clear and consistent access protocols; and
          • the community, by improving outcomes from government policies.
            Whilst data is held by each Custodian, the National Data Network provides a complete catalogue of available data sources to allow users to easily search for, and access data holdings which have been exposed.
          • Mobile technology data - It was noted that there is a lack of detailed data on mobile technology currently available. Particularly, the social impact of mobile phones, such as personal security and social interaction, has little data to analyse. It is considered that the main productivity impact of mobile technology is for small businesses, particularly tradespersons, and businesses using a large field work force.
          • International collections of ICT statistics.
          • Value of information propositions - This item was introduced at earlier reference groups, proposing guidelines for a process of determining the value of information. A more in-depth discussion took place, with the basic hypothesis being that information is valuable if it causes a decision change, and information affecting multiple decisions is as valuable as the most valuable use.
          • Collection of business characteristics statistics - The ABS is in the process of conducting investigations into better integrating business characteristics statistics. It is considered that this integration will yield efficiencies and an increase in the usefulness of these statistics.
          • ICT Statistics Web Discussion Forum - The forum includes meeting and other relevant documents, and allows members to discuss issues before meetings. The ABS noted that it was hopeful of being able to expand the use of the Web Forum beyond ICT Reference Group members in the future.
          The next meeting of the ICT reference group is expected to take place in October 2005.

          2.2 Household use of IT
            The publication Household Use of Information Technology, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8146.0) was released on 22 September 2004. This data was obtained from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) and the 2003 Survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (CPCLA).

            Main features from the latest publication were included in our previous

            The next issue of the publication will be based on data from 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. Results for 2004-05 are expected in early 2006.

            2.3 Business use of IT

            The Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) survey has been conducted annually since 1999-2000. It collects data on use of computers, the Internet and web technologies by Australian businesses. The content of the BUIT survey changes each year to reflect the changing nature of information technology (IT) use by Australian businesses. As a result, the focus in BUIT survey content has moved from basic uptake of IT to measures of more sophisticated use of IT, such as receipt and placement of orders for goods and services via the Internet or web.

            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. Main features from the publication include:

            • As at the end of June 2004, a higher proportion of businesses using the Internet were mainly using non-broadband connection types (58%) compared to broadband connection types (41%).
            • Broadband connections were the most prevalent as the main type of Internet connection for businesses which employed 100 or more persons (78%) and 20-99 persons (54%). In contrast, the most common type of Internet connection for businesses which employed 0-4 persons and 5-19 persons was dial-up (analog) at 54% and 49% respectively.
            • The most common broadband connection used was DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) with 67% of broadband users identifying this as the main type of broadband connection. The next most common main type of broadband connection was cable (28%) which includes Fibre Optic, Coaxial and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial cable.
            • Lack of perceived benefit (32%) was the most common reason reported by businesses for not using broadband, followed by ongoing costs being too high (26%) and start up connection costs being too high (24%).

            The BUIT survey will again be conducted for the 2004-05 reference year.

            More details for this release are shown in the
            Main Features (ABS cat. no. 8129.0).

            2.4 Small business use of IT

            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. This survey of households operating businesses addressed a number of aspects of the operations of small business as well as identifying the characteristics of small business operators. The survey covers private sector, non-agricultural small businesses. Similar surveys were previously conducted in February 1995, February 1997, November 1999, June 2001 and June 2003. The ABS plans to conduct an expanded version of the survey in June 2005.

            Data are presented mainly for the June 2003 and June 2004 surveys. Where it is appropriate to do so, broad comparisons with earlier surveys' results are included in commentary.

            Main features of the publication include:

            • At June 2004, there were an estimated 856,200 home based small businesses in Australia which were either operated from home or operated at home. This represented 68% of all small businesses, a similar proportion to that recorded at June 2003. These businesses were operated by 1,039,700 people, representing 63% of all small business operators.
            • Of all home based business operators in Australia, at June 2004, 735,500 (71%) were male, this proportion represented an increase of 2.9 percentage points since June 2003. The proportion of female operators fell by 2.9 percentage points to 304,200 in June 2004.
            • At June 2004, 68.2% of Australian home based businesses were using computers in their business operations, compared to 71.7% for all small businesses. Of these businesses, 86.2% reported having access to the Internet.
            • The most common use of the Internet by Australian home based businesses was for email and other purposes (50% and 51% respectively).
            • The proportion of home based businesses in Australia using the Internet increased for all purposes, but particularly for making or receiving payments, which rose by 3.9 percentage points since June 2003.
            • As the size of the business increased so too did the likelihood that the business used a computer, with 93% of businesses which employed 5-19 people, using a computer, compared to only 63% of non-employing businesses. Access to the Internet was more common in larger businesses.
            • The most common Internet usages reported by small business were for email (87%), research (83%), and 'other' purposes (89%). The Internet was used by 34% of all small businesses for 'making or receiving payments', an increase of 5.1 percentage points from June 2003.

            More details for this release are shown in the Main Features (ABS cat. no. 8127.0).

            2.5 Government use of IT

            The Government Technology Survey (GTS) provides key measures on employment and ICT expenditures by government organisations in Australia. The scope for the 2002-03 survey was federal, state/territory and local government (including indigenous councils) organisations whose predominant activity falls within the institutional sector of general government. Public financial and non-financial corporations are out of scope for the survey. A sample of public sector education organisations was also included for ICT satellite account purposes. This included a sample of schools and universities, and a census of vocational education institutions. The 2002-03 survey was remodelled since the 1999-2000 survey to have a greater focus on financial data. This data is being used to populate the 2002-03 ICT satellite account, which is due to be released in September 2005.

            The publication
            Government Technology, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8119.0) was released on 2 July 2004. Main features from the publication were included in our previous newsletter.

            There are no plans to conduct another survey in the near future.

            2.6 Farm use of IT

            The ABS publication
            Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8150.0) was released on 6 September 2004. The publication includes information relating to the use of computers and the Internet by farms, with some comparisons made to the data collected in 2001-02.

            Main Findings from the latest publication were included in our previous

            The 2003-04 publication is expected to be released in late 2005.

            2.7 Internet activity

            The publication
            Internet Activity, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8153.0) was released on 18 February 2005 for the September 2004 period. Data in this publication are sourced from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS), which is a Census of all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in Australia, and the Internet access services they provide.

            The previous issue of the Internet Activity, Australia publication notified of a change in frequency from biannual to annual following the completion of the September quarter 2004 collection. While this decision has not been reversed, the change from biannual to annual frequency will now occur following the conduct of the March quarter 2005 collection. The annual collection will continue to measure changes in the structure of the ISP industry and the number of Australian households and organisations obtaining access to the Internet through ISPs.

            Findings from the latest publication include:

            • At the end of September 2004, total Internet subscribers in Australia numbered over 5.7 million. This was an increase of over 520,000 (10%) from the end of March 2004.
            • Non dial-up subscribers represented almost 23% of total Internet subscribers in Australia at the end of September 2004. This was the highest proportion of subscribers recorded for non dial-up technologies since the inception of the survey in September 2000.
            • Data downloaded by subscribers during the September quarter 2004 increased significantly (72%) to 11,004 million MBs from the 6,409 million MBs downloaded during the March quarter 2004. Non dial-up subscribers accounted for 84% of the total data downloaded, reflecting the much faster download speeds available with non dial-up technology.
            • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) was the predominant access technology used for non dial-up Internet services with over 63% of total non dial-up subscribers being connected using this means. There were 549 ISPs (80% of total ISPs) providing Internet services using DSL access technologies at the end of September 2004.
            • There were 1,290,000 broadband subscribers at the end of September 2004, an increase of 55% from the end of March 2004.
            • The majority (87%) of Australian Internet subscribers used monthly, quarterly or annual plans to access the Internet at the end of September 2004. Hourly access plans were the next most dominant means of accessing the Internet with 12% of subscribers.
            Dial-up subscriber numbers fell for the third consecutive cycle since the survey's inception. Whilst dial-up connections still represent 77% of total Internet subscribers in Australia, this proportion has fallen dramatically from the 91% using this connection technology at the end of September 2003.

            More details are shown in the Main Features (ABS cat. no. 8153.0).

            2.8 Information technology and telecommunications industries

            The Information and Communication Technology Industry Survey (ICTIS) is a biennial survey that collects data on the production and distribution of information technology and telecommunication (IT&T) goods and services by businesses in Australia.

            Summary information collected for the 2004-05 reference period will be provided in the publication
            Information and Communication Technology, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8126.0), which is expected to be released in August 2006. The information covers all employing businesses across industry classes where ICT activity is likely. Non-employing businesses are excluded.

            2.9 ICT regional information

            Regional information relating to ICT issues is available through the following collections:
            • The 2001 Census of Population and Housing asked two questions on computer and Internet usage by households. Census data is available starting at the Collection District (CD) level. This level is the smallest geographic area defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC).
            • Data down to the statistical division level, in respect of farm use of IT, are collected via the ABS 2002-03 Agricultural Survey.

            2.10 ICT satellite account

            The National Accounts Research section of the ABS is compiling an ICT satellite account in respect of 2002-03. The data collection is complete and the account is in the compilation stage. It is anticipated that the results of this work will be available for publication by September 2005. A range of benefits are expected from compiling an ICT satellite account within the integrated national accounts framework, and are listed in our previous

            There are a range of potential outputs that could be included in an ICT satellite account. The final range of outputs included in the satellite account will reflect a number of factors, including what is technically feasible, given Australia's range of ICT statistics for 2002-03; the statistical integrity exhibited by the data inputs to the satellite account; and the input of potential users. The ABS is still in the process of examining the input data for quality and consistency, and it is therefore somewhat uncertain at this stage exactly what outputs can be fully supported by the various input data. Nevertheless, the ABS expects its suite of ICT data to support a valuable and workable ICT satellite account.

            While data outputs will relate primarily to 2002-03, in cases where comparable data are available and are of sufficient quality, a limited time series of results will be presented. If it is available, a time series of data will allow analysis of the evolution of ICT supply and demand.

            A pilot study for an ICT satellite account was conducted for the period 1998-99. A summary of findings was included in our June 2003 Update.


            3.1 Business R&D survey 2003-04

            The processing of the survey of R&D undertaken by businesses in relation to the 2003-04 reference year is currently underway. Information collected covers details of R&D expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D classified by type of expenditure, location of expenditure, source of funds, type of employee, type of activity, research fields and socioeconomic objectives. For the first time information on Biotechnology R&D was collected in the Business survey, and results of this will be separately reported in the publication.

            Summary statistics will be contained
            in the publication Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 2003-04 (ABS cat. no. 8104.0) which is expected to be released in September 2005.

            3.2 Government and private non-profit R&D surveys 2004-05

            The biennial survey of Government and Private Non-Profit organisations will be undertaken for the 2004-05 reference period. Similar information to that collected in the Business survey will be sought. Specific information on the Biotechnology sector will also be collected, similar to that collected in the 2003-04 Business survey.

            Summary statistics will be contained
            in the publication Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8109.0) which is expected to be released in August 2006.

            3.3 Higher Education R&D survey 2004

            The biennial survey of Higher Education organisations in respect of the 2004 calendar year is currently in the data collection phase. Summary information will be published in Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations 2004 (ABS cat. no 8111.0) which is expected to be released in July 2006.

            3.4 All sector R&D

            Summary statistics of expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D carried out in Australia by organisations within the Business, Government and Private non-profit sectors during 2004-05 and the higher education sector during the 2004 calendar year will be contained
            in the publication Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8112.0) which is expected to be released in September 2006.

            3.5 Business R&D survey 2004-05

            Development of the Business R&D survey for the 2004-05 reference year is well progressed. Information collected will be consistent with previous cycles. Results from the survey will be included in the publication
            Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8104.0) which is scheduled for release in August 2006.

            3.6 International standards

            The ABS surveys of R&D are conducted in accordance with standard guidelines promulgated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and contained in the OECD publication,
            The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities ('Frascati Manual' 2002), available as a free PDF file by visiting


            The first meeting of the National Officials Group on Biotechnology Statistics was convened in Canberra on 11 March 2005. This group was established as a sub-group of the Biotechnology Liaison Committee in recognition of the high priority need to collect nationally consistent data on biotechnology that is internationally comparable. Attendees included representatives from the Federal departments of Education Science and Training (DEST); Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR); Health and Ageing; and Environment and Heritage, and from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Biotechnology Australia and a number of State government agencies.

            The focus of this Group will be to:
            • provide a coordinated national approach to data collection for biotechnology between Federal, State and Territory governments;
            • share information on data collection activities and identification of issues;
            • explore ways to ensure efficient sharing of resources in national data collection.

            As an initial step, the Group is currently developing an Information Development Plan for Biotechnology which will include:
            • a policy needs framework;
            • identification of the data required to meet policy needs;
            • description of the operating environment for biotechnology;
            • assessment of the existing sources of information;
            • identification of gaps in information and data;
            • prioritisation of data collection activities; and
            • assignment of responsibilities for collection activity or sourcing of data.
            As an initial step to providing statistical information about biotechnology the ABS is measuring biotechnology R&D activity in the business sector. This one-off collection of data has been undertaken by the inclusion of additional questions in the 2003-04 Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Businesses. Biotechnology has been defined in accordance with the OECD definition and comments received when testing this definition and consulting with users.

            The results will be included in the publication
            Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 2003-04 (ABS cat. no. 8104.0) which is scheduled for release in September 2005.


            The indicators contained within the ABS web product "Measures of a Knowledge-based Economy and Society, Australia" will no longer be updated from 1 July 2005. The product will remain on the ABS website in its current form.

            Many of the indicators are sourced from ABS publications, therefore, a large proportion of the information can still be obtained by accessing the relevant ABS publications. If you would like the list of indicators by the publication source, please contact Damien Beard-Browning at


            6.1 Release of 'Innovation in Australian Business, 2003'

            The ABS has recently released the publication
            Innovation in Australian Business, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 8158.0) on 17 February 2005. It presents results from the 2003 Innovation Survey, where the ABS collected details of technological, organisational and managerial innovation in a wide range of industries, including service industries.
            The 2003 survey was broader in scope than the previous two surveys and covers businesses in all ANZSIC divisions with the exception of Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Government administration and defence; Education; Health and community services and Personal and other services divisions. It also excluded businesses with less than five employees and those classified to General Government in the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA).

            Main Features of the publication include:
            • During the three years ended December 2003 innovation was undertaken by 34.8% of businesses. A higher proportion of businesses innovating (22.9%) implemented new or significantly improved operational processes than introduced new or significantly improved goods or services (16.6%).
            • The extent of innovation varied according to the employment size of the business, ranging from 30.4% for businesses with 5-19 persons, up to 60.8% for businesses with 100 or more persons.
            • The majority of innovating businesses were in New South Wales and Victoria, but South Australia had the highest proportion of businesses undertaking innovation (45.9%).
            • After South Australia, with 23.8% of businesses, New South Wales (17.8%) and Victoria (17.1%) had the next highest proportions of businesses introducing new or significantly improved goods or services.
            • Just over half of the businesses in the Communication services (51.1%) and Electricity, gas and water supply (50.8%) industries undertook innovation. Businesses in the Accommodation, cafes and restaurants (26.5%) and Construction industries (30.7%) had the lowest proportion of businesses innovating.
            • Total expenditure on innovation in 2002-03 by innovating businesses was $13,123.4 million. Innovating businesses in Victoria contributed 35.7% to the total expenditure on innovation even though they comprised 25.5% of innovating businesses in Australia.
            • The Manufacturing industry contributed the highest proportion (27.1%) to the total Australian expenditure on innovation.
            • After adjustments to allow for differences in scope, the total proportion of businesses innovating in Australia (43%) is slightly higher than that of the EU as a whole (41%). The proportion of Australian businesses innovating in the Industry Sector (46%) ranks seventh when compared to European countries, while those in the Services Sector (39%) rank ninth.
            More details for this release are shown in the Main Features (ABS cat. no. 8158.0).

            For further information, please contact Peter Hodgson at

            6.2 International Standards

            The survey was based on concepts and standard questions developed jointly by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat. The concepts have been published in 'OECD Proposed Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Technological Innovation Data' (OECD, Paris, 1997), known as the Oslo Manual. This Manual is available as a free PDF file by visiting


            7.1 NSW In Focus 2005

            If you have ever needed to find out anything about the state of New South Wales, an extensive array of statistical information is now available in NSW In Focus 2005 (ABS, a new publication released on 10 June 2005.

            Drawing on data from a range of ABS and non-ABS sources it contains nine chapters in all, presenting an overview of current social, economic and environmental indicators. NSW In Focus presents data in easy to read tables for a wide range of state issues such as health, education and training, crime and justice and transport. Features also include a summary of findings for each chapter detailing the change in headline indicators over the last five years. This publication also includes some selected data for regional NSW. Essentially this is a useful easy to use reference for government agencies, universities, other education facilities, research organisations and the general community. For further information contact Allan McLean on (02) 9268 4795, email

            7.2 Year Book Australia 2005

            Image: Year Book Australia 2005 logo
            The Year Book Australia 2005 is a comprehensive source of information about Australia. Now with CD, this issue
            is presented in one package as a special ABS centenary offer, making it great value for money. Order your copy online, or telephone 1300 135 070, and have your credit card details ready.

            8 FOR MORE INFORMATION ...

            For more information, please contact Damien Beard-Browning at
   or visit our theme pages on the ABS website.

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