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Newsletters - CURF News - December 2006

Merry Christmas to all CURF Microdata Clients.

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Have you discovered the new CURF Microdata web pages?Your Obligations for accessing CURF Microdata
CURFs Expected to be Released in early 2007Update on SAS Version 9 on RADL
CURF clients who sent in the CURF Feedback form - Thank you
Annual CURF Renewal requirements
Important Reminder to all RADL users to maintain ABS unit identifiers
RADL Christmas arrangements
CURF User Responsibilities: Keeping Unit Information SecureContact Us

Have you discovered the new CURF Microdata web pages?

At the end of October the ABS CURF Management Unit significantly redesigned and updated content on its CURF Microdata pages. Now with a navigator available on every page, this offers clients more efficient access to key ABS CURF Microdata information. The CURF Management Unit seek your feedback and any suggestions for improvement - please email us at

To access the CURF Microdata pages from the ABS home page go to > Services We Provide > CURF Microdata.

CURFs expected to be released in early 2007

CURF users are reminded that the ABS regularly updates the List of CURFs Expected to be Released on the ABS web site.

At the time of writing, the CURF Management Unit expects 2007 to be one of the busier years on record for CURF releases. CMU expect to be coordinating release of at least 4 new CURFs in early 2007. Of these, we're providing a summary of the Innovation in Australian Business, 2003, Expanded CURF.

Innovation in Australian Business (IAB03E), 2003, Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File, cat no. 8158.0.55.001 - expected to be released in February 2007.

    The Confidentialised Unit Record File from the 2003 Innovation Survey will contain unidentified individual statistical records with information about Australian businesses that innovated during the three years ended December 2003. The 2003 IAB03E CURF will be available via the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) as an Expanded File only. Detailed information about the contents of the IAB03E CURF will be available on the ABS web site in the Innovation in Australian Business Survey 2003 CURF Technical Paper (cat. no. 8158.0.55.002).
For detailed information about all new and existing CURFs available refer to List of Available CURFs.

Thank you to all CURF Microdata clients who responded to the feedback form circulated in September 2006.
Your feedback will assist CMU over the coming months to develop strategies to improve CURF and RADL access and service delivery.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the items listed please contact us.

Annual CURF Renewal requirements

The Annual CURF Renewals is a mandatory requirement for access to CURFs. Individual Users need to be aware that they need to provide an annual report on outcomes of their CURF use including ongoing work and published journal articles, papers, conference submissions, etc.

When details of final outputs are available, the ABS compiles a list of
Published Research using CURF Microdata. This information also assists ABS subject-matter areas in planning future CURFs - please refer to the following section for more information.

If you need any assistance with the Annual Renewal process please contact

Understanding Your Obligations for accessing CURF Microdata

The Undertakings that Individuals and Organisations sign with the ABS provide a basis for legal action in cases where the conditions specified in the Undertaking are found to have been wilfully ignored.

In signing the Undertaking the responsibilities and obligations the user has agreed to are:
  • taking their responsibilities as a user of ABS CURFs seriously
  • reading the Responsible Access to ABS CURFs Manual before using ABS CURFs
  • ensuring all unit record data is kept secure and is not accessible by anyone who does not have approved access to the CURF
  • keeping user IDs and passwords secure - no-one else must access the user account as users are responsible for activity on their own account
  • not attempting, under any circumstances, to identify the individuals or organisations represented in the files
  • not attempting, under any circumstances, to systematically download large quantities of unit record data from a RADL CURF - refer to page 7 of the RADL User Guide, Version 4, March 2006 (cat. no. 1406.0.55.002) for details of printed unit record data limits
  • not attempting to match the ABS unit record data to any other unit information, without first discussing details of proposed matching and gaining clearance from ABS
  • accessing the CURF only for the statistical purpose stated in the user's Undertaking (users are to notify the ABS if this changes).

If you have any questions about your responsibilities as a user of ABS CURFs please Contact Us

Update on SAS Version 9 available on RADL

A key feature of the October SAS Version 9 RADL upgrade is the introduction of the %PrintCSV macro. The %PrintCSV macro has been developed to provide users with the ability to produce protected aggregate output in Comma Separated Value format. The macro should be invoked by the user directly after creating the aggregate dataset through, for example, PROC FREQ or PROC SUMMARY. The macro outputs these datasets in CSV format to the relevant output file. You are strongly encouraged to use this macro to facilitate production of your CSV output.

Sample code:

proc freq data=nhs01ev2.nhs01 noprint;
tables age*sex /out=out_table;

There is also an option to suppress printing of column headings:

proc freq data=nhs01ev2.nhs01 noprint;
tables age*sex /out=out_table;

Important Reminder to all RADL users to maintain ABS unit identifiers

All datasets of ABS microdata must include the appropriate ABS unit identifiers. This enables the automated checking facilities in RADL to perform confidentiality checks, and assists in the automated clearance of your output. This is a requirement of all programs that use the RADL, as specified in Section 2.1 of the RADL User Guide, Version 4, March 2006 ( 1406.0.55.002) - see p. 7.

What datasets must include ABS unit identifiers?

All datasets, including temporary (work) datasets that contain data at the unit record level, must contain the ABS assigned identifier fields for that data. Do not drop such fields (i.e. if you only keep a subset of variables, the identifier fields must be in this subset). Do not rename these fields.

Unit identifiers change from survey to survey

Be aware that the number of unit identifiers do not always remain the same for different year versions of the same survey (for example, the 2001 National Health Survey contains 2 unit IDs, while the 2004-05 National Health Survey contains 5 unit IDs). Be especially careful when re-submitting old code for a new version of the same survey that all unit IDs have been retained.

Where to find out more about what fields must be retained

Please refer to the RADL documentation for each CURF you are using to see which fields must be retained for that CURF.

The ABS considers this requirement as very important and seeks your assurance that all unit record datasets, even those maintained only temporarily within the program, retain the ABS unit identifiers for CURFs. RADL jobs are audited regularly and the activity of users not retaining the ABS unit identifiers will be heavily scrutinised in this process, with consequential auditing action taken.

If you require more information about retaining unit identifiers, please refer to the RADL User Guide, Version 4, March 2006 or email

CURF User Responsibilities: Keeping Unit Information Secure

Your Responsibility:You must keep all unit data secure so that it is not accessible by anyone who does not also have authorised access to the unit record file. Results from your analyses that may reveal unit information should also be kept secure.

You must keep ABS unit information where it cannot be accessed by anyone except those specifically permitted by the ABS (i.e. researchers within your organisation who have been approved by the ABS to access this unit data after signing the required undertaking).

The following are guidelines for storing the unit information and results of your analyses;

    1. Any computer on which ABS unit information is stored must be kept in a locked room and/or have password protection to prevent access by others.

    2. Any information or results stored on a computer network must be kept in a directory with suitably restricted access.

    3. Any printouts or any physical medium containing unit information (such as a CD-ROM provided by the ABS) must be kept in a locked room or secured in a locked cabinet when the researcher is not present.

    4. You must keep track of datasets and printouts that reveal unit data, so that they can be destroyed when they are no longer needed. Printouts can be destroyed securely by shredding. Your organisation must also provide for a secure way to delete computer files so that they cannot be recovered by an unauthorised person, including via backup files.

If you require more information about Keeping Unit Information Secure, please refer to the

CURF Responsible Access to CURFs Manual or email

RADL Christmas arrangements

The ABS will be closed for the period Monday 25 December 2005 to Monday 1 January 2006 (inclusive). Clients will continue to receive RADL automatic output clearance, however no manual clearance service will be available.

Contact Us

Each CURF client organisation is required to appoint a Contact Officer to directly manage all CURF access by the organisation's users. A full description of the Contact Officer's role is available on the Frequently Asked Questions - Applying for CURF Microdata page.

The Contact Officer role broadly includes managing the organisation's business relationship with ABS; advising individuals if the organisation has access to a specified CURF; counter-signing and submitting Applications/Undertakings; copying Basic CURFs on CD-ROM and monitoring use; returning unused CURFs to ABS; and managing the organisation's Annual Renewal process.

If you have any queries about any of the above matters, please contact your organisation's Contact Officer, listed on the
CURF Responsible and Contact Officers page.

The CURF Management Unit continues to be available to help you with any queries that cannot be answered by your organisation's Contact Officer, or from ABS CURF web pages. Our staff include Grant Mitchell (Assistant Director), Simone Maconachie, Bob Osten, Rebecca Sipeki and Urve Black.

If you have a query for ABS about accessing CURFs, or require more information about the ABS/AVCC CURF Agreement, please contact the CURF Management Unit team at:

Phone: 02 6252 5245
Address: CURF Management Unit
ABS Information Management and Census Division
ABS House
45 Benjamin Way
Belconnen ACT 2617
Fax: 02 6252 8132

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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