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Newsletters - Innovation and Technology Update - Bulletin No. 8, June 2003

Special Article
  • Findings from a pilot 1998-99 ICT satellite account





Information and communication technology (ICT) statistics
Household use of IT
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 work


Research and experimental development (R&D) statistics
3.1Business R&D survey 2001-02
3.2Higher education R&D survey 2002
3.3Business, government and private non-profit R&D surveys 2002-03
3.4International standards


Biotechnology statistics


Human resources by selected qualifications and occupations (previously known as 'Human resources in science and technology')


Knowledge-based economy and society framework (KBE/S) and indicators




Special Article: findings from a pilot 1998-99 ICT satellite account


For more information ....


Welcome to the 8th edition of the ABS'
Science and Technology Statistics Update, a biannual electronic newsletter which provides you with information on statistical developments and data releases in the science and technology field.

We hope you find the Update useful and would appreciate any feedback you have to offer. Please send any comments to Andrew Major whose email address is

During 2002, the Science and Technology Statistics area of the ABS underwent structural and name changes. Work in the field is now centred in two locations (previously three). The New Economy National Statistics Centre is located in Canberra and has responsibility for, among other things, general strategy, research and analysis, and statistical standards. The New Economy Business Statistics Centre is located in Perth and will progressively take on responsibility for conducting the suite of new economy collections and disseminating the results. The changes form part of a more general restructure of ABS economic statistics.

Subscriber e-mailing list

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, please contact Andrew Major, whose email address is

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

Science and Technology statistics information on the ABS website

We have two "theme" pages on the ABS website. The theme pages provide links to current information on statistical releases and contacts. They will also enable you to link to other sites of interest. The theme pages are as follows:
Alternatively, the theme pages can be viewed by:
  • Visiting the ABS website at:
  • Selecting Themes from the menu shown on the left side
  • Selecting Information Technology or Science and Innovation theme pages

If you have any questions about our theme pages, please contact Andrew Major, whose email address is


The ABS has introduced a change in terminology for this field of statistics. Previous terminology (Information Technology and Telecommunications - IT&T) is gradually being replaced by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in line with more general changes in international and Australian usage. Even though there is a slight technical difference in meaning between the terms, they are generally understood to be synonymous.

2.1 Household use of IT

The November quarter 2000 Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was the last PSM to be conducted by the ABS. As the PSM was the source of our Household Use of Information Technology (HUIT) data, these data will no longer be produced by the ABS on a quarterly basis.

For 2001, a HUIT module of questions was included in the Survey of Education, Training and Information Technology (SETIT). For 2002, HUIT data was collected in the new General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the ABS. Results from both the 2001 SETIT and the 2002 GSS are expected to be released in a joint issue of cat. no. 8146.0 later this year.

For 2003, HUIT questions have been included in the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) and in the MPS Supplementary Survey - Children's Participation in Culture/Leisure Activities (CPCLA). These surveys will provide household data on computer and Internet access. In addition, individual person data on computer and Internet usage will be available from people with a disability, those aged 60+ (SDAC) and for children aged 5-14 yrs (CPCLA). CPCLA was conducted in April 2003 and SDAC will be enumerated from June - November 2003. Results are expected to be released in 2004.

More details are shown in the Main Features (cat. no. 8146.0).

2.2 Business use of IT

The ABS publication Business Use of Information Technology, Australia (cat. no. 8129.0) presents details from the ABS Business Technology Survey. The latest results were released on 26 February 2003 in respect of the 2001-02 financial year.

The Business Technology survey is an annual economy wide survey collecting information from approximately 12,800 private sector businesses about their use of computers, the Internet and the web. These businesses are randomly selected to represent all industries, with the exception of Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Education, Religious organisations and Private households employing people.

The 2001-02 survey continued to cover the extent and use of computers, the Internet and web sites by Australian businesses, as well as measuring the ordering of goods and services via the Internet. New to the 2001-02 survey were methods of Internet access by Australian businesses and the exploration of issues related to IT security.

Development of the 2002-03 survey is now complete and forms will be despatched in July.

Some of the key findings from the 2001-02 survey are:
  • Over the twelve months to June 2002, no growth occurred in the proportion of businesses using a computer, with the proportion remaining at 84% of all businesses.
  • Growth in access to the Internet increased by 3 percentage points to 72%.
  • The percentage of businesses with a web presence increased by 2 percentage points to 24%.
  • The method of Internet access varied across business size with access to the Internet through a dial-up modem being more prevalent in smaller businesses ie. those employing 0 to 4 persons.
  • 25% of all Australian businesses placed orders over the Internet, compared with 20% during 2000-01.
  • 41% of businesses reported some form of IT security incident or breach.
  • A virus was the most common IT security incident or breach, reported by 38% of Australian businesses.

More details are shown in the Main Features (cat. no. 8129.0).

2.3 Government use of IT

The latest edition of the ABS publication Government Use of Information Technology, Australia (cat. no. 8119.0) was released on 28 May 2002. This publication presented results, in respect of the 1999-2000 financial year, from an ABS survey on the use of information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) by government organisations. This was the third ABS survey of IT&T use by government, with the previous collections being conducted in respect of the 1993-94 and 1997-98 financial years. The 1999-2000 survey provided information on government expenditure on IT&T and IT employment.

Development work for the 2002-03 survey is now complete and forms will be despatched later in the year. The 2002-03 survey will have a greater focus on financial data (as a key input to an ABS ICT Satellite Account) and less focus on the use of IT in government agencies. The Government Technology Survey will be reviewed to determine the appropriate future direction of the survey.

More details are shown in the Main Features (cat. no. 8119.0).

2.4 Farm use of IT

Data relating to computer and Internet access on farms are obtained from the ABS Agricultural Commodity Survey (ACS). The survey covers all farms with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more.

Information about computer and/or Internet access as at 30 June was collected in 1999/2000 and 2001/2002. Additionally, in 2001/2002 information about the type of Internet activity during the year was also collected.

As the ABS conducted an Agricultural Census in 2000/2001, the ACS was not conducted in that year.

Results from the 1999/2000 ACS were released in the ABS publication Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia (cat. no. 8150.0) on 26 September 2001 and results for 2001/2002 are expected to be published later in 2003.

More details are shown in the Main Features (cat. no. 8150.0).

2.5 Internet activity

On 7 March 2003, the ABS released the publication Internet Activity, Australia in respect of the September quarter 2002 (cat. no. 8153.0). Following a review, the ABS has reduced the frequency of this collection from quarterly to six monthly. It is now conducted in respect of September and March quarters each year.

Some of the key findings from the latest survey are:
  • The number of ISPs in Australia decreased by 8 (1%) to 563 over the six month period to the end of September quarter 2002. This represents a slowing in the rate of decline in ISP numbers recorded since September 2000. Takeovers and mergers were the predominant reason for this decrease.
  • The number of Points of Presence (POPs) declined (down 164) over the six months to the end of September quarter 2002 as Virtual ISPs (ISPs using infrastructure supplied by another provider) became more prevalent, resulting in rationalisation.
  • The number of access lines available to subscribers increased by 43% to 639,197 between the March quarter 2002 and September quarter 2002. Significantly influencing this growth has been the increasing number of subscribers with permanent connections (around 350,000 subscribers at the end of September quarter 2002, an increase of over 47% from the end of March quarter 2002). In particular, DSL connections increased by 112% reflecting the accelerating uptake of broadband (access speeds equal to or greater than 256kbs) services.
  • The number of subscribers grew by around 326,000 (8%) to almost 4.6 million. The majority of these were in the household market with over 3.9 million household subscribers. The increase in subscribers was largely attributable to an increase in subscribers on Hourly Access plans (up by 184,000). Of these subscribers, approximately 350,000 had permanent Internet connections (8%).
  • The increasing uptake of broadband services is also evident in the large increase shown in the volume of data downloaded, up 28% between March quarter 2002 and September quarter 2002. This builds on the 42% increase in data downloaded between September quarter 2001 and March quarter 2002. The faster access speeds provided by DSL and other high speed connections enhance subscribers capacity to download greater volumes of data and the speed of such downloads.

Other details, including more information for states/territories and smaller regions, are shown in the
Main Features (cat. no. 8153.0).

The March 2003 publication is expected to be released in early September 2003.

2.6 Information technology and telecommunications industries

The latest data available is for 2000-01, which was released on 19 September 2002 (cat. no. 8126.0). Key results were shown in our December 2002 Update.

The next survey will be called the ICT Industry Survey and will be undertaken in respect of 2002-03.

Results are expected to be released in July 2004.

2.7 ICT regional information

Policy makers and others are increasingly interested in regional ICT data. Within the limitations of survey methodology, ABS is striving to meet this demand and is able to offer regional data as follows:

  • Initial results from the 2001 Population Census were released on 17 June 2002, and second release data in November 2002. The Census included the following IT questions asked of all persons in the household:
Did the person use a personal computer at home last week?No
Did the person use the Internet anywhere last week?No
Mark all applicable boxesYes, at home
Yes, at work
Yes, elsewhere

  • Data down to the Statistical Division level, in respect of farm use of IT, are collected via the ABS Agricultural Commodity Survey. Survey results for 1999/2000 are available from cat. no. 8150.0 and results for 2001/2002 expected to be published later this year.
  • As the survey of Internet service providers (ISPs) includes all businesses, some regional data in relation to 'points of presence' are available at Statistical Division level. See cat. no. 8153.0 for more details.

2.8 ICT satellite account work

Satellite accounts generally enable attention to be focussed on a certain field or aspect of economic and social life within the context of the balanced supply and use framework, which is a central feature of the national accounts. An ICT satellite account brings together data on all of the ICT goods and services produced and consumed by all sectors/industries, allowing for analysis of the impacts of ICT activities on the economy.

As the national accounts provide a comprehensive measure of the whole economy and are compiled using consistent concepts, definitions and methods, this approach would enable the supply (production, imports) and use (including exports) of ICT products to be analysed from a "whole of economy" perspective, and enable the calculation of the direct contribution of ICT to the main national accounting aggregates.

The development of an ICT satellite account in respect of 2002-03 has been under consideration for some time by the ABS and, over the last year or so, some exploratory work has been undertaken on defining the conceptual framework of the account and ascertaining the data requirements to populate such an account.

While some of the data is already being collected (eg. computer software expensed and capitalised expenditure on computers and computer peripherals), it will be necessary to collect remaining data from a variety of collection vehicles to cover the business, government (including educational institutions) and household sectors.

These collections include:
  • ABS 2002-03 Economic Activity Survey (EAS)
  • ABS 2002-03 ICT Industry Survey
  • ABS 2002-03 Government Technology Survey
  • ABS 2002-03 Service Industries Survey
  • ABS 1998-99 Retail Industry Survey (in conjunction with activity data from the annual ICT use modules included in household surveys)
  • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) collections (for broad acre and dairy agriculture industries)

Results from the 2002-03 ICT satellite account are expected to be published in March 2005.

The ABS has conducted a pilot ICT Satellite Account for the period 1998-99. Please see Chapter 8 of this Update for a special article on the findings of this exploratory study.


3.1 Business R&D survey 2001-02

The processing of the Business R&D survey for the year 2001-02 is nearing completion. Details collected include: R&D expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D classified by type of expenditure, location of expenditure, source of funds, business employment size, type of employee, research fields and socioeconomic objectives. The survey also included a question on biotechnology R&D.

Summary statistics for 2001-02 will be included in the publication Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia (cat. no. 8104.0) which is scheduled for release on 7 August 2003.

3.2 Higher education R&D survey 2002

The survey of R&D undertaken by higher education organisations in 2002 has been dispatched. 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 are being collected. The due date for sending the data to the ABS is 31 August 2003.

It is anticipated that summary statistics for 2002 will be included in the publication Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia (cat. no. 8111.0) which should be released in March 2004.

3.3 Business, government and private non-profit R&D surveys 2002-03

Dispatch of the surveys of R&D undertaken by businesses, government organisations and private non-profit organisations in 2002-03 will take place in August 2003. 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 will be collected.

3.4 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).


4.1 Introduction

There is growing recognition worldwide that biotechnology offers many opportunities for delivering economic and social benefits to citizens of both developed and developing countries. However, there is currently little statistical information available to monitor the diffusion of biotechnology and to assist with policy choices.

4.2 Developments

The ABS is continuing to participate in an OECD Working Group which is developing a set of internationally comparable biotechnology statistical indicators. This work has formed the basis for the development of strategies for the possible collection of Australian biotechnology statistics. Papers have been prepared specifying user requirements, international experiences and outlining various strategies, including the collection of additional data in the existing R&D surveys and the conduct of a new biotechnology survey.

A question on biotechnology R&D was added to the survey of R&D undertaken by businesses in 2001-02.

Development work is currently underway on a future biotechnology survey. The planned biotechnology survey with respect to 2002-03 has been deferred, and is expected to be conducted with respect to 2003-04.


Human Resources by Selected Qualifications and Occupations, Australia 2001 (cat no. 8149.0) was released on 16 May 2003. The data are comparable to that included in the previous edition of this publication which was titled Human Resources in Science and Technology (HRST), Australia 1996.

Most of the information provided in the publication was derived from the Census of Population and Housing, supplemented by relevant data on Higher Education statistics (from Department of Education, Science and Training), Vocational Education Statistics (from National Centre for Vocational Education and Research), Labour Mobility statistics and Migration statistics (both from ABS).

The selected qualifications are Advanced diplomas, Bachelor degrees, Graduate certificates, Graduate diplomas, Master degrees or Doctoral degrees. The selected occupations are Specialist managers and Professionals; occupations where the above qualifications are normally required.

Data presented in the publication are organised into four chapters:
  • Chapter 1 summarises the information presented in more detail in subsequent chapters.
  • Chapter 2 presents stock information (counts at a point in time) compared with relevant population estimates.
  • Chapter 3 focuses on statistics relating to persons with selected qualifications (such as age distribution, highest educational attainment, labour force status, year completed qualification, industry of employment and average annual income). Higher and Vocational Education statistics are also included as they represent the leading inflow into the stock of such qualified persons.
  • Chapter 4 presents information from the selected occupation perspective (such as age distribution by industry, duration in current job etc). Permanent and Long term arrival and departure information on the stated selected occupations is also included.

Key findings included:
  • The number of persons with an Advanced diploma, Bachelor degree or higher degree (selected qualifications) and/or employed as Specialist managers or Professionals (selected occupations) was 3,054,000 persons in August 2001. This represented 21% of the population aged 15 years and over, up from 15% and 18% in 1991 and 1996 respectively.
  • The percentage with selected qualifications increased from 11% in 1991 and 14% in 1996 to 16% in 2001, while the percentage in selected occupations increased from 10% in 1991 and 12% in 1996 to 13% in 2001.
  • Of the persons with selected qualifications and/or in selected occupations in August 2001, 321,000 (11%) were persons born overseas who had not taken out Australian citizenship, with the main countries of origin being England (64,000), New Zealand (42,000) and India (19,000).
  • By state and territory, persons with selected qualifications and/or in selected occupations in 2001 ranged from 16% to 22% of the population aged 15 years and over, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory where the percentage was 36%.

More details are shown in the Main Features (cat. no. 8149.0)


In response to the needs of Australia’s policy makers to better understand the economic and social dynamics of knowledge-based activity, the ABS released a Discussion Paper Measuring a Knowledge-based Economy and Society - An Australian Framework (cat. no. 1375.0) on 28 August 2002.

The Discussion Paper presented a descriptive framework for measuring the knowledge-based economy and society (KBE/S) through use of relevant statistics. The Framework proposed a range of indicators grouped in broad dimensions to enable assessment of the degree to which Australia is a knowledge-based economy and society. The dimensions are:

  • Context
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Human capital
  • Information and communication technology (ICT)
  • Economic and social impacts.

Within each dimension, there are a number of characteristics and associated statistical indicators (about 125 indicators in total).

Current work on the project is directed towards populating the framework with statistics. A web-based product is nearing finalisation and is expected to be released early in the second half of 2003. The content of the product is planned to be built up over time, with the first release covering a large proportion of the Innovation and entrepreneurship, Human capital and ICT indicators proposed in the Framework.

If you would like more information about the Framework or the KBE/S product, please contact Tricia O'Reilly whose email address is


The ABS is planning to conduct an innovation survey in early 2004. The reference period will be for the calendar year 2003. The survey will be compatible with OECD/Eurostat guidelines (as outlined in the "Oslo Manual") and will include technological, organisational and managerial innovation in a wide range of industries, including service industries.

Current state of innovation-related statistics

Much of the material described in the Update bears on innovation in one way or another. The ABS has not conducted a survey of innovation outputs since 1996-97. Such "output" data provide a direct measure of the degree to which Australia is innovating and can be obtained through industry-wide business surveys. The focus of future ABS work on innovation will be relating such outputs to the impact of productivity and growth performance.

What is an "innovation survey" and what information can it provide?

An innovation survey is a survey of businesses which ascertains what proportion and types of business are innovating (ie. introducing new products and processes), what types of innovations are occurring and what impact they are having on the output and productivity of the businesses concerned.

Other issues to be addressed include the:
  • costs of innovation (and their breakdown into R&D and other components)
  • extent of linkages between firms and research institutions
  • links between innovation and management practice
  • links between innovation and growth/productivity outcomes
  • sources of funding


It is expected that the questionnaire will be sent out in early 2004. Results are expected later that year.

For further information, please contact Graeme Brown whose e-mail address is

Findings from a pilot 1998-99 ICT satellite account

On 5 March 2003, the ABS released a paper titled 'An Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account' in the publication Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, December Quarter 2002 (cat. no. 5206.0). The paper outlines the work the ABS has undertaken to develop frameworks, concept and potential outputs for an ICT satellite account.

The paper also included findings from a pilot study for Australia for the period 1998-99, and developments for the 2002-03 ICT satellite account. The pilot study was possible because of the extensive range of ICT related data that the ABS covers in its collections. However, because of output quality, a number of data gaps needed to be filled using assumptions or conjecture. The study is exploratory in nature, and estimates should be used carefully. These data gaps will be addressed for the 2002-03 ICT satellite account.

Key findings from the pilot study for 1998-99 are as follows:
  • Over $70 billion of ICT products (either locally produced or imported) entered the Australian economy in 1998-99. Computer and communications hardware comprised the majority of this amount, and were mostly imported.
  • ICT contributed approximately 4.9% to total gross value added at basic prices (for all industries). Businesses in the communications services industry contributed more to ICT gross value added than all other businesses in all industries. See the table below for more information.
  • 44% of ICT products were taken up as gross fixed capital formation by businesses and government, 36% were used by businesses as intermediate consumption, and 15% were consumed direct by households. ICT products contribute 22% of total gross fixed capital formation.
  • Phone carrier and Internet provider services comprise the majority of household consumption of ICT products.
  • The property and business services industry had the highest expenditure on ICT goods and services in 1998-99. This industry covers accounting, legal, computing and business services, scientific research, property operators and developers and real estate agents. This industry was followed by manufacturing; government administration and defence; finance and insurance; and communication services.

VALUE ADDED TO THE ECONOMY, By Industry, Australia 1998-99

output ($m)
Added ($m)
Percentage of total industry gross value
added (%)

ICT characteristic industries (a):
Wholesale trade
Communication services
Other computer services
Other industries:

a) Please refer to The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (cat. no. 1292.0) for the specific classes that comprise 'ICT characteristic industries'.

Note: Data in this table are considered exploratory in nature and should not be considered as official estimates.


For more information, please contact Andrew Major whose email address is or visit our theme pages on the ABS website.

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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