4660.0 - Energy, Water and Environment Management, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/07/2010  First Issue
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Reference period




Improvements to coverage

Definition of key terms

Survey design and estimation

Effects of rounding

Further information


1 This publication presents estimates of energy expenditure and usage, environmental and water management practices and eco-innovation by Australian businesses, for the 2008-09 reference year. These data were compiled from directly collected data from the Energy, Water and Environment Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This is the first time the collection has been conducted. The main topics covered by the survey were energy and water management; expenditure and usage; electricity generation; and environmental management and innovation by Australian businesses.

2 Statistics on water usage will be published in Water Account, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4610.0) in late 2010.

3 This survey shares a common sample with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) annual Economic Activity Survey. The Economic Activity Survey is used to derive estimates of the economic and financial performance of Australian industry and results were published in Australian Industry, 2008-09 ( cat. no. 8155.0).


4 The period covered by the collection was, in general, the twelve months ended 30 June 2009. Where businesses were unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided was used for data other than those relating to counts of businesses. Such businesses made a substantial contribution to some of the estimates presented in this publication. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended June 2009.

5 Although financial and usage estimates relate to the full twelve months, counts of businesses relate to those that were operating at 30 June 2009.

6 The data incorporate all units in scope of the Energy Water and Environment Survey that were in operation at any time during the year. They also include any temporarily inactive units, i.e. those units which were in the development stage or which were not in operation, but which still existed and held or acquired assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).


7 The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are 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)
  • by industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition ( cat. no. 1292.0)
  • by business size.


8 The scope of the Energy Water and Environment Survey is all Australian based activities of business entities with a non-cancelled Australian Business Number (ABN) and an active Income Tax Withholding or Goods and Service Tax role, except for those businesses classified to:
  • Agriculture (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 01);
  • Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 28);
  • Finance (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 62);
  • Insurance (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 63);
  • Public Administration (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 75);
  • Defence (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 76);
  • Private Households Employing Staff (ANZSIC06 Subdivision 96);
  • General Government (SISCA 3000);
  • Finance sector (SISCA 2110, 2121, 2129, 2131, 2132, 2133, 2141, 2142, 2191, 2199, 2301, 2309).

9 Note that government-owned or controlled Public Trading Enterprises are included.


10 This section discusses frame, statistical units, coverage issues and improvements to coverage.


11 Businesses contributing to the estimates in this publication were sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR), which has two components as described below.

Statistical units

12 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

13 The current economic statistics units model was introduced in mid-2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System. This units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the ATO maintained population (ATOMP), while the remaining businesses are in the ABS maintained population (ABSMP). Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABSBR population.

ATO maintained population (ATOMP)

14 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the ATO ABR. Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore the unit registered for an ABN satisfies 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 ATOMP, and the ABN unit is used as the statistical unit for all economic collections.

ABS maintained population (ABSMP)

15 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 the business. These businesses constitute the ABSMP. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The statistical units model described below caters for such businesses.

16 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.

17 Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising:
  • a single legal entity or business entity, or
  • more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the same institutional subsector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) subsector).

18 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 is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.

Contribution of statistical units to the estimates

19 The following paragraphs outline the way in which categories of statistical units contribute to the estimates of financial and economic usage variables presented in this publication.


20 All units in the ABSMP (i.e. TAUs) were eligible to be selected for direct collection.

ABN units

21 All units on the ABSBR not classified as TAUs were ABN units from the ATOMP.

Coverage issues

22 The ANZSIC-based industry statistics presented in this publication are compiled differently from activity statistics. Each ABN unit or TAU on the ABSBR has been classified (by the ATO and the ABS respectively) to its single predominant industry class irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken.

23 Some businesses engage, to a significant extent, in activities which are normally carried out by different industries. For example, a predominantly mining business may also undertake significant amounts of manufacturing. Similarly, a mining business may produce significant volumes of goods which are normally produced in different mining industries. Where a business makes a significant economic contribution to industries classified to different ANZSIC subdivisions, the ABS includes the business in the ABS maintained population, and 'splits' the TAU's reported data between the industries involved. Significance is determined using total income.

24 A TAU's reported data are split, if the inclusion of data relating to the secondary activity, in the statistics of the industry of the primary activity, distorts (by overstating or understating) either the primary or secondary industry statistics at the ANZSIC subdivision level by:
  • 3% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in the same ANZSIC division
  • 2% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in different ANZSIC divisions.

25 The ABS attempts to maintain a current understanding of the structure of the large, complex and diverse business groups that form the ABS maintained population on the ABSBR, through direct contact with those businesses. Resultant changes in their structures on the ABSBR can affect:
  • the availability of such businesses (or units within them) for inclusion in the annual economic collections
  • the delineation of the units, within those groups, for which data are to be reported.

26 The ABS attempts to obtain data for those businesses selected for direct collection and which ceased operation during the year, but it is not possible to obtain data for all of them.


27 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected, and to which the adjustments apply, are small in size. As an example, the effect of these adjustments is generally 5% or less for most ANZSIC industry divisions.

28 Adjustments have been made to include new businesses in the estimates in the period in which they commenced operations, rather than when they were processed to the ABSBR. Adjustments of this type will continue to be applied in future periods.

29 For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).


Renewable energy

30 Energy derived from sources which are either practically infinite, or which are naturally replenishable. Sources include sunlight (solar energy), hydro energy, wind and biological matter.

Non-renewable energy

31 Energy that can't be replaced once used. Most common examples of non-renewable energy resources are fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil.


32 The Energy Water and Environment Survey was conducted in conjunction with the annual Economic Activity Survey. The Energy Water and Environment Survey sample was drawn from the Economic Activity Survey sample which used synchronised stratified random sampling. Businesses identified as being employing businesses at the end of the reference period (based on ATO information), or with turnover exceeding a threshold level, were eligible for selection. Turnover threshold levels were set for each ANZSIC class so that the contribution of surveyed businesses accounted for at least 97.5% of total industry class turnover as determined by Business Activity Statement (BAS) data. A sample of 14,404 businesses/organisations was selected for the 2008-09 Energy, Water and Environment Survey. Each business was asked to provide data mainly by mail out questionnaires.

33 Businesses/organisations which met neither of these criteria are referred to as 'micro non-employing businesses/organisations'. These businesses/organisations did not contribute to the Energy Water and Environment Survey estimates.

34 Aggregate estimates are calculated from all data using the 'number raised' estimation technique.


35 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.

36 Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in this publication have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.


37 A range of further information is available, as described below.

Related publications

38 The following ABS publications present information on energy, water and environment:
  • Energy Account, Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4604.0)
  • Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, Mar 2008 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001)
  • Information Paper: What are Environmental Accounts?, 2008 (cat. no. 4655.0.55.001)
  • Natural Resource Management on Australian Farms, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4620.0)
  • Water Account, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4610.0), scheduled for release in late 2010
  • Water Use on Australian Farms, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4618.0).

39 In addition, the following publications present economy-wide industry data:
  • Australian Industry, 2008-09 (cat. no. 8155.0)
  • Australian System of National Accounts, 2008-09 (cat. no. 5204.0)
  • Business Indicators, Australia, Mar 2009 (cat. no. 5676.0)
  • Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia, Mar 2009 (cat. no. 5625.0).

Other information available

40 More detailed estimates than those included in this publication are available free of charge online from the Statistics view on the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au >. Select Statistics / By Catalogue Number / 46 Environment / 46 Environment / 4660.0 Energy, Water and Environment Management, Australia, 2008-09, then select the Downloads tab.

41 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

42 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

43 Further key references on energy and environmental management can be found through the web sites of the following government departments:


44 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.