8155.0 - Australian Industry, 2001-02 and 2002-03  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2005   
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1 This publication, Australian Industry, 2001-02 and 2002-03 (cat. no. 8155.0), presents data for a large range of industries, together with some comparative statistics for 2000-01. This is the first issue where the Australian Business Number (ABN) is the primary basis for all the statistical units used to collect the data (for details, see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 5-10).

2 The estimates presented have been derived using a combination of directly collected data from the annual Economic Activity Survey (EAS), conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and business income tax (BIT) data provided by businesses to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). To produce estimates at the state and territory level, this combined dataset was then matched to a number of other ABS direct collections to obtain further state/territory dissections. These state and territory estimates as well as the national ANZSIC class estimates (in Chapter 3) are considered to be experimental, and should be used with care. To assist analysis, users should refer to Technical Note 2.

3 For the last published issue of this publication (which related to 2000-01), the employing ABS 'management unit' was the sole statistical unit used to directly collect data (which, when combined with ATO BIT data, became the published estimates). Users should note that this earlier adoption (from 1996-97) of the use of ATO BIT data (including for non-employing businesses) differentiated the data published in Australian Industry from those in the 2000-01 issues of industry-specific publications, such as Manufacturing Industry, Australia (cat. no. 8221.0), which were based only on directly collected, management unit based data.

4 For more information about the changes to the EAS collection's statistical infrastructure and how they affect data outputs, see Appendix 1. For information on how the ABS has been using ATO data to compile economic statistics, refer to Information Paper: Experimental Estimates, Australian Industry, a State Perspective, 1998-99 (cat. no. 8156.0), Appendix 1 - Use of ATO Data in Economic Statistics.


5 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABS Business Register (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 also to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

6 In mid 2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System (TNTS), the ABS changed its economic statistics units model. The new units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the ATO maintained population, while the remaining businesses are in the ABS maintained population. Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABSBR population.

ATO maintained population

7 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the whole-of-government register of businesses, the Australian Business Register (ABR), which is maintained by the ATO. Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore 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, and the ABN unit is used as the statistical unit for all ABS economic collections.

ABS maintained population

8 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 ABS maintained population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new 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 (SISCA) sub-sector).

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 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.

9 For more information about the effects of the introduction of the new economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).

Comparison over time

10 For the 2000-01 year, the EAS collection used the management unit as the statistical unit for direct collection. For 2001-02 and later years, the statistical unit is the ABN unit for businesses with simple structures, and the TAU for businesses with complex structures. In most cases, ABN units / TAUs concorded with the management units used prior to the 2001-02 year.


11 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) (cat. no. 1292.0).

12 The scope of the EAS estimates in this publication consists of all business entities in the Australian economy, except for those classified to:
  • SISCA Sector 3 GENERAL GOVERNMENT, which particularly affects data for EDUCATION and HEALTH AND COMMUNITY SERVICES (ANZSIC Divisions N and O, respectively), in that data in this publication for these industries comprise only that for private sector business entities. On this same basis, data for ANZSIC Division M GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND DEFENCE are also excluded. However, SISCA Sector 3 GENERAL GOVERNMENT businesses classified to MINING, MANUFACTURING and ELECTRICITY, GAS AND WATER SUPPLY (ANZSIC Divisions B, C and D, respectively) are included in the new infrastructure estimates as contained in this publication, whereas they are excluded from the 2000-01 'old basis' estimates. The industry most affected by this change is ELECTRICITY, GAS AND WATER SUPPLY (ANZSIC Division D), where (for example) relevant local government TAUs are now included.

13 Note that government-owned or majority-owned Public Trading Enterprises are included.

14 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 a single industry class irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken. The industry class allocated is the one which provides the main source of income.

15 Some businesses engage, in a significant way, 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.

16 A TAU's reported data will be split if the inclusion of data relating to the secondary activity in the statistics for 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.

17 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.


18 For each of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 collections, a sample of approximately 20,000 businesses was selected for the directly collected part of the EAS collection. Each business was asked to provide employment details and data obtained from statements of financial performance and position, mainly by mail out questionnaires. The survey population was then matched to ATO BIT files. Key financial data representing approximately 2,368,300 businesses were then used to supplement the ABS's directly collected information. For details, see Technical Note 1.

19 The EAS sample is not selected on the basis of state/territory for single state/territory businesses. As a result, an increase in sampling error in some states/territories may have occurred. To some extent, any increase in sampling error will have been offset by the expanded use of ATO BIT data, which provides an increase in sample size across each state/territory. The sampling error may become more significant at the ANZSIC division and subdivision levels, depending on the number of businesses that each business in the sample represents in that particular state/territory. For further details, see Technical Notes 2 and 3.


20 The period covered by each collection is, in general, the 12 months ended 30 June. Where businesses are unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than that relating to employment.

21 Financial data presented incorporate all units in scope of the EAS collection that were in production stage 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 production, but which still existed and held assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).


22 For information on this subject, see Technical Notes 2 and 3.


23 This publication presents a wide range of data that can be used to analyse business and industry performance.

24 Differences in accounting policy and practices across businesses and industries can lead to some inconsistencies in the data input to the statistics. While much of the accounting process is subject to standards, there is still a great deal of flexibility left to individual managers and accountants in the accounting policies and practices that they adopt. For example, acceptable methods of asset valuation include historical cost, replacement cost and current market value. The timing of asset revaluations also varies considerably across businesses. The way profit is measured is affected by management policy on such issues as depreciation rates, bad debt provisions and write off, and goodwill write off.

25 A range of performance measures, usually referred to as ratios, can be produced from the data available from businesses' statements of financial performance and position. The ratios presented in this publication comprise:

  • profitability ratios, which measure rates of profit on income, funds and assets
  • liquidity ratios, which measure the ability of businesses to meet short-term financial obligations, i.e. how quickly selected assets can be converted into cash
  • debt ratios, which indicate the extent to which debt is used as an alternative to financing through equity and the ability of businesses to meet the cost of such financing
  • investment ratios, which indicate the capacity for and extent of business investment in capital assets.

26 A further explanation of each ratio can be found in the Glossary.

27 Those ratios compiled from a combination of flow and level items need to be treated with additional caution. The information contained in statements of financial position indicate the level of assets and liabilities at a point in time. Information contained in statements of financial performance summarise the flows (or transactions) which have taken place during the past financial year. Ratios which include both level and flow items in their derivation may be volatile due to the timing differences involved. It may, therefore, be preferable to base any analysis on a range of data presented rather than focusing on one variable.

28 The varying degree to which businesses consolidate their accounts may also affect the ratios calculated.

29 The above limitations are not meant to imply that analysis based on these data should be avoided, only that they should be borne in mind when interpreting the data presented in this publication.


30 For details of the process used to derive state/territory proportions from EAS data, refer to Technical Note 1 paragraphs 13-18. Users should also note that in respect of the state/territory level estimates presented in this publication:

  • Differences in scope, coverage and business classifications exist between the ABS collections used to obtain state/territory dissection information for businesses. In some instances, state/territory dissections have been based on quarterly rather than annual data due to the unavailability of annual state/territory estimates.
  • Sales-based proportions obtained for each multi-state/territory business have been used to apportion EAS total income, total expenses and operating profit before tax (OPBT) data across the states/territories for that business. Similarly, wages-based proportions for such businesses have been used to apportion EAS wages and salaries data across states/territories.
  • ABS collections used to obtain state/territory proportions for multi-state/territory businesses are not always consistent in the wording of the state/territory-based questions. These different treatments are necessary depending on the industries in scope of each collection. Wherever possible, the state/territory dissections for a particular industry have used the data source best suited to that industry. In some cases, employment has been used as a proxy for obtaining state/territory proportions.
  • Due to the nature of their activity, some businesses find it difficult to respond to state/territory-based questions. Examples include businesses in the COMMUNICATION SERVICES industry and, to a lesser extent, the TRANSPORT AND STORAGE industry, where the activity of the business is not necessarily confined by state/territory boundaries. As much state/territory information as possible was collected for each selected business; however, it is recognised that some identified single state/territory businesses may actually operate across more than one state/territory. In most cases, the effect on the estimates due to this factor is minimal - refer to Technical Note 1.


31 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR. The effects of these adjustments is generally 1% or less for most ANZSIC industry divisions and for most states and territories.


32 Employment estimates (and related ratios) have been excluded from this issue, due to reliability problems with the modelling of ATO BIT data intended to provide employment estimates for non-sampled ABN units. When these problems are resolved, estimates will be made available.


33 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely 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.


34 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications:

      Australian Labour Market Statistics, cat. no. 6105.0 - Quarterly publication
      Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, cat. no. 5206.0 - Quarterly publication
      Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2002-03, cat. no. 5220.0, released on 12 November 2003 - Annual publication
      Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000, cat. no. 5216.0, released on 21 December 2000 - Irregular publication
      Business Indicators, Australia, cat. no. 5676.0 - Quarterly publication
      Business Operations and Industry Performance, Australia, 2000-2001, cat. no. 8140.0, released on 6 December 2002 - Final issue
      Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewerage Operations, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03, cat. no. 8226.0, released on 25 November 2004 - Annual publication
      Experimental Estimates: Regional Small Business Statistics, Australia, 1995-96 to 2000-01, cat. no. 5675.0, released on 2 February 2004 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: ABS Statistics and The New Tax System, cat. no. 1358.0, released on 26 April 2000 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System], cat. no. 1372.0, released on 6 May 2002 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: Improvements to Australian Bureau of Statistics Quarterly Business Indicators, cat. no. 5677.0, released on 6 July 2001 - Irregular publication
      Job Vacancies, Australia, cat. no. 6354.0 - Quarterly publication
      Labour Costs, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 6348.0.55.001, released on 11 June 2004 - Irregular electronic publication
      Labour Price Index, Australia, cat. no. 6345.0 - Quarterly publication (renamed from Wage Cost Index, Australia)
      Manufacturing Industry, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03, cat. no. 8221.0, released on 17 December 2004 - Annual publication
      Mining Operations, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03, cat. no. 8415.0, released on 4 November 2004 - Annual publication
      Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia, cat. no. 5625.0 - Quarterly publication
      Private Sector Construction Industry, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 8772.0, released on 17 December 2004 - Irregular publication
      Producer Price Indexes, Australia, cat. no. 6427.0 - Quarterly publication
      Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 8104.0, released on 6 September 2004 - Annual publication
      Retail Industry, Australia, 1998-99, cat. no. 8622.0, released on 13 October 2000 - Irregular publication
      Wage Cost Index, Australia, cat. no. 6345.0 - renamed, from September Quarter 2004 issue. See Labour Price Index, Australia
      Wholesale Industry, Australia, 1998-99, cat. no. 8638.0, released on 18 October 2000 - Irregular publication
      Year Book Australia, 2004, cat. no. 1301.0, released on 27 February 2004 - Annual publication

35 A range of publications presenting detailed results of surveys of selected service industries are also produced by the ABS. In general, these publications contain considerable detail about the employing sector of each industry. Appendix 2 discusses the comparability between data from these surveys and as included in this publication.

36 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or from this site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.


37 Further data about Australian industry, derived from the annual Economic Activity Survey, are expected to be available in these electronic products:

  • Australian Industry: Industry Concentration Statistics, Data Report (cat. no. 8155.0.55.001) provides the proportions of sales, persons employed and industry value added that are concentrated among the 20 largest enterprise groups operating in each industry. The 'largest 20' are further subdivided by groups of four, grouping the first four enterprise groups, the second four and so on.
  • Australian Industry: States, Territories and Australia, Industry Subdivision - Experimental Estimates, Data Report (cat. no. 8155.0.55.003) provides key data items to the ANZSIC subdivision (2 digit) level.
  • Australian Industry: Summary of Industry Performance, Australia, Data Report (cat. no. 8155.0.55.002) provides a one page summary of each industry's structure, income statement, statement of financial position, economic values, business averages and performance ratios to the ANZSIC subdivision (two digit) level. For most ANZSIC subdivisions, separate tables are also available by size of business.

38 These products are purchasable separately, or accessible through the ABS web based information service, AusStats. AusStats is a subscription service, providing access to a comprehensive range of ABS material. It is available online, as part of the ABS web site where both free and charged data are integrated.

39 Whilst data for FINANCE AND INSURANCE (ANZSIC Division K) have been excluded from published outputs, data are available on request for the component ANZSIC industry subdivision SERVICES TO FINANCE AND INSURANCE (ANZSIC Subdivision 75). Inquiries should be directed to John Ridley on Sydney (02) 9268 4541.


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

41 Information is also available online via a selection of industry-specific theme pages. To access these theme pages, go to the ABS web site home page <https://abs.gov.au>. Open the Industry link shown under THEMES (located in the left-side navigator 'Quick links'), then select one of the links shown under Industry.


42 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items. Due to data being adjusted for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 31), this 'rounding rule' also applies to counts of businesses.

43 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.