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This document was added or updated on 27/07/2020.
Microdata is released at the discretion of the Australian Statistician after an assessment process conducted by the ABS. The ABS has protections in place to ensure microdata access is managed to maintain the confidentiality of individuals and businesses, as required under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and Census and Statistics (Information Release and Access) Determination 2018. This is fundamental to the trust the Australian public has in the ABS, and that trust is essential to the excellent quality of ABS information. Without that trust, survey respondents may be less forthcoming or truthful in answering our questionnaires. For more information, see 'Avoiding inadvertent disclosure' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.
In response to the legislative requirement for the Australian Statistician to release microdata ‘in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of the individual', the ABS:
In addition, we place restrictions on how you may use some types of microdata. These restrictions are set out in the Undertaking signed by each organisation's Responsible Officer, and for some modes of access, in an individual undertaking which is signed by the microdata user. Each individual must agree to the conditions of accessing and using ABS microdata when submitting an application.
Types of microdata
Compare data services to see how microdata compares to other ways to access data.
Applying for microdata
See How to apply for access to microdata. Available microdata provides a full list of microdata, including which microdata are available in each format, and links to product information and data item lists.
If you intend to access microdata in order to undertake analysis, you must apply for access as a member of your organisation. If you are supervising a research project and will be viewing or discussing unit record information or uncleared DataLab output, you also need to be approved to access the relevant microdata product.
Microdata access may be provided to approved Australian organisations including Federal Government, State and Territory governments, universities, non-profit and commercial organisations. Microdata access for international organisations is considered on a case-by-case basis. An individual who is not associated with an organisation may apply for access to microdata. In practice most microdata users are members of an organisation.
The ABS/Universities Australia Agreement provides a range of ABS products and services including microdata to members of participating Australian universities. Students, staff and researchers at participating universities will not be invoiced for TableBuilder and MicrodataDownload, which are fully covered by the agreement. DataLab access charges apply but have been subsidised under the agreement.
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