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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The statistics presented in this release were derived using a combination of data collected directly by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Please refer to ABS Institutional Environment for more information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations.


The main purpose of the collection was to measure Australian businesses' energy expenditure and usage, environmental and water management practices and eco-innovation during 2008-09, for use in the compilation of environmental accounts.

This survey is divided into three distinct sections which include Water, Energy usage and Environmental management. The information collected will also be used by policy makers and analysts in both the public and private sectors to formulate and evaluate policy in such areas as:

    • climate change (e.g. energy efficiency, renewable energy and the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme)
    • sustainable management of water resources
    • sustainable energy supply and use
    • innovation in Australian industry.

Businesses were 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.

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

Government-owned or controlled Public Trading Enterprises are included.

Although the period covered by the estimates was, in general, the twelve months ended 30 June, some businesses were unable to supply information on this basis. Businesses with off-June reporting periods made a substantial contribution to some of the estimates, for example, the Mining division and Petroleum and coal product manufacturing subdivision of ANZSIC. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended 30 June 2009.

The collection was designed primarily to deliver national estimates of energy use and expenditure and energy and environment management activities for all in-scope industry divisions.


The collection is conducted on an irregular basis with estimates generally available within twelve months of the reference period to which they relate. For the 2008-09 reference period, questionnaires were despatched by ABS in August 2009 and BAS data were received from ATO in November 2009. The estimates were released in July 2010, thirteen months after the end of the reference period.


The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing. The 2008-09 survey used number raised estimation. Use of this methodology allowed high quality statistics to be produced from a sample of 14,404 businesses.

Two types of error can occur in estimates that are based on a sample survey: sampling error and non-sampling error.

Sampling error occurs when a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. It reflects the difference between estimates based on a sample and those that would have been obtained had a census been conducted. One measure of this difference is the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all businesses had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Another measure of sampling error is the relative standard error, which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the sampling error in percentage terms, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. Relative standard errors of key estimates are available in the Technical Note of Energy, Water and Environment Management Survey, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4660.0).
Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error, by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of survey analysts, and efficient data processing procedures.

Non-sampling error also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all businesses selected in the survey. For the 2008-09 survey of energy, water and environment, there was an 88.6% response rate from all businesses that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 11.4% of operating businesses. Imputed responses contributed 7.8% to the estimate of electricity purchases for all selected industries.


This is the first time the Energy, Water and Environment Survey has been conducted. The energy consumption figures presented in this publication may not be directly comparable with energy consumption statistics appearing in other ABS publications for the following reasons:
  • The electricity and natural gas consumption figures presented in this publication represent the cost and quantity of electricity and natural gas purchased by businesses for their own consumption. These figures do not reflect energy consumed which is not directly purchased by the business (as described in the following).
  • For other fuel types, the energy consumption figures presented represent the cost and quantity of energy used by businesses. These figures exclude the value and quantity of energy produced and consumed in the intermediate steps of a business’s production process. For example, when a business purchases black coal to produce coke, and then uses the coke to produce another product, the value and quantity of the intermediate fuel product (coke) is not reflected in the energy consumption figures for that particular business.

Amounts of electricity and natural gas purchased may not equal total amounts used. Electricity and natural gas purchased may include electricity and natural gas consumed by another business through a rent or leasing arrangement. It excludes electricity and natural gas consumed but not paid for by the business (eg invoiced to another business through a rent or leasing arrangement, or self-generated/self-sourced and not purchased from a provider).

The business counts presented in this publication may not be comparable with those appearing in other ABS publications. Estimates of the number of businesses operating in Australia can be derived from a number of sources within the ABS. They may relate to a particular point in time or may be presented as an average annual figure. However these estimates will not always show the same results. Variations will occur because of differing data sources, differing scope and coverage definitions between surveys, as well as variations due to sampling and non-sampling error. More information about business counts can be found in the ABS information paper A Statistical View of Counts of Businesses in Australia (cat. no. 8162.0).

The Energy, Water and Environment Survey was not designed to provide high quality estimates of numbers of businesses for any of the output classifications (for example, employment size or industry) and the number of businesses in this publication are only included to provide contextual information for the user. A more robust source of counts of Australian businesses is available from Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2007 to Jun 2009 (cat. no. 8165.0), which was released in October 2010.


Estimates from the 2008-09 Energy, Water and Environment Management, Australia, are available as original series only, and are not seasonally or trend adjusted.

Although financial and usage estimates relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June of the given year. Business counts relate to those businesses operating at the end of June 2009.

Further information about terminology and other technical aspects associated with these statistics can be found in the publication Energy, Water and Environment Management, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4660.0), which contains detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note and a Glossary.


Data from the 2008-09 Energy, Water and Environment Survey are available in a variety of formats. The formats available free of charge on the ABS website are:
  • an e-magazine with main features, which include key findings commentaries
  • data cubes which contain all published tables.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.