8168.0.55.001 - Microdata: Business Characteristics, Australia, 2008-09 to 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2016   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs can be found on the Microdata Entry Page page.


The directly collected component of the BLD CURF comes from the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS). The BLD CURF also includes financial data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (formerly Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs)).

The BLD CURF is designed to enable longitudinal micro level analysis. While the sample is stratified by industry division and employment size, it is not designed to produce cross-sectional or population estimates and, therefore, users are discouraged from doing so. The major consideration when allocating the sample in the first year of each panel is to ensure that enough live sample will be available at the end of five years to facilitate longitudinal analysis.

The BLD CURF includes data directly collected by the BCS, covering topics such as innovation practices and barriers; Information Technology use; market share and competition, barriers to business performance; employment arrangements; and skills utilised within the business. These details are provided for the reference periods included within the BLD. No geographic information is included in the BLD.

Microdata from the Business Longitudinal Database are available as an Expanded CURF. The data item list shows the level of detail available in microdata format and can be accessed from the Downloads tab.

For more information on the survey methodology, concepts and definitions see the Summary tab.


This is the fourth iteration of the BLD CURF. It contains data from a sample of the in-scope Australian business population, and is referred to as a panel. Panel Four contains five years of data (from 2008-09 to 2012-13) for 2,513 units selected in July 2009. A new panel is initiated each year, and data is released after five years worth of data has been collected. The data from Panel Five is scheduled for release in July 2016 and will cover the reference periods 2009-10 to 2013-14.


The BLD CURF is unique in the fact that it provides longitudinal data on Australian businesses enabling finer level analysis on topics such as business productivity and innovation over time.

Steps have been taken to confidentialise the data on the CURF to ensure businesses cannot be identified while at the same time maximising the usefulness of the content. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available through the following link: CURF confidentiality

Australian Tax Office (ATO) data included in the BLD CURF have been supplied to the ABS under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 which requires that such data are only used for statistical purposes. Customs data sourced from the Department if Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, is also included on the CURF. No individual information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 is provided back to the ATO or DIBP for administrative or regulatory purposes. Please note that this data is "as reported" to the regulatory bodies and any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses are in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and are not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's or DIBP's core operational requirements. The ABS wishes to acknowledge the assistance of both of these organisations in the development of the BLD.


Previous iterations of the BLD CURF varied in format and content as the product was being developed. This release has only minor changes from the previously released Panel Three BLD CURF. Changes include the creation of new variables, the deletion of some variables, and the availability of expanded detail for some data items.


The information within this product should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information including Survey Methodology, File Structure, Using the CURF, Conditions of Use and the Data Item List and Glossary.


This Expanded CURF can only be accessed through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and the DataLab. For general information on microdata and how to apply for access, refer to the Microdata Entry Page, contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au or phone (02) 6252 7714.