5269.0.55.001 - Information Paper: A Future Australian Transport Satellite Account: ABS Views, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/10/2011  First Issue
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4.1 Transport usage data such as motor vehicle registrations, motor vehicle use, freight movements, traffic count data and similar data are all useful for many analytical purposes. These statistics though do not fit neatly into established economic statistics frameworks, and their measure in physical units can have limited economic utility as the value of transported goods and the cost of transporting goods varies according to both what is transported and how it is transported. This is an area that requires considerable work in order to link this activity information with other economic, social and environmental data to achieve a holistic measurement of policy impact.

4.2 The ABS has already taken steps to update the structural financial information on the transport industry and on transport activity across the whole of the economy. This updated data would be useful for a futureTrSA and will also be used for updating transport data which feeds directly into the compilation of the ASNA’s input-output and supply-use frameworks.

4.3 As noted above, an important building block for a TrSA is up-to-date data on the supply and use of transport services across the whole of the economy. As a starting point to this process, the ABS released a subset of updated transport statistics on 8 July 2011, as supplementary tables to the publication Australian Industry, 2009-10 (ABS cat. no. 8155.0). These tables contain some more detailed statistics for the transport industry and some very basic indications of transport activity in other industries. In particular, "income from transport services" in all other industries is an indication of secondary transport production in non-transport industries and "Transport and motor vehicle running expenses" gives a very broad indication of business transport activity in all other industries.

4.4 Following on from this, the ABS now has in the field the 2010-11 Economic Activity Survey which will provide critical structural and financial information on the transport industry, including information on industry value-added, employment, wages and salaries, turnover, expenses and capital expenditure. As noted above, the survey will also collect additional data on transport activity across the whole economy. This data will be available in June/July 2012 and then incorporated into the ASNA supply-use and input-output tables progressively in the following two financial years.

4.5 Further, a TrSA could potentially use road transport data from the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU), Motor Vehicle Census (MVC), Census of Population and Housing 2011 and labour force data (the latter two would be key data sources for employment estimates). Current surveys (SMVU, MVC) could provide data on the number of different types of motor vehicles, and volumes of fuel used, by industry, subject to the successful capture and collection of Australian Business Number (ABN) data from businesses in the future.

4.6 There are also a range of data sources available for both general transport statistics and individual transport modes. For example, for general transport statistics, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) publish a range of passenger and freight statistics by mode in the annual publication Australian Transport Statistics Yearbook (latest 2009). ABS’s publication International Trade in Goods and Services (ABS cat. No 5368.0) also contains a range of transport data including services credits (exports) and debits (imports) for passenger and freight services.

4.7 In terms of water transport, BITRE publishes a range of data including International Sea Freight Statistics; Australian Sea Freight; and Australian Maritime Trade. A range of trade statistics is also available from Ports Australia including container statistics. Water transport data is also available from industry bodies such as the Australian Shipowners Association which has a range of publications and reports including commodities carried, container type carried, type of vessels and fuel used.

4.8 There are also a range of air transport statistics which would support a TrSA. ABS would ensure compliance with its confidentiality obligations in release of monetary data for the industry. Options for presentation could include combining with water transport data, as in the Tourism Satellite Account. Regardless, a range of air transport data is published by BITRE (such as the Australian Domestic Airline Activity Annual) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) (including an aircraft register).

4.9 Rail statistics are available from a range of sources also including BITRE and the Australasian Railway Association. The latter has a range of data on ancillary rail transport activity.

4.10 In addition to the linkages described above, the TrSA would also have potential linkages with existing and future environmental accounts. Currently the ABS produces three environmental-economic accounts (Energy, Water, and Land) and plans to include another three (Environment Protection Expenditure, Waste, and Environment Industry Account) in the future. The water and land accounts provide linkages between physical use and values of the assets. The Energy accounts provide information on the supply and use of energy. Of particular importance to the transport industry is the use of refined energy products such as petrol and other fuel. For example, availability of a TrSA would thus present the opportunity to link both industries and products to both energy use and emissions. This would be possible by following the recommendations of the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA). SEEA provides concepts, definitions and classifications consistent with the SNA in order to facilitate the integration of environmental and economic statistics.

4.11 Figure 1 below outlines in detail the linkages between various data sources which would support a TrSA, the SNA framework and specific uses of TrSAs.

Figure 1: Data sources, linkages and uses of an Australian TrSA

Figure 1: Data sources, linkages and uses of an Australian TrSA