8601.0 - Service Industries Statistics Newsletter, Nov 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/2008   
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The ABS is conducting a review of its industry statistics program and is seeking input from users of these statistics to help shape the future work program. The Agriculture Industry is outside the scope of this review.

The review will include an examination of user needs and statistical requirements for goods and services industries that are collected through both the annuals collections program, and the traditional rolling service industries program.

The paper provides information on the current ABS industry statistics program, and sets out the criteria that will be used to determine the content of the program in the future.

With the recent move to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06), there has been some movement of classes into and out of some ANZSIC divisions. Attachment A provides a website link to the publication Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 - Class Change Tables, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0.55.003). This publication provides information about ANZSIC 1993 activities which have been moved and /or changed for ANZSIC06, classes which have been split, and the action taken in classifying these activities in the ANZSIC06 classification.

ABS Industry Statistics Program

The ABS industry statistics program consists of two parts:

An annual “core” industry collection covering all industries that provides key measures of financial performance at the ANZSIC group and subdivision for Australia and at the ANZSIC group level for the States and Territories (See Australian Industry cat. no. 8155.0). This information is required for the compilation of the National Accounts.

A rolling program that provides a less frequent but wider range of statistics for specific industries or groups of industries. The rolling program is intended to be flexible and responsive to different user requirements. Examples of information that has been collected as part of the rolling program in the past include: more detailed financial information, business activities, greater geographic detail for specific industries, and products and services sold or produced. The rolling program has not attempted to cover all industries. In the past information has been collected on the construction industry, retail and wholesale and selected service industries (for example accommodation, community services and the legal profession – see Attachment D for further details).


The following criteria will be used to develop the future industry statistics program:

Any proposal or topic must be consistent with the ABS Mission - "to assist and encourage informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community....". In that context three criteria have been developed to assess topics for inclusion. These are:

The topic is for public benefit.
The topic requires the ABS' legislative authority and/or independence.
The ABS is able to maintain the trust of providers.

Meeting these criteria will be a prerequisite before a topic is considered for inclusion in the Industry program.

Having satisfied the criteria that the topic is consistent with the ABS mission, a range of criteria has been developed to assist in determining the priority of topics for inclusion into the Annuals Integrated Collection (AIC) work program. The criteria are not intended to be black and white but rather are indicative of the issues that ABS will consider in determining the AIC program. The criteria developed are:

1. Need for information for policy and planning purposes

Users of industry statistics comprise a range of agencies and organisations with economic, social and environmental policy responsibilities, as well as industry bodies and the general community; and are interested in a diverse range of issues (such as industry policy, health care, education, consumer protection and the Australian cultural identity).

Priority will be given to those proposals that are relevant to the development, implementation and monitoring of government policies, particularly where there is a consensus across different government agencies, levels of government and jurisdictions.

2. Relative economic importance of the industry and the rate of change occurring within the industry.

A combination of factors will be considered when determining the frequency of a surveys' inclusion in the industry statistics program. Of particular importance is the relative significance of an industry combined with the rate of change occurring within the industry. The rate of change and relative significance can be influenced by numerous factors, including technological development, social change, environmental change, consumer confidence, demographic change and legislative change, etc.

An important use of data from the industry statistics program is in the compilation of the National Accounts. While the annual industry core collection is the main source of data for this purpose, the rolling program is the only source for some data items. Given the importance of National Accounts for economic policy, these requirements will be given a high priority.

3. Availability of other sources of the information

ABS wishes to minimise the costs to the community in undertaking its work. These costs include direct ABS costs in conducting the collection as well as an assessment of the costs imposed on providers in providing the information to the ABS. In some circumstances, ABS will assist organisations to access and organise their own data holdings for statistical purposes.

4. Ability and willingness of providers to supply information required

In order to maintain high quality statistics, ABS relies on the willing cooperation of providers. In general, the data requirements need to be limited to information for which businesses would normally maintain records, or might be able to reasonably estimate using other information.

Resources and collection costs

Recent budget cuts have meant current funding does not enable an industry survey program to be conducted with the same intensity as it has been done in the past. The number of collections that can be conducted in any one year within budget will be a function of the size and diversity of the industry being surveyed, the accuracy requirements of users, the complexity of data needs, etc.

An avenue that the ABS has, and will continue to consider, is user funding. This has been successfully adopted in respect of the 1994-95 sports and recreation industries survey, the 1994-95 medical profession survey, the 1995-96 community services industry survey, the 1996-97 cultural industries surveys and the 2003-04 tourism marketing expenditure survey.

Responding to the review

The justification for the inclusion of a particular industry in the survey program will need to be clearly articulated in terms of the criteria above and where possible should also include:

- What the consequences will be if the requirements are not included in the rolling program
- How users have used, or will use, the data from the rolling program.

There are a number of attachments to this paper which provide further information which may assist users determine their level of interest in contributing to this review. These attachments are provided at the end of this newsletter.

Annual Industries Survey Program
November 2008


The ABS is planning to conduct the community services survey in respect of the 2008-09 financial year. Organisations with activities in aged care residential services, other residential care services, child care services, and other social assistances services will form the main part of the population. The remainder of the population will include agencies supporting these activities.

After extensive consultation with major clients, development of detailed specifications for the Community Services Survey 2008-09 have been completed. Form testing, frame design and refining the scope of the survey are currently underway. Further form testing is scheduled for February 2009 with dispatch in August 2009. This survey will be conducted on the basis of the ANZSIC 2006 industry classification. Results are expected to be published between April and June 2010. Output will be closely aligned to that produced in 1999-2000.

For further information contact Melanie Taylor, Director, Goods and Services NSC on (02) 6252 7495, email service.industries.program@abs.gov.au.