9269.0 - Business Transport Activity, Australia, 2010-11 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2012  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 and Business Activity Statement data collected by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 provides for the ATO to pass information to the Australian Statistician for the purposes 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. For more information about the institutional environment of the ATO, please refer to Part 2 Corporate governance in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2010–11.


The main purpose of the collection was to measure the use and provision of transport services in the transport industry and across selected industries. This information will be used to update benchmarks for Input/Output and Supply/Use tables which form part of the Australian National Accounts. The data will also provide input into the development of a National Transport Satellite Account. This account will be established to provide the necessary benchmarks and economic indicators of the status and performance of the transport industry as a further aid to policy decisions and assessment.

The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified:

The scope of the collection included all businesses operating in the Australian economy during 2010–11, except for:
  • in most industries, entities classified to the SISCA Sector 3 General government institutional sector. This exclusion particularly affects data presented for Public administration and safety, Education and training and Health care and social assistance (ANZSIC Divisions O, P and Q, respectively), in that the estimates relate only to private sector businesses. However, SISCA Sector 3 General government businesses classified to Water supply, sewerage and drainage services (ANZSIC Subdivision 28, within Division D) are included, so that the estimates include data (for example) for relevant local government organisations;
  • entities classified to ANZSIC Division K Financial and insurance services.
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. In such cases an accounting period for which data could be provided was used for data other than employment. Businesses with off-June reporting periods made a substantial contribution to some of the estimates, for example, the Mining division of ANZSIC. In addition, estimates of financial data in some industries, such as Mining and Manufacturing, are heavily impacted by fluctuating commodity prices. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended 30 June of the relevant year.

The collection was designed primarily to deliver national estimates 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 2010–11 reference period, questionnaires were despatched by ABS in August 2011. The estimates are scheduled for release in June 2012, twelve 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 2010–11 survey used generalised regression estimation. Generalised regression estimation is a form of ratio estimation which makes use of auxiliary data items which are strongly correlated with key data items directly collected by the ABS from businesses. The auxiliary variables used in this survey were turnover and wages from data sourced from the ATO. Use of this methodology allowed high quality statistics to be produced from a small, direct collect sample of 23,103 businesses, including 3,996 classified to the Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry.

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 a Technical Note on Data quality in Business Transport Activity, Australia, 2010–11 (cat no. 9269.0).

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 2010–11 Transport survey, there was an 84.7% response rate from all businesses across the economy that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 15.3% of operating businesses. The response rate for businesses surveyed and found to be operating within the Transport, Postal and Warehousing division was 87.5%. Data were imputed for the remaining 12.5% of these operating businesses. This imputation contributed 6.9% to the estimate for Income from transport services for the Transport, Postal and Warehousing division.


A data cube presenting transport related economic and financial activity was released as part of Australian Industry, 2009–10 (cat.no. 8155.0) in July 2011. Whilst the tables presented in Business Transport Activity, Australia, 2010–11 are in many ways comparable to the tables presented in this earlier publication, time series comparisons of transport activity based on the data presented in these two publications should be undertaken with some caution. The transport collection conducted as part of the 2009–10 EAS was introduced as an indicator in preparation for the running of the 2010–11 survey. As such a number of improvements were introduced for the 2010–11 collection with regards to question wording, sample design and conceptual definitions. Although the aim of these changes is to increase data quality, in some cases they have the effect of distorting apparent movements between data items published in both years. With this in mind the 2010–11 publication tables do not include 2009–10 data. When differences are considered significant, footnotes have been added to the tables detailing includes or excludes that have changed between years. Please see the Glossary for full definitions of all published data items.


Estimates released in Business Transport Activity, Australia, 2010–11 are available as original series only, and are neither seasonally nor trend adjusted.

Although financial estimates in this release relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June of the given year.

Further information about terminology and other technical aspects associated with these statistics can be found in the publication Business Transport Activity, Australia, 2010-11 (cat. no. 9269.0), which contains detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note on Estimation methodology, a Technical Note on Data quality and a Glossary.


Data in Business Transport Activity, Australia, 2010–11 are available in the following formats available free of charge on the ABS website:
  • main features, which include key findings commentary
  • data cubes which contain all published tables.