8168.0.55.001 - Microdata: Business Longitudinal Database, Australia, 2004-05 to 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/12/2012  Reissue
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This chapter provides information on the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD) Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF). The BLD is made available through a CURF released with the approval of the Australian Statistician. The 2004-05 to 2009-10 BLD CURF is accessible through the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL).

The BLD CURF comprises two independent samples (referred to as panels) drawn from the in-scope Australian business population. Panel One contains five reference periods of data (2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09) for 2,732 business records. Panel Two also contains five reference periods of data (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10) for 3,432 business records.


The BLD follows the earlier ABS development of a Business Longitudinal Survey, which ran from 1994 to 1999. Following significant demand from a range of users, specific funding for the development of the BLD was included in the 2004-05 Federal Budget. This funding also specified a requirement for the development of a longitudinal study of businesses in the food industry. These requirements were combined into a single new statistical initiative, the Business Longitudinal Database.

The BLD comprises several longitudinal datasets containing both characteristics and financial data. The BLD allows analyses of changes in the performance over time of a cohort of small and medium businesses. The BLD is specifically designed for longitudinal purposes and not to produce accurate aggregated/population information.

The BLD aims to increase understanding of:

  • the activities or factors that are relevant to business performance;
  • the business characteristics that are associated with these activities or factors.

The BLD design was determined through user consultations conducted in the period leading up to its implementation in 2005. The sample design is based on the use of consecutive panels that represent the Australian business population at the point in time that each panel is introduced into the BLD. A new panel is added each year and remains in the BLD for five years.

Information included in the BLD is drawn from business characteristics data sourced from an ABS survey and financial data sourced from two main administrative sources: the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs). The ABS wishes to acknowledge the assistance of both of these organisations in the development of the BLD and the BLD CURF.

Inclusion of non ABS data on the CURF

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 is also included on the CURF. No individual information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 is provided back to the ATO or Customs for administrative or regulatory purposes. 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 Customs core operational requirements.


The requirement for information in relation to the food industry arose in 2003 when the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) was commissioned to undertake a longitudinal study into small and medium businesses in the Australian Food Industry. Consultation between DAFF and the ABS determined that the best approach was to incorporate these requirements into the broad structure of the BLD. It was considered that the proposed content of the broader BLD, with its focus on business performance and productivity would be appropriate to largely meet the information needs specific to the food industry. Based on this, the Food Industry component of the BLD was developed and essentially involved the inclusion of additional sample in the three relevant industries: Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Manufacturing; and, Wholesale trade.


User feedback is welcomed, specifically in relation to:
  • the range of content in the BLD CURF;
  • the usability of the BLD CURF (including data quality);
  • the usefulness of this Technical Manual;
  • suggestions for improvement to this Technical Manual;
  • suggestions for future BLD CURF content.

Comments and suggestions can be provided via email to innovation.technology@abs.gov.au