8150.0 - Use of the Internet on Farms, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/08/2009   
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1 Changes to the ABS Agricultural Survey program for 2007-08 resulted in the annual Agricultural Survey being combined with a benchmark survey of land management practices undertaken by agricultural businesses, and a survey of management responses to adverse seasonal conditions experienced by affected agricultural businesses. The combined survey was the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

2 This release contains final estimates for internet use on farms for business operations collected in the 2007-08 ARMS.


3 Since the 2004-05 issue of this release, the ABS has moved to a new economic statistics units model on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) to describe the characteristics of businesses and the structural relationships between related businesses. The units model is used within large and diverse business groups to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at a suitable level. Detailed Explanatory and Technical Notes relating to this change were included in the 2005-06 PDF release of Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0).

4 The units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations:

  • The majority of businesses are simple in structure and are allocated to the business population that is maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). These are termed (by the ABS) Australian Business Number (ABN) units.
  • Businesses with more complex business structures are allocated to the business population maintained by the ABS. For agricultural businesses, these are primarily units which have multiple farm locations.

5 Together these two sub-populations comprise the ABSBR population from which respondents to the ARMS were drawn.


6 The scope of the 2007-08 ARMS was all agricultural businesses recorded on the ABS' Business Register (ABSBR) above a minimum size cut-off. The ABSBR is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is administered and maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

7 A minimum size cut-off of $5,000 was applied to determine whether a businesses was in-scope for the 2007-08 ARMS. The measure of size was based on the ABS' Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO), or a derived value based on Business Activity Statement (BAS) turnover.

8 While the ABSBR does not include all agricultural businesses in Australia, it provides improved coverage from the former ABS-maintained Agricultural Survey frame as most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the ATO for their business operations. The ABR-based register is also more up-to-date as it excludes agricultural businesses with cancelled ABNs and incorporates regularly updated information on agricultural businesses from the ATO.

9 For the 2007-08 ARMS, a sample of approximately 33,000 agricultural businesses was selected from an in-scope population of approximately 150,000 agricultural businesses.


10 The industry classification used in this release differs from previous issues which used the 1993 version of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classifications (ANZSIC). The classification has since been revised and the estimates in this release were produced using the 2006 version. ANZSIC 2006 was developed to provide a more contemporary industrial classification system taking into account issues such as changes in the structure and composition of the economy, changing user demands and compatibility with major international classification standards. For more information, please refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).

11 Comparisons between years where different classifications have been used should not be made. Therefore, results from previous issues have not been included in this release.

12 The data contained in this release have, where appropriate, been classified on a geographical, industry and farm size basis by classifying farms:


13 When interpreting the results of a survey it is important to take into account factors that may affect the reliability of the estimates. Estimates in this publication are subject to both sampling and non-sampling errors.


14 The estimates in this release are based on information obtained from a sample drawn from the total agricultural business population in scope of the collection, and are subject to sampling variability; that is, they may differ from the figures that would have been produced if all businesses had been included in the survey. One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error (SE) which indicates the extent to which an estimate might vary by chance because only a sample was taken. There are about two chances in three that a 'sample' estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all businesses had responded, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two SEs.

15 In this release, 'sampling' variability of the estimates is measured by the relative standard error (RSE) which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers.

16 Most published national estimates have RSEs less than 5%. Estimates that have an estimated RSE between 10% and 25% are annotated with the symbol '^'. These estimates should be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for some purposes. Estimates with an RSE between 25% to 50% are annotated with the symbol '*', indicating that the estimate should be used with caution as it is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes. Estimates with an RSE greater than 50% are annotated with the symbol '**', indicating that the sampling variability causes the estimates to be considered too unreliable for general use. Separate indication of the RSEs of all estimates is available on request.

17 The following table contains estimates of RSEs for a selection of statistics presented in this release. Note that the RSEs shown in this table may be considerably lower than the RSEs which result when these indicators are cross classified (e.g. state by industry, industry by farm size, etc.) in tables of this release.

Relative Standard Errors by selected indicators, 2007–08

Farms using the Internet

States and Territories
New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Nursery and Floriculture Production
Mushroom and Vegetable Growing
Fruit and Tree Nut Growing
Sheep Beef Cattle and Grain Farming
Other Crop Growing
Dairy Cattle Farming
Poultry Farming
Deer Farming
Other Livestock Farming
All other industries
Less than $50,000
$1m or more

18 Proportions formed from the ratio of two estimates are also subject to sampling error. The size of the error depends on the accuracy of both the numerator and the denominator. As a result, the RSE of the ratio may differ from the RSEs of the numerator and denominator.


19 Non-sampling errors may arise as a result of errors in the reporting, recording or processing of the data and can occur even if there is a complete enumeration of the population. These errors can be introduced through:
  • Inadequacies in the question design;
  • Treatment of non-response;
  • Inaccurate reporting by respondents;
  • Errors in the application of survey procedures; and
  • Incorrect recording of answers and errors in data capture and processing

20 Every effort has been made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design and testing of questions, efficient operating procedures and systems, appropriate methodology, and contact with providers to resolve anomalies. Errors in previous cycles data are not normally revised.

21 A glossary of the terms used in this release can be found under the Innovation, Science and Technology and Agriculture Theme pages on the ABS website.


22 ABS releases draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Without their continued, and much appreciated, support the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


23 Other recent ABS releases relating to the use and production of information technology and telecommunication goods and services in Australia include:


24 As well as the statistics included in this and related releases, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Tim Landrigan on Perth (08) 9360 5104.