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WorkCoverSA manages the South Australian Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme, which provides protection to workers and employers in the event of workplace injury. Businesses registered with WorkCoverSA provide information on workplace location, industry and remuneration for administrative purposes. The ABS investigated the potential of using this WorkCoverSA dataset to improve the quality of business measures at geographic areas smaller than the state level, also known as local level economic data. There is strong demand for local level economic data, particularly among government policy makers, planners and analysts seeking to gain a better understanding of the businesses that operate within a given area.
This publication summarises key findings from an analysis of WorkCoverSA records over a four year period (financial years 2009-10 to 2012-13). This is the first time that WorkCoverSA data has been released by the ABS and is somewhat experimental in nature. There are limitations on how this data may be used and interpreted as the WorkCoverSA data is collected primarily for administrative purposes. Drawing the data together has allowed us to investigate the usefulness of the estimates alone and highlights much potential for enhancing usability through integration or analysis with other datasets. Due to significant differences in scope, coverage and definitions these estimates will not align with existing ABS data such as the business counts presented in Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits (cat. no. 8165.0). It is important to note that a change in the number of workplaces is not indicative of economic performance. For example, an increase in the number of workplaces in an area could actually be associated with a decrease in the area’s contribution to gross state product, if, for instance, many of the new workplaces were making a loss. Similarly, an area such as Adelaide may have a different workplace composition from regional areas. Simple comparisons between such areas need to keep these differences in mind. Changes in remuneration payments are also not indicative of economic performance and may not necessarily indicate business size or employee numbers. Further analysis using variables available in other datasets such as employee counts and turnover information may help to provide a more complete picture.
All South Australian businesses are required to register with WorkCoverSA, with some notable exceptions. Exceptions include sole traders (unless they are working as a Director) and nationally employing businesses which are insured by Comcare. Effective from 1 July 2008, certain employers also became exempt from registration and from paying a levy provided their annual remuneration was less than a specified wage threshold (WorkCoverSA 2013). This amount, which is indexed and adjusted annually, was $11,597 for the 2012-13 financial year (WorkCoverSA 2013-14). Reductions were observed after 2008-09 as past employers who met the conditions were slowly cancelled and removed from the system. Consequently, though WorkCoverSA data is available for previous years, this publication presents data from the 2009-10 financial year onwards so that comparisons can be made. For the purpose of this publication, workplaces insured by WorkCoverSA but located outside of South Australia are also excluded.
WorkCoverSA records were also provided to the ABS with the South Australian WorkCover Industrial Classification (SAWIC). To align with existing ABS publications, SAWIC was concorded to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC). Although there is a high degree of confidence in this concordance, it may be a potential source of error. Furthermore, due to delays in the processing and recording of workplace cancellations, workplace counts may be revised by WorkCoverSA in the future.
WorkCoverSA collects location and industry classification information, enabling analysis of workplaces on the 2011 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) and Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC). In approximately two per cent of cases, insufficient or incorrect location information was supplied to WorkCoverSA, preventing these records from being coded to the ASGS. As a result, the number of workplaces in Greater Adelaide and Rest of South Australia (Rest of SA) will not sum to the South Australian total.
The total number of workplaces across South Australia in the 2012-13 financial year was 61,619. Of these workplaces almost three quarters (74% or 45,412) were located in the Greater Adelaide Statistical Area and just under one quarter (24% or 15,029) were located in the Rest of South Australia.
Remuneration (as reported by WorkCoverSA) is made up of the gross wages/salaries and other payments made to or for the benefit of a worker including superannuation contributions, fees or bonuses, payments to sub-contractors as deemed workers, fringe benefits and other allowances. In 2012-13, remuneration payments for all businesses registered with WorkCoverSA totalled $24.5b. Of this amount, $19.9b (81%) was paid by businesses located in Greater Adelaide and $4.0b (16%) was paid by businesses located in Rest of SA.
WORKPLACE COUNTS BY STATISTICAL AREA LEVEL 3 (SA3)
Adelaide City had the highest number of workplaces of any SA3 in South Australia (6,967) representing 11% of all workplaces in the state in 2012-13. Onkaparinga and Charles Sturt, also located within the Greater Adelaide area, followed with 3,663 and 3,500 workplaces respectively. Between 2009-10 and 2012-13 the number of workplaces increased by 9% (596 workplaces) in Adelaide City and decreased by 3% (94 workplaces) and 2% (75 workplaces) in Onkaparinga and Charles Sturt, respectively.
Limestone Coast had the highest number of workplaces of any SA3 outside of Greater Adelaide with 3,135 workplaces in 2012-13. Murray and Mallee, also outside of Greater Adelaide, had 2,851 workplaces in 2012-13. Compared with 2009-10, the numbers of workplaces in the Murray and Mallee and Limestone Coast areas have decreased by 4% (112 workplaces) and 3% (101 workplaces), respectively.
REMUNERATION BY STATISTICAL AREA LEVEL 3 (SA3)
WORKPLACE COUNTS BY INDUSTRY
The Retail Trade industry had the highest number of workplaces in South Australia (11,793) followed by the Construction industry and the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry (6,909 and 6,548 workplaces respectively).
Between 2009-10 and 2012-13 the industries with the largest fluctuations in the number of workplaces were the Administrative and Support Services industry, the Manufacturing industry, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and the Retail Trade industries. In 2012-13 there were 230 (11%) more workplaces in the Administrative and Support Services industry compared with 2009-10. Between 2009-10 and 2012-13 the number of workplaces in the Manufacturing industry, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry and Retail Trade industry decreased by 10% (432 workplaces), 6% (313 workplaces) and 3% (309 workplaces), respectively.
REMUNERATION BY INDUSTRY
In 2012-13, remuneration payments for all businesses in the Manufacturing industry totalled $3.1b. This accounted for 13% of the total remuneration reported for all businesses in South Australia. Remuneration payments by businesses in Retail Trade and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industries each totalled $2.8m. These industries made up 12% and 11% respectively of the total remuneration reported for South Australia.
Between 2009-10 and 2012-13, remuneration payments for businesses increased for all industries except Information Media and Telecommunications, which decreased by 25% from $127.6m in 2009-10 to $96.0m in 2012-13. The highest increase in remuneration payments was for the Mining industry with an increase of 96% from $405.3m in 2009-10 to $792.7m in 2012-13.
WorkCoverSA 2013, Statistical Review 2011-12, Part Two, <http://www.workcover.com/upload/SR_Part-2_2011-12_20131112_FinalDraft2.pdf>, last viewed 8 April 2014.
WorkCoverSA 2013-14, Schedule of Sums, February 2014, <http://www.workcover.com/worker/reference-library/schedule-of-sums>, last viewed 25 February 2014.
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