TableBuilder: Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia

Provides data on nature, nature conservation, and environmental issues


This guide provides information about the release of microdata from the 2011–12 Community Engagement with Nature Conservation Survey (CENC) for tabulation using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Table Builder (TB).

Microdata are the most detailed information available from a survey and are generally the responses to individual questions on the questionnaire or data derived from two or more questions. They are released with the approval of the Australian Statistician.

This guide should be used as a reference document when accessing the microdata as it explains the data content, technical details and the conditions of use.

Available products

Microdata for the CENC Survey are available through the TableBuilder product - an online tool for creating tables and graphs that can be accessed from the ABS website.

Further information about TB and about microdata in general including how to apply is available from the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website.

This TB product is the only microdata release for the 2011–12 CENC Survey. For summary information on the survey, please see Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia (cat. no. 4602.0.00.002).

Data available on request

Data obtained in the survey but not contained on the TB may be available from the ABS on request, as statistics in tabulated form, on a fee-for-service basis.

Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, special tabulations can be produced incorporating data items, populations and geographic areas selected to meet individual requirements. These are available on request, on a fee for service basis. Contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or for further information.

Survey methodology

General information about the 2011–12 Community Engagement with Nature Conservation (CENC) Survey, including summary results, are available in the publication Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia (cat. no. 4602.0.00.002). All summary tables, in Excel spreadsheet format, can be accessed from the CENC Downloads page. Detailed information about the survey including scope and coverage, survey design, data collection methodology, weighting, benchmarking and estimation, and the reliability of estimates can be accessed from the CENC Explanatory Notes page.

File structure

The 2011–12 Community Engagement with Nature Conservation (CENC) Survey collected data from 12,791 respondents across Australia, about their nature conservation activities in the 12 months prior to enumeration of the survey. The questionnaire contained eight modules and approximately 60 questions, which resulted in about 55 data items.

A list of all data items available for use within the TableBuilder, including relevant population and classification details can be found in the Data downloads section.

The 2011–12 CENC Survey is a single level survey, with data available only at the Person level

The following image depicts the Person level including the sub–categories under which the individual data items have been grouped.

Person level screen shot

Using the TableBuilder

For general information relating to the TableBuilder (TB) or instructions on how to use features of the TB product, please refer to the User Manual: TableBuilder (cat. no. 1406.0.55.005).

More specific information relevant to the Community Engagement with Nature Conservation Survey (CENC) TB, which should enable users to understand, interpret and tabulate the data, is outlined below.

Counting units and weights

Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each person. The weight is the value that indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

Population estimates of persons can be obtained from the 2011–12 CENC TB. When producing tables in TB, the summation option or counting unit will automatically be added to the table.

As a result of only Person level data being available on the CENC TB, there is only one set of weights on the file i.e. person. The following image shows the available Summation Options. Person level has two options: Continuous items and Person weight. These options contain continuous data items, which are discussed below.

Example of available summation options

Continuous data items

Some continuous data items are allocated special codes for certain responses (e.g. 9999 = 'Not applicable'). When creating ranges for such continuous items for use in the TB, these special codes will NOT be included in these ranges. Therefore, the total shown only represents 'valid responses' of that continuous data item rather than all responses (including special codes).

For example:

The following table shows the responses for 'Annual personal income from all sources' by 'Sex of person'. The continuous values of the data item are contained in the 'A valid response was recorded' row. If the actual continuous values are to be displayed, then it is necessary to create a range for them.

Example of table showing the responses for Annual personal income from all sources by Sex of person

Here is the same table with a range applied for the continuous values of 'Annual personal income from all sources' (Annual personal income). Note that the numbers of respondents for the other responses 'Not stated' and 'Refusal' no longer contribute to the table.

Example of Annual personal income from all sources

Any special codes for continuous data items are listed in the Data Item List in the Data downloads section.

Field exclusion rules

To ensure confidentiality, TB prevents the cross-tabulation of certain data items which could result in respondents being identified. These are known as field exclusion rules. If field exclusion rules exist for certain data items, users will see the following message: “Maximum number of fields in exclusion group exceeded.”

Zero value cells

Tables generated from sample surveys will sometimes contain cells with zero values because no respondents that satisfied the parameters of the cell were in the survey. This is despite there being people in the population with those characteristics. That is, the cell may have had a value above zero if all persons in scope of the survey had been enumerated. This is an example of sampling variability which occurs with all sample surveys. Relative standard errors cannot be generated for zero cells. Whilst the tables may include cells with zero values, the ABS does not publish such zero estimates and recommends that TB clients do not use these data either.

Multi-response data items

A number of the survey's data items allow respondents to report more than one response. These are referred to as 'multi-response data items'. An example of such a data item is pictured below. For this data item, respondents can report all the types of voluntary work they have undertaken for nature conservation in the last 12 months.

Example of Multi-response data items

For the data item in the example above, a question is asked in the survey which collects all the types of nature conservation activities undertaken in last 12 months. As a person may indicate more than one type of activity, this means they can supply multiple responses to this data item.

When a multi-response data item is tabulated, a person is counted against each category for which they have provided a response (e.g. each type of voluntary work undertaken for a nature conservation organisation in the last 12 months).

Similar to a single response data item, a person not within the appropriate population will fall into the ‘Not applicable’ category (e.g. a person who did not do any type of voluntary work for a nature conservation organisation in the last 12 months and is therefore considered ‘Not applicable’ for this data item).

Therefore, each person in the applicable population is counted at least once, while some persons are counted multiple times. Multi–response data items can be identified by '<multiple response>' in the data item list, which can be accessed from the Data downloads section. The total for multi-response data items is therefore less than or equal to the sum of its components. In the example below, the sum of the components is 17,542.1 whereas the total population is 17,200.2.

Example of Types of voluntary work undertaken for nature conservation organisation in last 12 months

Not applicable categories

Most data items include a 'Not applicable' category. The 'Not applicable' category comprises those respondents who were not asked a particular question(s) and hence are not applicable to the population to which the data item refers. In the example above, 16,720.1 people did not undertake any type of voluntary work for a nature conservation organisation in the last 12 months and therefore are not applicable to the data item. The classification value of the 'Not applicable' category, where relevant, is shown in the data item list (see the data item list in the Data downloads section).

Data item list

The Community Engagement with Nature Conservation Survey (CENC) TableBuilder (TB) file contains 12,791 confidentialised respondent records from the survey. Data items are generally available for cross tabulation using the TB, although some restrictions may apply.

A complete list of all data items included on the CENC TB file is provided in an Excel spreadsheet that can be accessed from the Data downloads section. The population applicable to each data item is also shown. Multi–response data items can be identified by the '<multiple response>'.

Users intending to purchase the TB product should ensure the data they require, and the level of detail required, are available and applicable for the intended use.

Conditions of use

User responsibilities

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 includes a legislative guarantee to respondents that their confidentiality will be protected. This is fundamental to the trust the Australian public has in the ABS, and that trust is in turn fundamental to the excellent quality of ABS information. Without that trust, survey respondents may be less forthcoming or truthful in answering ABS questionnaires. For more information, see 'Avoiding inadvertent disclosure' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.


In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, data in TableBuilder (TB) are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. The release of microdata must satisfy the ABS legislative obligation to release information in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation.

This confidentiality process is applied to avoid releasing information that may lead to the identification of individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses.

Prior to being granted access to TB, users must agree to the following ABS Terms and Conditions of TB Access:

  • understand that the ABS has taken great care to ensure that the information on the survey output record file is correct and as accurate as possible and understand that the ABS does not guarantee, or accept any legal liability whatsoever arising from, or connected to, the use of any material contained within, or derived from TB
  • understand that all data extracted from the survey output record file through TB will be confidentialised prior to being supplied and that as a result, no reliance should be placed on small cells as they are impacted by random adjustment, respondent and processing errors
  • inform the ABS, through their Contact Officer, upon leaving their organisation so that their access is disabled
  • not provide their TB user ID and password access to any other person or organisation.

Conditions of sale

All ABS products and services are provided subject to the ABS Conditions of Sale. Any queries relating to these Conditions of Sale should be emailed to


Microdata access is priced according to ABS Pricing Policy and Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines. For details refer to ABS Pricing Policy on the ABS website. For microdata prices refer to the Microdata prices web page.

How to apply for access

Clients wishing to access the microdata should read the How to Apply for Microdata web page. Clients should familiarise themselves with the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs and other related microdata information which are available via the Microdata web pages, before applying for access.

Australian universities

The ABS/Universities Australia Agreement provides participating universities with access to a range of ABS products and services. This includes access to microdata. For further information, university clients should refer to the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement web page.

Further information

The Microdata Entry page on the ABS website contains links to information which will assist users to understand and access microdata. For further information users should email or telephone (02) 6252 7714.

Data downloads

Data item list

Definitions and quality

The publication Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia (cat. no. 4602.0.00.002) includes a list of the Abbreviations used in the microdata for the 2011-12 Community Engagement with Nature Conservation Survey. The publication also includes a Glossary containing definitions of selected terms.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4602.0.30.001.

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