Analyse the most detailed microdata in the secure DataLab for your statistical research or modelling, find out about costs and how to access


\(\Large ⚿\) Log into DataLab

What is DataLab

DataLab is the analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake real time complex analysis of detailed microdata. Compare data services to see if detailed microdata in the DataLab is the right service for you.


  • view and analyse unit record information
  • recent versions of analytical software, including R, SAS, Stata and Python
  • virtual access to files that remain in the secure ABS environment
  • all analytical output that you want to use outside DataLab are checked by the ABS before release

Who can access DataLab

Researchers who meet ABS safe people criteria, including:

  • ability to use at least one of the statistical analytical languages available in the DataLab
  • at least three years of either quantitative research experience or university study with a significant component working with quantitative data, or have a referral from an experienced researcher working on the same project
  • located in Australia when accessing the microdata
  • belong to an Australian organisation (international researchers and organisations will be considered on a case by case basis)
  • have completed ABS safe researcher training and refresher training as per ABS refresher policy
  • have completed all relevant undertakings and declarations
  • belong to an organisation with a Responsible Officer Undertaking in place with the ABS
  • have an approved safe project that is for statistical and/or research purposes and demonstrates public value
  • meet additional criteria that apply to specific microdata

Detailed microdata in the DataLab

  • designed specifically for use within the DataLab environment
  • direct identifiers (such as names and addresses) removed
  • further appropriate confidentiality applied within the context of the other security features of the DataLab
  • topics include Census, health, education, labour force, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrants, crime, business, disabilities, ageing and carers
  • datasets include ABS survey results, administrative data collected by other organisations and integrated datasets
  • data item lists are linked in detailed microdata topics in the DataLab

Limited release detailed microdata in the DataLab

Some datasets have been released on a limited basis. This includes BLADE and custom MADIP detailed microdata, which are available for approved projects to the following approved users:

  • government employees
  • government contractors and individuals sponsored by government
  • academics
  • researchers from public policy research institutes


Approved users can access standard detailed microdata in DataLab for approved projects. This includes:

  • ABS survey and census collections
  • Data ABS has collected from other organisations (with custodian approval)
  • Integrated microdata such as:
    • Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) modular product
    • Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) Core plus BLADE standard module (various ABS surveys), Intellectual Property Longitudinal Research Data (IPLORD) and Merchandise Imports and Exports
    • MADIP/BLADE linked data

MADIP/BLADE enduring data custodians and members of participating universities covered by the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement are not charged for standard DataLab access. Charges are applicable for any non-standard DataLab access.

A review of 2022-23 DataLab access charges is underway, and charges will  be updated on this page.

DataLab charges - 1 January to 30 June 2022

Standard DataLab access charges

Type of userStandard fee (per new project)
Standard DataLab access inclusions
  • project establishment
  • first five DataLab users or discussants
  • standard virtual machines
  • standard software (e.g. R, Python, Stata)
  • project storage up to 1TB
Government (Commonwealth, State and Territory, Local)
(GST not applicable)
Approved non-government researchers (including public policy research institutes and academics not covered by the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement)$4,730
Academics working on academic projects at universities covered by ABS/Universities Australia AgreementCovered under ABS/UA Agreement
to 31 Dec 2022
MADIP/BLADE enduring data custodiansN/A

Non-standard DataLab access charges

Non-standard itemGST not applicableIncluding GST
Additional DataLab users or discussants
  • one-off charge per person per project
  • applied when researchers and discussants exceed first five persons per project
  • for projects established before 1 Jan 2022, this charge only applies to people added after 1 Jan 2022
Changes requiring custodian re-approval
  • one-off charge per change per project
  • example: a data, project scope or partner organisation change for projects involving integrated microdata
Use of SAS
  • charge per person per project
  • half financial year charge pending annual charging review
  • charge is contributing to the pool of licence costs
Machines above the large virtual machine size
  • charge per person per project
  • half financial year charge pending annual charging review
$3,250 (minimum)$3,575 (minimum)
Project storage above 1TB
  • charge for each additional TB per project
  • half financial year charge pending annual charging review

Applying for and using DataLab

Step 1. Register and activate your account

Register and agree to conditions of use

  • Use your organisation email address when registering to join your organisation automatically
  • Receive an email asking you to activate your account by clicking on the link
  • If you are not sure if you have previously registered, contact before re-registering
  • If you are a user in more than one organisation, you will need to register separately using each organisation's email address

Step 2. Submit project proposal

Project proposals

  • Projects must be for statistical and/or research purposes and provide public benefit
  • Projects must not be for compliance or regulatory purposes
  • Include the purpose and expected outcomes of your project
  • List the datasets you will be analysing and members of your research team
  • Describe your statistical and analytical experience

Contact the ABS to discuss your project requirements and data options before completing a project proposal

Project proposal templates

\(\Huge 🗎\) ABS DataLab integrated microdata project proposal.docx

\(\Huge 🗎\) ABS DataLab detailed microdata standard project proposal.docx

Step 3. Seek approval

User approval

  • You must have statistical experience or be referred by an experienced researcher on your project team
  • You must be able to use the analytical languages in the DataLab
  • You must have a commitment to protect the confidentiality of data
  • Every member of your project team who will see or discuss uncleared output (whether or not they will be using DataLab) needs to be approved

Project approval

  • Every project needs to be approved by ABS
  • Some projects also require consideration by data custodians

Step 4. Complete safe researcher training

Step 5. Submit documentation

There are legal documents you must sign before accessing microdata in the DataLab

Step 6. Access DataLab

ABS creates your DataLab account

  • We set up a DataLab account for you
  • Request input clearance for your code, notes or data that you need to be loaded for your project in DataLab
  • Use analytical software, including R, SAS, Stata and Python
  • Project work spaces can be created to allow you to work with other approved project users within DataLab

Step 7. Output clearance

Contact us when you want output cleared

  • You must not directly remove anything (data, code, notes etc.) from the DataLab
  • All analytical output that you want to use outside DataLab are cleared by the ABS before release
  • Request output clearance
  • Output will be cleared and provided to you, or you may be contacted for further information

Contact us

Contact us via email at This email account is monitored and we will respond to your query during business standard hours, Monday to Friday.

Privacy policy

The ABS privacy policy and DataLab privacy notice outline how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.