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Newsletters - Innovation and Technology Update - Bulletin No. 14, August 2006


1 Introduction

2 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Statistics

2.1 ICT Reference Group
2.2 Household Use of Information Technology (HUIT)
2.3 Use of Information Technology by Households in Queensland
2.4 Business use of Information Technology (BUIT)
2.5 Small Business use of Information Technology
2.6 Farm use of Information Technology (FUIT)
2.7 Internet activity survey
2.8 ICT Satellite Account
2.9 ICT industry survey (ICTIS)

3 Research & Experimental Development (R&D) Statistics

3.1 R&D Statistics User Forum
3.2 Biotechnology Statistics
3.3 R&D Statistics in the 2006 Year Book Australia
3.4 Forthcoming ABS Publications on R&D Statistics
3.5 International Standards

4 Innovation Statistics

4.1 Innovation Analysis Forum
4.2 Innovation Technical Reference Group (TRG)
4.3 Collaborations in Innovation Statistical Analysis
4.4 Forthcoming ABS Publications on Innovation
4.5 Some useful Non-ABS websites on Innovation Statistics

5 Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy (IBCS)

6 ABS information

6.1 Year Book Australia 2006
6.2 Now Available - more free data from ABS online!
6.3 New look for

7 Other

7.1 Subscriber e-mailing list
7.2 Innovation, Science and Technology Theme Page


Welcome to the 14th edition of the ABS Innovation and Technology Statistics Update.The Newsletter provides information on statistical developments and publications in research and experimental development, innovation and technology fields. The Newsletter is prepared by the ABS Innovation and Technology National Statistics Centre (NSC) based in Canberra.

We hope you find the Newsletter useful. We welcome your feedback and comments. Please send your feedback or comments to


The ABS established an ICT reference group in early 2004 involving government, industry, academic and community representatives. The aim of the reference group is to improve the usefulness of ICT statistics collected by the ABS from a variety of sources. The reference group provides a high level forum for understanding, improving and developing ICT statistics, providing members with the opportunity to discuss and consider strategies to address ICT statistical issues.

The most recent meeting of the reference group was held on 14 March 2006. The issues discussed included:
  • Emerging trends and policy issues in ICT statistics.
  • Recent developments and future directions in ABS ICT and related statistics
  • ICT Satellite Account 2002-03
  • Measurement of software statistics/data in the ABS economic statistics
  • Changes to ICT industries with the introduction of Australia and New Zealand standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) 2006
  • Methodological and technical issues relating to survey sample design.

The next meeting of the reference group is expected in September 2006.


The publication Household Use of Information Technology, Australia 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8146.0) was released on 15 December 2005.

Data was collected on the ABS Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) for 2004-05, which covers a proportion of the households in the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The MPHS will be conducted on an annual basis and will serve as a stable collection vehicle for the Household use of IT data. The survey has a sample size of approximately 13,500 households.

The next issue of the publication for the 2005-06 reference period, is expected to be released in December 2006.

For further information about HUIT statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Siddhartha De, Innovation and Technology NSC on 02 6252 6519 or


The publication Use of Information Technology by Households in Queensland, 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8146.3) was released on 31 May 2006. The statistics in this publication were compiled from the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS), conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) each month from August 2004 to June 2005. Information was obtained about the access and use of computers and the Internet by private households.

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Statistical Consultancy Unit in Brisbane on (07) 3222 6012.


The most recent Business Use of Information Technology, 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 8129.0) publication was released on 17 March 2006 and presents the results of the survey conducted in respect of 2004-05. The key finding was a significant increase in the proportion of businesses using broadband technologies to access the Internet.

The 2004-05 Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) survey was the last stand-alone collection to be conducted. From 2005-06, data related to business use of IT will be collected as part of the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS). Section 5 of this Newsletter contain further details of the BCS. This new survey will provide greater flexibility in measurement of a range of business characteristics and more comprehensive integration of these types of data for analysis of inter-relationships between business characteristics and economic outcomes, for example, productivity. It is expected that the main variables included in this publication will continue to be published on an annual basis as part of a release which includes other business characteristics as well. Users of this publication will be contacted later this year with further details on how BUIT type data will be made available from 2005-06 onwards.

If you wish to know more about BUIT statistics, please call Diane Braskic on (08) 9360 5241 or email


The publication Characteristics of Small Business, Australia (Reissue), 2004 (ABS cat. no. 8127.0) was released on 29 April 2005. This publication presents the results of the Characteristics of Small Business Operators Survey which was conducted in June 2004 as a supplementary topic in the ABS Monthly Population Survey.

For further information on small business use of information technology please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or contact Helen Harkin, Business Demographics NSC on 02 6252 6531 or email


The ABS publication Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 2003-04 (ABS cat. no. 8150.0) was released on 28 November 2005. This publication presents statistics on the use of computers and the Internet on farms in Australia. The data were obtained from questions included in the 2003-04 Agricultural Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Information obtained was in respect of the year ended 30 June 2004. Comparative data from the 2002-03 Agricultural Survey have also been included.

Findings from the above survey include:
  • In 2003-04, 55% (72,342) of the 130,526 Australian farms with an estimated value of agriculture earnings (EVAO) of $5,000 or more used a computer
  • About 47% of farms (61,082) used the Internet as part of their business operations. Both computer and Internet usage rates have increased by 1 percentage point from 2002-03.

The 2004-05 edition of this publication is expected to be released in August 2006. The frequency of this collection is currently under review and may be available on a less frequent basis.

For further information about statistics related to farms use of ICT contact Tim Landrigan, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth WA 6842, or phone (08) 9360 5104, or email


The ABS had previously notified users that the frequency of the Internet Activity survey will be reduced to an annual basis, with the next survey due to be conducted in respect of March 2006. More recently, it was decided to review the collection to address ongoing concerns with the quality and relevance of the data, and the availability of reliable data from alternative sources. The outcomes of this review are due shortly and the Internet Activity Survey will recommence in September 2006. The review considered ongoing requirements for the current range of data, new and emerging data needs related to Internet Activity, methodology, scope and data collection mechanisms. It also addressed duplication in reporting requirements of the ACCC, ACMA and the ABS.

If you wish to know more about the review or provide input, please contact Tim Landrigan, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth WA 6842, or phone (08) 9360 5104, or email


The ABS publication Australian National Accounts: Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account, 2002-03, (ABS cat. no. 5259.0) was released on 7 March 2006.

This publication represents the first official satellite account on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Australia. It measures the direct contribution of ICT to the Australian economy in 2002-03--in particular, the contribution of ICT to key macro-economic variables such as gross domestic product (GDP).

Publication tables also include details of Australian production of various ICT products, as well as related imports, exports, household consumption, business spending and investment expenditure. Together, these data form an integrated set of statistics on ICT products within the internationally recognised international System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93).

The publication contains a complete description of data sources and concepts used (frameworks, classifications etc.), as well as a discussion of key methodological issues encountered.

For further information about ICT Satellite account statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Peter Comisari, National Accounts on 02 6252 5381 or email


The ABS publication Information and Communication Technology, Australia, 2004-05 (cat no 8126.0) will be released on 25 September 2006. The publication will present data collected in the biennial ABS survey of Information and Communication Technology Industries, in respect of the year ended 30 June 2005.

The publication will present statistics on the structure and performance of ICT related industries in Australia, including estimates of:

  • Employment, income and expenses;
  • Production, distribution, import and export of selected ICT goods and services;
  • A range of performance indicators by employment size; and
  • Selected state and territory indicators.

If you wish to know more about the review or provide input, please contact Nick Deverson, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth WA 6842, or phone (08) 9360 5311, or email



The first meeting of the newly established R&D Statistics User Forum was held in the ABS on the 4 April 2006. The Forum was an initiative of the ABS to facilitate greater interaction among key users of R&D statistics in Australia to discuss significant issues and provide a direction for R&D statistical data collection activities.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR), Department of Education, Science and Technology (DEST), Department of Communication, Information Technology and Arts (DCITA), Australian National University, the Productivity Commission and CSIRO besides staff from the ABS Innovation and Technology group.

The Forum discussed the following issues:
  • The use of R&D statistics in public policy making and decisions
  • Implications of the implementation of the revised Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 2006) for R&D Statistics users
  • Plans for harmonising the ABS and DITR's R&D statistics collection activities
  • Proposed changes to the format and schedule of key outputs on R&D statistics published by the ABS.

The next biennial meeting of the Forum is scheduled in October 2006.


The most recent Biotechnology Statistical User group meeting, organised by the Biotechnology Australia (BA), was held at the DITR on 5 May 2006. The ABS is a key partner in the Forum. Besides the hosts BA and the ABS, representatives from DEST, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries Forestry (DAFF), Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH), NSW Ministry of Science and Medical Research, Queensland government office of the Chief Scientist and the Queensland government office of Biotechnology attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed the following topics:
  • The use of OECD's current definition of biotechnology as a starting point for use in biotechnology statistical collections and impact assessment studies in Australia;
  • The conceptual model proposed as part of the information development plan (IDP) for biotechnology statistics
  • The prioritisation of policy issues identified for collection of specific statistics in biotechnology. The IDP is expected to provide a framework for the ABS biotechnology statistics collection as required by Australian biotechnology statistics stakeholders.


The Year Book features a chapter on the performance of Australia's R&D and Innovation sector, mostly sourced from latest ABS publications. Please see Chapter 25 in the Year Book Australia 2006 for comprehensive R&D data from the Australian business sector, government sector, higher education sector and private non-profit sector. The entire contents of the Year Book can be viewed free of charge in the ABS website To buy a printed copy or CD-ROM version of the Year Book please see section 6.1 of this Newsletter for details.


Key ABS R&D publications and their expected release dates:

Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia, 2004 (cat. no. 8111.0) - 26 July 2006
Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2004-05 (cat. no. 8104.0) - 28 August 2006
Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2004-05 (cat. no. 8109.0) - 06 October 2006
Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia, 2004-05 (cat. no. 8112.0) - 11 October 2006


The ABS surveys of R&D are conducted in accordance with standard guidelines promulgated by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and contained in the OECD publication, The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities (Frascati Manual 2002), is available free for viewing in

The OECD has recently initiated the revision of its Fields of Science (FOS), an R&D Statistics classification primarily used by the OECD for international comparisons and by the organisation member countries to provide their national R&D statistics to the organisation.

ABS is one of the key national statistical agencies assisting the OECD in the current revision of the FOS classification.


An Innovation Analysis Forum meeting was held in Canberra on 20 April 2006 at the Hyatt Hotel. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR) coordinated the forum and it was opened by Patricia Kelly, Deputy Secretary of DITR. The forum provided a showcase of the results of a range of innovation analyses conducted across Federal agencies, the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University.

The organisations presenting the results of innovation analysis at the forum were:
  • the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources;
  • the Australian Bureau of Statistics;
  • Melbourne Business School and Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, University of Melbourne;
  • Productivity Commission;
  • Commonwealth Treasury; and
  • Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts.

The forum was an ideal mechanism to highlight the results of DITR's collaborative work with the ABS in conducting a number of analyses at micro-data level for the ABS Innovation Survey 2003. Results of the analysis are available in the ABS/DITR joint publication Patterns of Innovation in Australian Businesses 2003.

The ABS gave two presentations at the forum. The first presentation outlined the strategies for the ABS' Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy (IBCS) (Please see section 5 in this Newsletter for further information on the IBCS). The second presentation outlined some preliminary results from a research work that attempts to model the statistical association between business use of IT and innovation. The analysis was based on a linked firm-level data from the 2002-03 Business Use of IT Survey and the 2003 Innovation Survey. For further information about the study into Business Use of IT and Innovation, contact Ruel Abello, Analytical Services Branch, ABS on (02) 6252 6307.

The forum also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss future directions of innovation analysis.


The ABS is planning to hold the next Innovation TRG meeting on 17 August 2006 in ABS House, Canberra. The meeting provides an opportunity for experts in the field of innovation statistics to discuss a range of important issues associated with the ABS Innovation Survey Program and to have input into future directions associated with the program.

The TRG comprises of members from the following organisations:
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources
  • Department of Education, Science and Technology
  • Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts
  • Productivity Commission
  • CSIRO; and
  • Commonwealth Treasury.

The issues planned to be discussed at the next meeting are:
  • 2005 Innovation survey output strategy including potential publication content and electronic release options
  • overview and progress of micro-data collaborations
  • future role of the DITR innovation analysis working party
  • CURF availability;
  • update on IBCS developments including issues related to innovation specific content in the 2006-07 IBCS
  • report on the outcomes from the NESTI meeting in Berlin 2006
  • discussion of the Statistical Working group for the Industrial statistics Committee (SWIC)/Eurostat proposal for internationally comparable innovation data
  • discussion on developments at State level for innovation data and analysis.

Invitations to the Innovation TRG will be sent to members in the near future.

The ABS has formally established three micro-data collaborations over the past 12 months with DITR, the Productivity Commission and the University of South Australia. The collaborations are important milestones for the ABS as they extend the type of analyses performed on ABS Innovation Survey datasets and assist the Australian Statistician in performing his role. The collaborations are undertaken on a consistent basis with the legislation under which the ABS operates.

The collaboration with DITR formally concluded on 7 July 2006 and has resulted to date in two analytical publications that have been well received by users of innovation statistics. The joint ABS and DITR publication, Patterns of Innovation in Australian Businesses 2003 (ABS 8163.0) was published on 16 January 2006. This publication was well received by the user community. A second publication, Innovation Novelty, Collaboration and Related Characteristics in Australian Businesses - An Econometric Analysis was released by DITR on 20 April 2006. It is expected that additional publications from this successful collaboration will be published in the near future.

The collaborations with the Productivity Commission and the University of South Australia are currently in train and it is expected that the publication of results from both projects will be available early in 2007.


The first results from the 2005 Innovation survey are expected to be released in early December 2006. This release will be in the form a summary publication and will contain less detail than the 2003 Innovation publication. However, data at least equivalent to that included in the previous publication will be released electronically progressively via the ABS website in the three months following the first results.

For further information about the 2005 Innovation survey outputs, contact Diane Braskic, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, ABS on (08) 9360 5241 or


Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR)

Department of Education, Science and Technology (DEST)

Productivity Commission (PC)

Backing Australia's ability website

Biotechnology Australia


IBCS is a new approach by the ABS to provide innovation and information and communications technology (ICT) related statistics for businesses. The strategy addresses the increased demand for integrated data on business characteristics to enable analysis of business growth and productivity.

The IBCS aims to integrate the collection and dissemination of information required for:
  • the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD). Data collected for the BLD is obtained from the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) which will provide the ongoing core for the new integrated strategy;
  • the Business Use of Information Technology Survey (BUIT); and
  • the Innovation Survey.

The benefits of the IBCS are twofold.

Firstly, the overall load on businesses in providing the information will be reduced, as the same sample of businesses will be used to collect all the required information from which both longitudinal and cross-sectional reporting can be provided. Therefore, fewer businesses will be asked to supply information than would be the case with three separate surveys.

Secondly, IBCS output will be of higher value to users as the firm-level data in the BLD will be full integrated with the aggregated data outputs from the two surveys, while the two surveys will be integrated with each other. For the first time, users will be able to understand the complex relationships between the various characteristics and activities that drive productivity growth at both the macro and micro levels.

The BCS has a capacity to provide data for the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD). The ABS is currently developing the BLD to provide longitudinal information about businesses. The long term objective is to produce a reliable longitudinal dataset of both characteristics and financial data. The BLD will use BCS and administrative data held by ABS to produce comprehensive analysis of small and medium size businesses in Australia.

The first step of the IBCS is the integration of two current stand alone surveys; the Business Use of Information Technology Survey and the Innovation Survey into the BCS. The BCS will, therefore, provide core information on innovation and ICT annually plus increased data on one of these topics biennially. Therefore the first BCS, which has an ICT focus, will provide core information on innovation carried out by Australian business as well as core and more detailed information on how Australian business use and access ICT. The 2005-06 BCS to be despatched in February 2007 will replace the 2005-06 BUIT.

The second integrated annual BCS will provide core information on the use of ICT as well as core and more detailed information on innovation carried out by Australian business. The 2006-07 BCS to be despatched late in 2007 will replace the 2007 Innovation survey. The BCS will follow this biennial pattern with a July despatch date and outputs available approximately 12 months later.

The IBCS has the provision to include other topics on the BCS to meet user demand. A small contestable module may be available on the survey for specific statistical demands which relate to business characteristics. Topics will need to fit criteria related to the survey parameters, ABS policy and other determinants.



The Year Book Australia 2006 is a comprehensive source of information about Australia.

The Year Book is a comprehensive source of information about Australia. The latest issue is presented in one package with CD-ROM, making it great value for money. Order your copy online, or telephone 1300 135 070, and have your credit card details ready.


You can now access the full range of electronic ABS data free of charge on

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