About the DataLab

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DataLab is the data analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake interactive (real time) complex analysis of microdata. Virtual access to DataLab is currently being trialled.

DataLab features

  • view and analyse unit record information
  • recent analytical software, including R, SAS, SPSS, Stata and Python
  • files 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 and can't access DataLab during the trial?
  • Federal and state government agency researchers may apply for virtual or on-site access to detailed microdata and expanded Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs).
  • Other Australian organisation researchers, such as higher degree university researchers, may apply for on-site access at one of the ABS offices.
  • International organisations and undergraduate students from Australian universities are not able to access the DataLab at this stage of the trial.
  • Prospective users should contact the ABS if their organisation does not currently meet the requirements for virtual or on-site access. The ABS will consider requests to add organisations and users to the trial on a case-by-case basis.


Access to the DataLab is restricted to authorised users. To become an authorised user, you must meet these requirements:

DataLab conditions of access: You must comply with the DataLab conditions of access and other requirements contained in the Responsible Use of Microdata Guide. This includes:
Onboarding: You must attend an in-person DataLab onboarding session.

Undertakings: Microdata undertakings are legal documents that organisations you must sign before being approved to access the DataLab. The documents are available from the Downloads tab of the Responsible Use of Microdata Guide.
  • The head of your organisation (or someone with the appropriate delegation) must agree to and sign a Responsible Officer Undertaking.
  • After completing DataLab training, you must agree to and sign an Individual Undertaking and a Declaration of Compliance.

Experience in statistical analytical languages: You must be experienced in one of the analytical languages available within the DataLab. If you do not have knowledge of these analytical languages, seek guidance and expertise within your organisation prior to using microdata. The ABS does not provide a code advisory service. The DataLab environment contains recent versions of R (R Studio), SAS, SPSS, Stata and Python (Anaconda) software. Word, Excel, Acrobat Reader and UltraEdit are also available. Other software packages may be evaluated by the ABS for inclusion if there is sufficient user demand.

Statistical experience: You must have sufficient knowledge, experience and statistical capability necessary for handling information, as well as a commitment to protecting and maintaining the confidentiality of data. This may be through statistical qualifications or research experience.

Statistical purpose: Access to microdata in the DataLab must be for statistical or research purposes. Access for regulatory or compliance purposes is not permitted. Research projects using detailed microdata must also provide public value.

Conditions of use: You must be registered and joined to your organisation in the Registration Centre. When registering, you must agree to the Conditions of use.


There are two types of microdata files available within the DataLab environment:

Detailed microdata files have been designed specifically for use within the DataLab environment. Detailed microdata have direct identifiers (such as names and addresses) removed and have had further appropriate confidentiality applied within the context of the other security features of the DataLab. Detailed microdata files can be used by experienced researchers within the DataLab to undertake sophisticated and in-depth analyses.

Expanded CURFs (Confidentialised Unit Record Files) are less detailed than Detailed Microdata, but are more widely available to researchers.

There are a wide range of topics including health, education, labour force, migrants, crime, business, disabilities, ageing and carers. Some datasets provide access to ABS survey results while other datasets contain administrative data collected by other organisations. Available microdata contains information on which microdata products are available as well as links to supporting materials such as data item lists. See How to apply and Compare access options.

  1. Register in Registration Centre. See How to apply for details.
  2. Your organisation's CEO signs Responsible Officer Undertaking.
  3. Attend in-person onboarding session. See DataLab onboarding schedule to enrol.
  4. Submit your completed Individual Undertaking and Declaration of Compliance.
  5. Submit your research project proposal to the ABS, including the detailed microdata or expanded CURFs relevant to your research project.
  6. Receive approval to access microdata and the DataLab.
  7. You can prepare your code, programs or notes prior to a DataLab session. These need to be provided to the ABS in advance of the session to allow sufficient time for ABS to vet and load the code or notes to the DataLab.
  8. Attend your DataLab session on-site at one of the ABS offices. Alternatively, if you are participating in the virtual access trial for DataLab, the ABS will contact you to provide access credentials.
  9. Save any output which you would like to access outside DataLab after your session. The output is manually cleared by an ABS officer for release, which is usually done within two working days.