Affiliations: Integrated Collection and Dissemination Services
Division, Australian Bureau of Statistics | Microdata Access Strategies, Australian Bureau of
Statistics | Data Access and Confidentiality Methodology,
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Abstract: Access to microdata for social and economic research and analysis is
a key part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) mission to encourage
informed decision making, research and discussion. Since 1985, the ABS has been
making microdata available for statistical purposes in the form of
Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs). Microdata use is governed by the
requirement to protect respondent confidentiality, as enshrined in the
Australian Census and Statistics Act 1905. Confidentialisation of the data
prior to its release is the foremost ABS strategy to protect respondent
confidentiality. To date, ABS policy provides that the most highly
confidentialised Basic CURFs are available through the least controlled CD-ROM
mode; the more detailed Expanded CURFs are accessible through the more
controlled Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL); and the most detailed
Specialist CURFs are available only through the ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL) in
ABS Offices. In 2009 ABS commenced a long term project that will meet user
demand for access to more detailed unit record data, across a wider array of
datasets and through means that are more flexible than the current services.
Development of a Survey Table Builder is underway, to be followed by a new
microdata analysis service.
Keywords: ABSDL, `Australian Bureau of Statistics', confidentialisation, `Confidentialised Unit Record File', CURF, microdata, micro-data, RADL, `Remote Access data Laboratory'