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HARC: Helpful Academic Researchers Companion

HARC has been designed to answer the questions researchers ask at every step of the research life cycle

The Australian Bureau of Statistics


The PURPOSE OF ABS is to inform Australia's important decisions by partnering and innovating to deliver relevant, trusted, objective data, statistics and insights.

The ROLE OF ABS is Australia’s national statistical agency, providing trusted official statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters of importance to Australia.

  • providing the statistical information that Australia needs

  • responding to the changing information priorities of our stakeholders

  • enhancing the ways that we interact with our stakeholders

  • developing and maintaining community trust, which is fundamental to our ability to collect high quality information

  • enabling effective and safe use of our statistics

  • coordinating and advising official bodies on statistics, including developing, and ensuring compliance with, statistical standards

  • fulfilling our role as an Accredited Integrating Authority

  • building our capacity to take advantage of opportunities, such as advances in technology, big data, and use of administrative information for statistical purposes

  • ensuring cost-effect operations, including better utilising existing information, collecting information more efficiently, streamlining processes, and reducing the impact on those who provide statistical information.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (CURFS - Confidentialised Unit Record Files )

All ECU researchers have access to the CURFS database.

If you need detailed ABS survey information, search within the ABS database for CURFS & register to use. 

What is CURF microdata?

Microdata are the answers to individual questions on survey questionnaires.

Microdata are disclosed in the form of Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs), which are files of responses to ABS surveys that have had specific identifying information about persons and organisations confidentialised.

Have you ever completed an ABS survey questionnaire? If so, your completed questionnaire is a 'unit record'. Your unit record and those of all respondents are then combined and confidentialised to form a CURF.

CURFs include the most detailed information available from the ABS.

Why is microdata confidentialised?

The ABS takes its responsibilities to protect the confidentiality of individuals' and organisations' data very seriously. 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 our questionnaires.

How are microdata confidentialised?

The most basic of the techniques employed by the ABS involves removing all identifying information, such as names and addresses.
Additionally, the data items that are most likely to enable identification of unit records are only released in broad categories. For example, while survey questionnaires may capture your home or business address, microdata may only be released at the State or Territory level.

More advanced confidentialisation occurs through checking the CURFs for records with uncommon combinations of responses. These records may be altered slightly to ensure individual respondents cannot be identified.

For more information, see 'Avoiding Inadvertent Disclosure' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.


If you need information on Australian industry, IBISWorld provides current business information on Australia's 500 industries, its top 2,000 companies and its key business environment indicators, so you can make superior business decisions now – and into the future.


Search the whole Informit database or search one of the following Informit collections:



Trove helps you find and use resources relating to Australia. It's more than a search engine. Trove brings together content from libraries, museums, archives and other research organisations and gives you tools to explore and build.

Trove is many things: a community, a set of services, an aggregation of metadata, and a growing repository of fulltext digital resources.

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Edith Cowan University acknowledges and respects the Nyoongar people, who are the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand and its programs operate.
In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Nyoongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.