• Maximise economic benefits for your region with ABR information

    Access this factsheet in a pdf format (PDF, 169KB).

    The Australian Business Register (ABR) is a national asset, providing you with free, business identity information that supports economic planning and development activities.

    ABR information includes industry codes, addresses and geospatial information – all highly valuable for economic development. You can use this information to:

    • understand and profile your business community – map and segment industry clusters and identify home-based businesses and businesses within set electoral boundaries
    • pinpoint high priority areas for economic development – provide services where they are needed the most
    • connect, consult and communicate with your community – identify particular businesses relevant to your surveys or community forums
    • prepare reports about what is happening in the local area – track business growth and trends in the community.

    Growing the economy

    Sutherland Shire used ABR information to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in their jurisdiction. The council used email addresses contained in ABR information to survey home-based businesses about their needs and to ensure they were getting the help they need to grow and succeed.

    The council said email provided a low cost option for dealing with clients and allows recipients to respond easily and quickly. Through the survey, business owners could choose the support and services they need to help take their business to the next level including workshops, seminars and coaching sessions.

    Developing land use strategies

    Bass Coast Shire Council used ABR information to identify and contact over 1,000 agricultural businesses in the area to survey their views about rural land use including agricultural tourism, food production and protection of natural assets.

    The responses were used to develop a rural land use strategy for the shire that supports long-term economic and social changes consistent with government policies and plans. The council said ABR information provided an extra layer of information about businesses, allowing them to establish the numbers and types of business by industry segments.

    Strengthening the local economy by supporting local business

    Fairfield City Council is emphasising local purchasing practices to ensure more of its annual spend is directed to local producers of goods and services.

    With local construction providers already using their local purchasing software, Fairfield City Council is now expanding its local procurement program to include local caterers, security services, audio visual and video production services. Breakfast workshops are planned to introduce the Council procurement systems and advise how they can become suppliers to Council.


    Local businesses providing goods and services to Fairfield City Council increases the economic activity through multiplier effects, as well as reducing transport miles for goods and services purchased within the area. The council is spending its funds locally, benefitting local business community and ratepayers directly, and demonstrating their commitment to the local community.

    Connecting with the community

    Willoughby City Council used ABR information to connect with their business community in new and innovative ways.

    They hosted a Chinese business seminar in conjunction with the Department of Fair Trading and the Australian Chinese Community Association. They searched ABR records that included ‘China’, ‘Chinese’ or ‘Shanghai’ in their business name to identify and invite relevant businesses from their local area to their seminar.

    They reported that ABR information saved them time and money, by allowing them to contact only those businesses that would have a genuine interest in attending their seminar. They were able to get local businesses to attend their seminar and increase subscription to their quarterly e-business newsletter.

    How to access ABR information for economic planning

    You need to be a registered agency (this applies to most government agencies). If you would like to access this valuable information and planning resource, please

    © Australian Taxation Office for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2016

    You are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute this material as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or the Australian Government you or any of your services or products).

    Published by ATO, Canberra. April 2016 / JS36684E

    • Last modified: 14 Apr 2016QC 1066