The number of actively trading businesses in Australia increased by 0.4 per cent between the 2010–11 and 2011–12 financial years, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. 

Karen Connaughton, Director of National Tax Data and Business Demography, said that the Australian Business Counts publication showed there were 2,141,280 actively trading businesses in Australia at June 2012.

“Overall we’ve seen an increase of 8,868 active businesses in Australia,” Ms Connaughton said. 

“This was due to an increase in new business registrations, as well as a decline in the exit rate of businesses,” she said.

The largest number of Australian businesses were in the Construction industry (16.2 per cent), followed by Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (11.7 per cent) and Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services (10.5 per cent).

Both the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry and the Manufacturing industry have recorded a decline in numbers every year since 2007.

"Of the states, the ACT, Victoria, Northern Territory and NSW all recorded an increase in business numbers. Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia all recorded a decrease in business numbers, whilst in South Australian they remained relatively steady," Ms Connaughton said.

Of the 299,123 new business entries during the 2008–09 financial year: 

  • · 76 per cent were still operating in June 2010; 
    · 61 per cent were still operating in June 2011; and 
    · 51 per cent were still operating in June 2012.

The release showed the vast majority (96 per cent) of Australian businesses in June 2012 were small businesses.
Further details can be found in Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits (cat. no. 8165.0), available for free download from the ABS website