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How CLUE works

The City of Melbourne releases the census of land use and employment data yearly.

A view of the Melbourne city skyline at daytime

This data answers a range of questions, including:

  • What are the current land uses (building types, floor space usage, business activities)?
  • What sort of businesses and industries are located in the City of Melbourne and how fast are they growing?
  • What are the key trends in employment, business and development and residential sector expansion?
  • What are the changes in land use?

Participation is confidential and published census results do not provide specific details about individual businesses. CLUE's success depends on the participation of all businesses.

What does CLUE data cover?

CLUE data includes: 

  • industry structure and type (ANZSIC code and number of establishments or business locations)
  • floor space type and use (office, retail, industrial, accommodation or entertainment and office vacancy rates)
  • employment type (full-time, part-time, casual or contractor)
  • building information (number of floors, year of construction, gross floor area and lettable area)
  • venue and capacity measures (cafe or restaurant seats, child care centre spaces, off-street car parking spaces, bicycle and shower facilities, residential dwellings, student dwellings, student beds, theatre and stadium seats, conference and meeting seats and gaming machines)
  • spatial distribution (maps, CLUE small areas, blocks and customised regions).

Complementary sources of economic data

The City of Melbourne’s Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE) provides detailed data on land, floor space, and hyper-local geography. To enhance our LGA-based economic data and benchmarking capabilities we also use the Economic ProfileOpens in new tab which gives us a detailed understanding of key economic indicators and enables us to benchmark against other capital cities and regions.  

CLUE and provide different ways of measuring the employment of an area, all of which give an insight into the local economy and its growth rate over time. 

CLUE counts businesses, floor space and jobs that occupy commercial space in the municipality (‘on-site’ jobs). Employment counts in Economy.idOpens in new tab, which are modelled on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census and Labour Force Survey data, offer a more comprehensive picture by including groups not counted in CLUE, such as home-based businesses, temporary construction workers, and transient workers. 

Each of these datasets has different strengths and the most appropriate dataset will depend on the kind of information needed. For more information, visit the Employment Summary on the profile.Opens in new tab 

The City of Melbourne has been collecting land use and employment data since 1962. Originally collected on a five-yearly basis, since 2000 it has been collected every two years. 

Changes to CLUE collection over time

Census yearCensus areaMajor improvementsNo. of business locations
1962CBDfirst time – paper based 
1982CBDcomputer database, industry classification7532
1992central cityexpansion of census area to central city6744
1997central citycapacity measures included6872
2000central citycomputer mapping, website launched7399
2002municipalitycontractors and volunteers categories12,134
2004municipalityspace use measurement in m squared12,536
2006municipalityconversion to ANZSIC 200613,943
2008municipality 15,358
2010municipalityoccupancy history, operating hours, accessibility of public buildings15,965
2012municipalitybicycle/shower facilities16,335
2018municipalitycloud-based database, digital data collection16,768

​Every commercial property will be surveyed at least once every two years.​


The City of Melbourne releases an annual update that collates data from the previous two years.

The next update will be released in 2024.

A team of census officers visits every establishment in every building in the City of Melbourne. The census generally involves an officer visiting businesses during normal operating hours to ask details about their business and premises.

Information collected includes trading name, activity description, a space type code, number of employees, number of parking spaces and capacity measures.

For further information see:

If you can’t find the data you require in the reports we provide, you can submit a request for a customised report.

The cost is calculated at $220 per hour, including GST. We will advise you of the exact cost before the data is produced, and will only supply the customised data once you have accepted our quote.

No, although if you would like to map and analyse the information yourself, you can download geospatial map layers in shapefile format for CLUE small areas and blocks data.

You’ll need to perform a spatial join to append CLUE data attributes to these map layers.

​Some data is considered confidential and therefore not released. This includes employment and floor space occupied by individual businesses. Data that is public knowledge, such as trading names, is not confidential.

Customised data is usually presented as a table in Excel format, but this can depend on the request.

​The latest full dataset is CLUE 2022 – this data was collected between July 2021 and December 2022.


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our acknowledgement

  • Torres Strait Islander Flag
  • Aboriginal People Flag

The City of Melbourne respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we govern, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong / Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin and pays respect to their Elders past and present. 


We acknowledge and honour the unbroken spiritual, cultural and political connection they have maintained to this unique place for more than 2000 generations.

We accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and are committed to walking together to build a better future.