This year’s Census is due to take place on Tuesday, 10th August and as always is organised by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Census data underpins a whole manner of government decisions relating to major policy and expenditure areas from infrastructure, health, education and transport. It’s used extensively for electoral boundaries, Federal Government grant allocations and of course, GST distribution.   

The ABS will be sending out 15 million letters over a five-week period in August and September to over 10 million households. Over 20,000 field officers will soon work with another 18,000 staff in improving Australia’s economic and social infrastructure. The ABS are employing over 2,000 community field offices to specifically support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and the homeless. Census advertising will be translated into 19 Indigenous languages to help Indigenous communities to be counted. 

The accuracy of counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needs to be maintained. The ABS had a significant under-count in 2016 and they want to improve the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that are counted we enumerate. This includes a particular focus on the response rate in the Northern Territory which of the states and territories had a lower response rate. 

A couple of other things that have changed since the last Census, new topics in relation to health and veterans. The question on long term health conditions will present a list of conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. The Government will also be more equipped with a comprehensive understanding of our veteran community by asking a question on service in our military. 

Census night is 10th August, but people don’t have to wait until Census night.  If they know who will be home, reasonably, on 10th August, they can start their Census form as soon as they receive their instructions and those instructions will be sent to Australians seven to ten days prior to Census night. 

On 28th July, the Census online form will open.  Households across the country will start to receive instruction letters by mail, in early August.  These letters will include a unique login ID and instructions about how to complete the form online or, if people would prefer, how to order a paper form.  For those who wish to complete the form online, they will be able to do it securely on a computer, on a tablet, or on their phone.  The ABS planning for around 75 per cent of forms to be done online.

It takes seven years from planning through to the release of the data, to conduct a Census so please make sure you fill in the forms so we all can receive better funding and resources for our people.