Australians complete 2011 Census forms
By Nadia Surace
MORE than 14 million Census forms were filled out across Australia last night including 40, 753 across Goulburn and Murray valleys and Campaspe and Mitchell Shires.
Hand-delivered by 213 of Australia’s 29,000 Census Collectors over the week preceding, the forms will now be collected before October 1 and processed with first results to be released June 2012.
The 30-40 per cent of Australians who obtained an eCensus access code to complete their forms online will not be re-visited by the Collectors.
The data processed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics will show the 100th ‘snapshot of the nation’ as it was last night with results of the 60-question Census set to again reveal population characteristic statistics covering a host of family unit and singles’ attributes.
Census Director of Victoria, Sam Thomas last week explained the ‘mammoth’ task of conducting an Australian Census.
He said that no matter where people were last night, on a plane, in a hotel or remote outback caravan park, in jail or a police station cell, living on the streets, or even on an oil rig, all were provided with access to a Census form.
“There are a number of significant challenges as you could imagine for us to ensure that we cover everybody,” Mr Thomas said.
“Privacy and confidentiality is also a huge task for us because we have to be incredibly strict on it. We have extremely high security in and around our building to protect people’s personal information.”
That building is the former Age newspaper building in Spencer Street, Melbourne where the entire nation’s Census forms will be processed.
Security though is just one element contributing to the cost of Census 2011, $440 million, a small price to pay compared to the value of the information it obtains says Mr Thomas.
“Census is aimed at developing a consistent and accurate picture of the Australian demographic and plays a crucial role in the development of infrastructure, schools, hospitals, public transport and other services and benefits just to start with. So its value is enormous.
“The thing that is envied by a lot of other countries around the world is that most Australians appreciate how important it is and ensure that they complete their forms… We estimate that there is at least a 98 per cent response rate.”
As for Australia’s next Census, planning is already underway.
“A Census takes around six years to develop so we have had a small team working on the 2016 for a while,” Mr Thomas said.
People who didn’t receive a Census form or eCensus access code should call 1300 338 776.
People who fail to complete forms will be fined $110 a day until they are completed.