In Australian Censuses prior to 2001, forms and other name-identified records have been destroyed once the statistical data required for the purposes of the Census have been extracted.
Following recommendations from the House of Representatives Standing Committee, the Government decided that for the 2001 Census all people would be given the option of having their name-identified responses retained for 99 years (Time Capsule). After 99 years, the name-identified data will be made public for future generations. This option was again included in the 2006 Census and will be a permanent feature of future Censuses.
Some 53% of the population chose to have their individual responses from the 2001 Census retained, and 56% from the 2006 Census. These are now with the National Archives of Australia. In order to ensure that the current high levels of public confidence and cooperation in the Census are maintained, and to respect the wishes of those who do not want their information retained for future release, information will only be kept for those persons who explicitly give their consent. For privacy reasons the name-identified information will not be available for any purpose, including by a court or tribunal, within a 99 year closed access period.
After this information has been transferred to the National Archives of Australia and statistical processing is completed, the ABS will destroy all paper and eCensus forms including the computer images of those forms. As in the past, the paper forms will be pulped for recycling.