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2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Nov 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2001   
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The 2001 Census - The PR Wrap Up

More than 9 million households throughout Australia were involved in the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. The planning behind the significant census public relations effort began in earnest more than two years prior to census day.

The Census Communications team was involved in informing the community about:

  • when their census form was to be delivered, completed and collected
  • the job opportunities
  • the topics to be included
  • the privacy provisions
  • the reasons why Australia needs the census and who is and isn’t counted
  • the Census Time Capsule Project, and
  • the changes that have occurred since the 1996 Census.

Effective mass media coverage was an integral part of the overall communications strategy. While there was always going to be some automatic coverage of key events, like census day, the challenge was to sustain media coverage over a period of weeks. This was achieved by:
  • organising displays and community briefings in public libraries
  • installing a public information web site (which has now been decommissioned)
  • the use of multilingual posters in airports
  • placing advertisements on television, radio and in newspapers
  • dispatching weekly ‘Census News’ updates to key stakeholders, and of course
  • placing articles of interest in Census Update.

The public support for the census was enormous. John Struik, head of the Census Programme, has publicly thanked the community for their cooperation for taking part in the snapshot of Australia. At the same time, Mr Struik has praised the work of approximately 30,000 census field staff.

“I would like to express the ABS’ thanks to the combined efforts of the community, our staff, stakeholders and the media for helping the ABS throughout the 2001 Census period,” Mr Struik said.

While results from the quality assurance check, the Census Post Enumeration Survey, are still being processed other results are pointing towards a successful 2001 Census.


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