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2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Jul 2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/07/2000   
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Countdown to the Main Event

A final test of all aspects of the field and public relations activities for next year's census is currently underway. Taking part in the exercise are selected suburbs throughout Melbourne and rural Mildura. Read on to find out what the Public Relations Unit and the Census Field teams are doing in preparation for the 2001 Census.

By Melanie James, Census Communications Director

The 'main event', as the 2001 Census has been dubbed, is over a year away but things are starting to heat up for the public relations (PR) campaign. The current PR campaign covers not only the test period, but continues until well after the 2001 Census has been conducted and the first results released. The Census Dress Rehearsal on June 27 2000 is a complete check of all procedures and systems, from the delivery of the test census forms, to the scanning and processing of the completed forms.

With a view to increasing the involvement of local communities and businesses in the 2001 Census, the ABS is trialing some new initiatives. These include:

  • the availability of a designated census web site which will help answer people's questions on filling out their census forms during the Dress Rehearsal; and
  • the issuing of fridge magnets to approximately half of the households involved in the Dress Rehearsal.

The magnets will list key dates such as when the census forms will be delivered and picked up. This initiative is being trialled to see what impact there is an on the number of calls made to the enquiry service.

The Census Public Relations Unit are also overseeing an initiative which will target regional communities. This includes the coordination of a regional launch of the 2001 Census Dress Rehearsal in Mildura, Victoria - one of the participating regions.

Invitations to the launch of the Dress Rehearsal at the Mildura Rural City Council Library have been extended to the Mayor of Mildura Rural City Council, as well as a number of guests from the local community and media. This event gives the Mildura community the opportunity to get behind the census test and to ask the ABS representatives on hand any questions they might have. Again if this is successful, it's something that the ABS may look at doing in as many regional areas as possible for the main event.

The next issue of Census Update will follow up on the results of the public relations' trial.

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