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Census of Population and Housing - 2006 - Census Fact Sheet - Changes Planned for 2006 Population Census

The five-yearly Census of Population and Housing is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the ABS. The Census aims to accurately measure the number of persons in Australia on Census Night, their key characteristics, and the dwellings in which they live. Australia's next census, its fifteenth, will take place on 8 August 2006.

The Census provides a range of information which is vital for the effective planning of Australia's future by governments, community organisations and the business sector. It is particularly important for people from non English speaking backgrounds as the information is used to plan services like funding for local community centres, retirement homes, schools and broadcasting time on SBS.

A number of changes are proposed for the 2006 Census including -
  • several new questions reflecting current policy issues, including questions on disability, volunteering and unpaid work, and
  • people will have the option of completing their 2006 Census form electronically via the web.

The ABS is also proposing a new initiative that will add value to the information collected in the 2006 Census. A discussion paper - Enhancing The Population Census: Developing a Longitudinal View (cat. no. 2060.0) - detailing the proposal can be found on the ABS web site.

The central feature of this proposal is the creation of a Statistical Longitudinal Census Dataset (SLCD) – this involves combining the information provided in the 2006 population census, with information provided in other censuses. The SLCD would expand the range of information available for statistical purposes and would provide the means to identify patterns of change in social and economic circumstances, for individuals and households over time.

The proposal does not involve the ABS keeping name and address information from the census. As in past censuses, the ABS will destroy any records containing name and address information once census processing is completed.

Head of the Census program, Paul Williams said, "The ABS sees this as an important investment in our future. It has the potential to provide richer information about Australian society and improve policy development and community decision making."

"It makes fuller use of the substantial wealth of information we bring together each 5 years in the Census, for the benefit of Australians," he said.

"No decision on this proposal has been made," he said. "The ABS will only proceed with this proposal, if it is acceptable to the Australian community."

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Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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