The 2016 Census consultation process
What do I need to do to make a submission?Before starting to complete a submission form it is important you read the information paper Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0).
The submission guidelines have been provided separately to assist you in the completion of your submission.
Should I use a submission form?Yes. If you want to take the opportunity to express your views on existing or new topics, and influence changes for the 2016 Census, you will need to complete a submission form.
The submission form has been specifically designed so the Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) can understand community data needs, and allow each submission to be carefully assessed against other competing priorities.
A separate submission form will be required for each topic or aspect of the Census you wish to address.
Please refer to the web page Making a submission for more information on the process for making a submission.
What kind of detail will I need to provide in my submission?Submissions must address each of the questions that are included in the submission form. This is so the ABS can understand community data needs, and allow each submission to be carefully assessed against other competing priorities.
Submissions for the inclusion of a new topic require detailed justification against the following criteria:
- The topic is of current national importance.
- There is a current need for data on the topic for small population groups and/or at the small area level.
- There are no other suitable alternative data sources available for the topic.
- The topic is suitable for inclusion in the Census.
- There is likely to be a continuing need for data on the topic in the following Census.
Please refer to the Making a submission page for more information about the process for making a submission.
When does the submission process close?Submissions need to be lodged by Friday, 31 May 2013.
Can I get a hard copy of the submission form?Yes. A hardcopy of the submission form can be printed from the website.
If you would like a hardcopy of the submission form, or need any assistance, please telephone the ABS National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Completed hard copy submissions should be sent to:
2016 Census Submissions
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
How do I save my submission form?The online submission form does not have a save function. Therefore once you start a submission you will need to complete it. Otherwise, if you exit out of the form, you will be required to start over, unless you have saved your content in another location on your computer. We advise that you look at the questions being asked and prepare your submission in a separate document before starting the online submission form.
Can I make one submission that covers more than one topic?A separate submission must be completed for each topic requested for inclusion, exclusion or modification.
When will I get a response about my submission?Each submission received will be acknowledged by email or post.
The content of the 2016 Census is expected to be known by the end of 2014. People who have provided submissions will be advised of the outcome at this time.
Do I have to provide my name?Your name and contact details must be provided. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.
The ABS will not publish the names of persons or organisations making submissions without first obtaining their permission to do so. The submission form includes a question that asks whether the person or organisation agrees to the ABS making public the views put forward in the submission.
The information provided in the submission will be used to summarise the case for or against a topic, or to answer questions from Members of Parliament about the number and nature of submissions received.
I can’t respond to all of the questions. Will my submission be considered if I don't respond to each of the questions? It will be considered. However, you are encouraged to try to address each of the assessment criteria so the ABS can understand community data needs, and to ensure your submission can be carefully assessed against other competing priorities.
Where can I find more information about the assessment criteria to be addressed, and what they mean?Please refer to the Making a submission page for more information about the assessment criteria that are used to assess the suitability of topics for a Census.
I want to put in a joint submission with another person/organisation. How do I do this?Where relevant you may choose to put in a joint submission, but it must be clear that it is a joint submission. A statement of support, including contact details, will be required from each person or organisation that is included in the submission. This can be attached to the submission or emailed separately to email@example.com
It is very important that your joint submission includes the data needs of all the organisations or agencies involved to provide a comprehensive overview.
Is there a limit on the number of questions that can be asked on the Census form?It is unlikely the number of questions will increase above the current 61 questions. This is due to factors such as respondent burden and cost.
The vast majority of Australians willingly participate in the Census and the ABS does not want to jeopardise that by making the form too long. However, in 2021 it is expected the vast majority of people will complete the Census online, which will make it easier to introduce pathways through the form depending on how the questions are answered. This may make it possible for more questions to be included in future Censuses.
What does 'a topic is under review' mean? Can I still put in a submission on these topics?A topic may be under review for a range of reasons. There may be concerns about the level of national importance of the topic, data quality, overlap with another topic or there may be other data sources for consideration.
Some of these topics may be recommended for exclusion from the 2016 Census unless justified against the assessment criteria. Submissions can be made on these topics. Submissions will be used to determine their priority. For example, some of these topics may be reduced in frequency to a ten-yearly cycle.
How do I find out more information about specific topics?An outline of the topics is included in Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0). More detail on each topic can be found in Supporting Information on Topics under the Explanatory Notes tab of the publication.
I put a submission in for the 2011 Census. Do I need to put in another one for the same thing?In February 2008, the public consultation on the 2011 Census was discontinued due to the decision to repeat the content from the 2006 Census. As advised at the time, submissions lodged for the 2011 Census will be considered for the 2016 Census.
The ABS has tried to contact everyone who made a submission for the 2011 Census, although in some cases this hasn't been possible. At the time you lodged your submission, you should have received an acknowledgement. If you wish to confirm that we previously received your 2011 Census submission, or do not want it to be considered for the 2016 Census, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage you to participate in the process again and lodge additional submissions if you have any further comments on our current proposals, or if there are new potential topics or content changes you would like considered for the 2016 Census.
Can I see the submissions the ABS has already received?The ABS is currently investigating ways to publish information about emerging issues during the consultation period.
I’m interested in the new procedures being introduced for the 2016 Census. Can you tell me more about them?The planned changes to the delivery and collection procedures are outlined in the information paper Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016 (cat. no. 2007.0).
More information will be provided after extensive testing of these procedures in the publications Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content 2016 (cat. No. 2008.0), to be released in 2014, and How Australia takes a Census 2016 (cat. no. 2903.0), to be released in early 2016.
How will the new delivery approach impact specific population groups in Australia?There will be targeted approaches for specific population groups to ensure that all people are included in the Census. These groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disabilities, homeless people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people living in mining camps and fly-in/fly-out workers and travellers.
The ABS will be reviewing the approaches and associated procedures used in the 2011 Census, so they take into account the proposed new Census enumeration model. The ABS will also be looking at opportunities to evolve these special approaches into being a core part of the main operation to ensure all Australians are able to participate in the Census.
How will the ABS test changes to the Census questionnaire and procedures?The ABS has already started an extensive program of testing for the 2016 Census. This program includes a series of thorough tests conducted in various cities, rural and remote locations between 2012 and 2015.
How long will the review process take and what happens after the submission period closes? Following assessment of submissions, final recommendations on the nature and content of the 2016 Census will be discussed with the Australian Statistics Advisory Council in late 2013. The ABS will make a submission to the Australian Government, outlining recommendations on the nature and content of the 2016 Census.
The Government will make the final decision on the content of the 2016 Census, which is expected to be known by the end of 2014. People who have provided submissions will be advised of the outcome at this time.
What if I have more questions about making a submission?If you have any questions about the submission process or require further information, please telephone the ABS National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email email@example.com
What does the 'Invalid characters entered - please try again' error message mean?The submission form does not allow the following characters:
If you get a message 'Invalid characters entered - please try again', we recommend that you remove all these characters from your submission content. Alternatively, you can complete the MS Word document submission form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.