In consultation with a range of organisations and government departments at all levels, the ABS implemented an Indigenous Enumeration Strategy (IES) for the 2011 Census. This strategy describes procedures which allow for potential barriers to the effective enumeration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, caused by cultural factors, to be addressed.

The strategy provides procedures to cover the enumeration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households in urban and rural areas, and nominated discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A range of improvements were incorporated into this strategy for the 2011 Census, to provide for:
  • more detailed planning of the enumeration process
  • earlier, more detailed and ongoing engagement
  • the integration of the operation of the IES more fully into the mainstream enumeration
  • increased flexibility of the field operation to ensure that for each area the appropriate enumeration methodology is used and documented
  • a reduction in the overall timing of remote Indigenous enumeration
  • increases in the number of field staff positions
  • systems and procedures to enhance the collection of management information and to allow for closer management of the field operation and the tracking of progress
  • a greater level of support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who need assistance in completing their form particularly in urban areas
  • the creation of the Northern Australia enumeration area of responsibility, managed by the Northern Australia Census Management Unit in Darwin.

Part of this strategy is the employment of local people to assist in the enumeration of the nominated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with local managers or teams of staff to manage the enumeration. In urban areas with high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, Collectors provided greater levels of support than in the past by offering to conduct an interview, with Special Collectors available to assist in other areas.

The communication aspects of the strategy include paid media advertising, a program of consultation with community leaders, briefings for representatives of Indigenous media outlets, use of posters and leaflets specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the dissemination of information about the Census.

For more detailed information, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: 2011 Census Special Enumeration Strategies (cat. no. 2911.0.55.004) which is expected to be released in August 2012.