Everyone counts: It's Census night tonight, Aug 2001

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August 7, 2001
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Everyone counts: It's Census night tonight

The Australian Statistician, Mr Dennis Trewin, today called on everyone in Australia to stand up and be counted in the nation's biggest stocktake.

"It's Census Night tonight, when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) requires everyone to be part of the five-yearly snapshot of Australia. This snapshot is the best way to take stock and plan for our national future.

"The Census seeks a range of information which is vital for the effective planning of Australia's future by governments, community organisations and the business sector. Planning of services like transport, schools, hospitals, child-care centres, parks, centres for the elderly and housing developments, depend on the statistics gathered by the Census.

"So the ABS is reminding everyone to complete their census form tonight. No matter who you are or where you are, if you're in Australia, you are part of the national picture," Mr Trewin said.

"We are all part of the count, the only exceptions being foreign diplomats and their families and Australian residents out of the country on census night."

Mr Trewin assured the public that their privacy was protected by law.

"By law, all personal information remains confidential to the ABS and no census information will be published or otherwise made available in a way that would enable an individual or household to be identified. After statistical processing no name or address information is kept. Any computer files containing name and address information are destroyed. All paper census forms are pulped and recycled.

"The only exceptions are those people who mark "Yes, agrees" when answering the last question on the census form. These people will have their personally-identified census information transferred to microfilm and placed in the Census Time Capsule. The information will be stored by the National Archives of Australia and made publicly available in 99 years."

"All households should by now have received a census form. If your household has been missed, census forms will be expressly delivered by tonight. If you still do not have a form, or if you need more forms, please advise the ABS immediately," Mr Trewin said.

"It's vitally important that everyone is included in the 2001 Census. Everyone counts in Australia's future."

Follow the links on the homepage of the census website at www.abs.gov.au/census (24 hours), or call the Census Inquiry Service on 137 219, open 7 days a week from 8:30am until 10:00pm.