The Census and public confidentialty, Jul 2001

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The Census and public confidentialty

With one week to go until Census Day, Tuesday 7 August, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is assuring the Australian community that their individual and household privacy will be completely respected in the 2001 Census.

Once the census form has been completed on Tuesday 7 August, the census collector will return to pick it up sometime over the next two weeks.

If people are concerned about the collector seeing their form, they can ask for a privacy envelope. The form can be placed in the envelope and sealed. Census collectors will pass all privacy envelopes onto their supervisors unopened.

If someone in a household wants a separate census form they can ask their census collector, or phone the Census Inquiry Service on 137 219, for a personal form and a privacy envelope. The Inquiry Service is open seven days a week from 8-30 am to 10-00 pm.

By law, all personal information remains confidential to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and no census information will be published or otherwise made available in a way that would enable an individual or household to be identified.

That means, by law, no other organisation, including the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink and direct marketing companies, can have access to personal information from the census.

The one exception is if a person agrees at Question 50 (Question 45 on the Personal Form) to allow their personal information to be provided to the National Archives of Australia to be released after 99 years as part of the Centenary of Federation Census Time Capsule Project.

More information is available at