Census Time Capsule delivered to the National Archives vaults today (Media Release)

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September 13, 2007
Census Time Capsule delivered to the National Archives vaults today

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) symbolically handed over the Census Time Capsule project into the secure custodianship of the National Archives of Australia in Canberra today.

The Director-General of the National Archives of Australia, Mr Ross Gibbs, said the National Archives played a valuable role in not only securely preserving Australia's history but also ensuring Australians had access to a national archival collection that assists them to understand their heritage and democracy.

"All this valuable data will be a rich lode of social history for our descendants 99 years from now," Mr Gibbs said.

"Archives is mindful of its important role in the secure custody of the records until that time and we are proud to take care of Australian memories."

The 2006 Census was only the second time that people could elect to have their personally-identified census information kept on microfilm by the National Archives of Australia and made publicly available in 99 years.

More people chose to participate in the 2006 Census Time Capsule with 56.1% or 11,256,886 Australians (up 3.4% since the 2001 Census) requesting to have their name identified information stored by the National Archives.

People who used the Internet eCensus form were more likely to participate (67.4%) in the Census Time Capsule than those who filled out the paper census form (57.5%).

The Australian Statistician, Mr Brian Pink, said that both organisations had a proud history of maintaining the confidentiality of information.

"Maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of individual respondent data is a core value for all ABS staff and we have worked closely with the National Archives to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for every step of this operation," Mr Pink said.

"The ABS is in the final stages of data processing and as this is completed the ABS will destroy all the name-identified census information it holds, including the computer records and the paper forms. In fact, the paper forms have already been pulped for recycling."

The time capsule comprises microfilm copies of the census information provided by the people who chose to be included in the project. It is being securely stored by National Archives and will only be opened to the public in the year 2105.