2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Nov 2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2000   
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Outcomes of census "Dress Rehearsal"

As reported in the last issue of Census Update , things were gearing up for the launch of the census test or "dress rehearsal" before the "main event ". The census test was held on 27 June. 40,000 dwellings in Victoria took part.

The census test of field procedures and public relations (PR) initiatives was a great success. The dress rehearsal highlighted the effectiveness of various initiatives in promoting the 2001 Census. It also provided a final opportunity to fine tune field enumeration and processing systems for Australia's 14th Census of Population and Housing next August. The census test was held on 27 June. 40,000 dwellings in Victoria took part.

Results from the PR Census test launch

Census promotional material was displayed in selected Library Extension Program (LEP) libraries. The main community PR activity involved a partnership between the ABS, the Local Council and the Mildura Library which hosted the launch of the census test.

The census test was launched in Mildura on 14 June 2000, with an opening address from Mayor Anne Cox, and an address by the Director of the Census for Victoria, Andrew Henderson. It was an outstanding success, with the census test gaining significant coverage and interest on TV, radio and print media throughout the test period.

Consequently Census PR and the LEP network plan to continue working in partnership to promote the main event to the community.

Test census web site

The ABS Census Dress Rehearsal web site was very successful. It went on-line on June 12 this year and received over 15,000 hits. The web site launch coincided with the Mildura promotional initiative, as well as delivery of the census test form, guide and fridge magnet.

The test site is currently being updated and expanded to include:

  • general information about the census and census output;
  • frequently asked questions and answers;
  • a special schools section including lesson plans and games;
  • information for the media; and
  • community information translated into many languages.

Results from Census Field Operations

The key objective of the 2001 Census Dress Rehearsal was to conduct a test that would provide sufficient numbers of completed Census forms for testing Census processing systems and evaluating auto coding indexes.

Overall the Dress Rehearsal was very successful. The systems and procedures the ABS has in place are effective, easy to use and work well. The Dress Rehearsal provided a wealth of feedback that will enable fine tuning of the systems prior to going live for the Census in 2001.

One very significant data quality improvement identified in the Dress Rehearsal was the Collector's completion of the Dwelling Structure question. This improvement can be attributed to the increased focus on this issue in both training and procedural manuals. The aim now is to carry this improvement forward into the main event.