2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), May 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/05/2005   
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ABS awards contract for 2006 Census call centre

The ABS has chosen Salmat Ltd to provide call centre infrastructure to handle the 800,000 calls expected for the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.

Salmat, an Australian owned company, won the $4.5 million contract through an open tender process. Head of the ABS's Census Development and Field Organisation, David Nauenburg, said a major part of Salmat's success related to its comprehensive call centre experience. The Census Inquiry Service answers public inquiries about the Census itself, the delivery and collection procedures used and how to complete the census form. It also provides for messages to be sent to collection staff where further action is required to ensure the delivery and/or collection of forms.

Salmat will partner with Telstra to deliver technical aspects of the project, which include dispatch of about 1.4 million SMS messages to census collectors, as well as use of a Natural Language Speech Recognition technology assistant in the management of inbound calls. Previously Salmat has successfully worked with such government bodies as the NSW Department of Ageing, the Australian Tax Office and CentreLink.

Mr Peter Boyle of Salmat said: "It is expected that the 2006 Census will be that year's largest call centre project. It will involve more than 500 Salmat operators to handle general enquiries, multilingual and other special needs of the population." These special needs include assistance for the hearing and visually impaired and on-line form completion information for eCensus users.