2089.0 - Planning the 2021 Census, Australia  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/09/2019  First Issue
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Making it easy for people to participate

The ABS is working with the public and community organisations to ensure everyone in Australia and its territories can easily participate in the 2021 Census.

People will be able to schedule when they complete the Census, either in the days before or after Census night. We will support people to complete through online and telephone help services, community networks and through personal assistance by our field staff where required.

Advertising and communication campaign

A comprehensive, national communication campaign will be implemented to explain the value and purpose of the Census, and to ensure people in Australia know the Census is happening and how to participate. The communication campaign will run before, during and also after Census night to remind people who haven’t completed the Census to do so. It will include advertising, media, social media, and community engagement, and will be available in languages other than English.

Field staff

Our field staff will continue to play an important role in delivering and collecting Census materials, helping those who need it, and reminding people to complete their Census form.

In 2021, we expect to employ about 30,000 field staff around the country. In addition to assisting households, field staff will work with local communities and will include people from within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people with languages other than English. We will also employ Special Census field staff who have either been homeless or have a background in supporting people experiencing homelessness.

During the Census, field staff will visit places such as retirement villages, aged care facilities, hospitals, hotels, caravan parks, camping grounds, marinas, and military facilities to ensure as many people as possible are counted.

Field staff will also follow up households that have not completed their Census soon after Census night.

Support services

People requiring assistance will be able to access a range of self-help services specifically set up for the 2021 Census. This includes information and services on the Census website and a telephone help line (the Census Contact Centre). Face to face support, such as information and fill in the form sessions, will also be available through community services and public spaces such as libraries and community centres.


The Census website and online Census form will meet online accessibility standards (currently WCAG2.1 AA). In addition:

• Census information will be available in a range of languages other than English, including Auslan
• large print and Braille Census forms will be available for those who need them
• the National Relay Service will be available to support people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impediment to connect with the Census Contact Centre
• people who do not speak English will be able to access interpreting services through Translating and Interpreting Services National.

Our partners

The ABS appreciates the enormous support provided by communities to help people participate in the Census.

The ABS regularly engages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and communities to build and maintain good working relationships. The Census will collaborate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and other key stakeholders across urban and remote areas. The Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics has developed an ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy which will inform Census engagement activities.

We will engage with representative multicultural groups and existing service providers to ensure we provide a good service to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) people, including face to face support options. With almost one in five Australians speaking a language other than English at home, we will help people who have difficulty speaking or reading English. The ABS is already engaged in a number of CALD advisory groups at a national, state and territory government level.

We are working with representative groups to ensure support is available from trusted partners for people who need help to participate in the Census.

We will partner with the homeless sector to ensure people experiencing homelessness are able to complete the form, whether they are sleeping rough, are in supported and/or crisis accommodation or staying with friends or family. The Homeless Statistics Reference Group is informing the planning and implementation of Census activities for these communities.

We will also work with organisations, in the lead up to Census night and during the Census period, representing seniors to ensure the Census is accessible to all.