How Census data is used to inform community services
The data collected in the Census is used to reset official population estimates and is critical to setting federal, state and territory electoral boundaries. It informs the allocation of billions of dollars of government funding to states, territories and local governments, and feeds into decisions about health care, education, social security, housing, transport and infrastructure.
Census data is also used by many organisations to help plan important support services in our community. Here’s a snapshot of how some organisations are using Census data.
Public transport and roads
State Transport Authorities use Census data on how people travel to work to inform transport infrastructure, services planning and investment. Census data helps identify traffic pressures, plan future road network upgrades, and manage public transport services.
Local council services
Census data provides local city councils with a profile of their community to inform planning and services. Penrith City Council is a growing local government area that has recently used Census data to help identify how its community has changed and to plan local services including aged-care and disability support.
Institute for Urban Indigenous Health
The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health plans, develops and delivers primary health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South East Queensland. It uses Census data to know how many Indigenous people there are in the region, and the locations where they are living to inform where multidisciplinary health clinics are required.
The Institute was established in 2009 by the four community-controlled health services in South East Queensland, and the regional network has since expanded to 20 clinics. Based on Census data, there are plans to build additional clinics to provide for the needs of Australia’s second largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
Orange Sky Laundry
Orange Sky Laundry is a profit-for-purpose organisation that provides free laundry and shower services to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people. 2016 Census data found that 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness; that’s one in 200 people. Census data helps Orange Sky Laundry to know where their services are needed most.
Since it started in 2014 by two 20-year-old mates, it has expanded to 29 services across the country. What started as an idea to improve hygiene and restore dignity to people doing it tough in Brisbane has evolved into a national service on the verge of going international.