2903.0.55.002 - How Australia Takes a Census, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/08/2006  First Issue
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August 29, 2006
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
ABS issues Notices of Direction to fill in Census forms

The Australian Bureau of Statistics thanks everyone who has completed and returned a Census form, but would like to stress again that ultimately the Census is compulsory.

If you were in Australia on Census night (8 August) and have not yet completed and returned a form, you should either mail back your completed form in the reply-paid envelope supplied, or call 1300 362 883 for assistance.

"The main collection of Census forms has now finished and the overwhelming majority of Census Collectors have completed their tasks," the Head of Census Paul Williams said.

"The ABS will be doing Census follow-up work in a small number of areas. In particular the ABS will focus on areas where Collectors have had difficulty contacting people. As with the main Census collection, ABS staff will carry official photographic identification.

"Apart from this, collection is still underway in some Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia where interviews, rather than the self-completion of a Census form, are being conducted into September.

"The ABS is also following up people who have refused to take part in the Census. The ABS takes this matter very seriously. Follow-up action includes the issuing of Notices of Direction.

"A person who refuses to comply with the notice within 14 days can be prosecuted. The Census and Statistics Act allows for penalties of up to $110 a day for each day the person fails to fill in a Census form, after having been directed to do so.

"So far 305 Notices of Direction have been issued (ACT 8, NSW 60, NT 0, Qld 57, SA 50, Tas 10, Vic 113, WA 7)."