2903.0.55.002 - How Australia Takes a Census, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/08/2006  First Issue
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July 21, 2006
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
WA 150/2006
Resident expert assists with the Census

Karrinyup resident Peter Katavatis has taken up a supervisory position with the national Census, 40 years after he first pounded the pavements collecting forms.

This time he's an area supervisor, responsible for a staff of nine collectors who will gather forms from more than 3000 homes.

Peter, who is now a semi-retired tax agent, said things have changed markedly since he last worked for the Census in 1971.

"The biggest change has been the introduction of computers," he said. "This gets the data processed much quicker. And then there's the tremendous changes in how we're trained.

"When I last did it we were just met at the local school, were given the forms and told to distribute and collect them. These days we have quite a few training sessions and are instructed on everything from cultural awareness to how to handle emergencies.

"There's also a lot more houses in the suburbs because of the large amount of subdivision that's going on."

But some things never change, says Peter.

"You still have to know how to handle difficult people and dogs, and no training can ever prepare you for that," he said.