2969.0.55.001 - Census Household Guide, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/05/2006  First Issue
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Contents >> Unpaid work

UNPAID WORK - QUESTIONS 48, 49, 50 & 51


Answers to these questions will help in understanding the contribution of unpaid work to Australian society. They will help in the planning of local facilities, services such as day-care and occasional care, and in the provision of information and support to carers.

They will help in understanding the way Australian individuals and families balance their paid work with other important aspects of their lives, such as family and community commitments.

They will also add much needed information concerning the amount of unpaid work people do, including domestic activities, helping family, friends or neighbours, and volunteering.


All unpaid work questions should be answered by everyone 15 years of age and over.


Include all domestic work that the person did without pay, in their own home and in other places, for themselves and their household.

Do not include any domestic work that was done as part of any paid employment.

Unpaid domestic work can include meal preparation, service and clean-up; washing, ironing and managing clothes; any other housework; gardening, mowing and yard work; home maintenance; car/bike maintenance; household shopping and managing household financial affairs.


Only include the unpaid help or supervision the person gave to someone else to assist them with daily activities because they have a disability, a long-term illness or problems related to old age. A long-term illness is one that has lasted or is likely to last for six months or more. Unpaid caring can include:

  • Bathing, dressing, toileting or feeding someone
  • Helping someone to move around
  • Helping someone to understand or be understood by others
  • Providing emotional support to someone and helping them maintain friendships and social activities
  • Helping with or supervising medication or dressing wounds
  • Cleaning, laundry, cooking, managing diets and preparing meals
  • Performing housework, light household repairs or maintenance
  • Managing household finances
  • Driving or accompanying someone to appointments or activities.

Do not include care given through an organisation or club - this care should be included in voluntary work, Q51.


Include the time the person spent looking after a child or children without being paid. Care of the person's own children, whether they usually live with them or not, should be included as well as grandchildren, the children of other relatives and children of friends or neighbours.

Do not include care for a child given through an organisation or club - this care should be included in voluntary work, Q51.


Only include help willingly given, in the form of time, service or skills, to a club, organisation or association. Unpaid voluntary work can include:
  • assisting at organised events and with sports organisations
  • helping with organised school events and activities
  • assisting in churches, hospitals, nursing homes and charities
  • other kinds of volunteer work (eg. emergency services, serving on a committee for a club etc)

If the person is doing unpaid voluntary work through a club, organisation or association in order to qualify for government benefits such as Newstart Allowance, do not include this as voluntary work at Q51.

Do not include any activity that is part of the person's paid employment or family business.


Making unpaid work count

During public consultation to prepare for the 2006 Census, a number of national, state and local government councils and non-government organisations identified the need for a set of questions on unpaid work. These organisations stated that they would use the information to identify the long-term planning needs of carers and volunteers, planning for support services and programs, and to fund and provide these services to assist unpaid workers. The information will help to make sure that resources and services are allocated to people in the areas with the greatest need and to ensure that programs are sustainable and meet the needs of Australia’s ageing population."

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