2007.0.55.001 - Census of Population and Housing: Topic Directions, 2021  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2018   
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ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

Further information from the public consultation phase can be found here: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples


TopicsProposed actions

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statusRetain existing topic without change.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity (NEW)Moderate case for new topic. Will discuss with key stakeholders to understand data needs and test with the community.


Prior to the submission process, the ABS sought advice from representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups on how to improve participation in the Census. In 2016, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people missed in the Census was considerably higher than for the rest of the population. Advice was received that participation may be improved if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people felt that the Census was more relevant to them, noting that this might be achieved by adding a question about cultural identity or amending existing questions to facilitate responses from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The concept of cultural identity was described as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander group, or groups, a person identifies with or feels that they belong to. Examples of such groups were described as mob, clan, nation or language group. Early discussions have indicated that this may be a difficult topic to collect due to sensitivity, respondent understanding of the topic, and complexity if the respondent identifies with multiple groups. Further discussions with stakeholders including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will occur and the operational feasibility of collecting this information will be assessed.

Feedback also identified that revising response categories for existing Census topics to have more relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, could improve engagement and participation without adding questions to the Census. Suggestions included topics such as ancestry and main language other than English spoken at home.

The ABS will continue to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory groups and representatives during the testing phase, and ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are involved throughout the process.


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