OVERVIEW OF PUBLIC CONSULTATION
SUBMISSION AND ASSESSMENT PROCESS
The ABS ran a submission process seeking views on the topics to be included in the 2021 Census. This consultation ran from 3 April to 30 June 2018.
The submission process was supported by an information paper (cat. no. 2007.0), media release and online briefing (including a live question and answer session). The briefing was recorded and made available online for those unable to attend the original presentation.
The submission process was promoted through email alerts sent through various networks and weekly posts through various social media channels.
Submissions were made directly into the ABS Consultation Hub or sent to the ABS via mail or email.
Participants were invited to make suggestions to keep, change, add or remove Census topics. Those who were making submissions were asked to include a summary of their suggested changes and to provide support for each suggested change against the following assessment criteria:
OVERVIEW OF SUBMISSIONS
- the topic is of current national importance
- there is a need for data from a Census of the whole population
- the topic can be accurately collected in a form which the household completes themselves
- the topic would be acceptable to Census respondents
- the topic can be collected efficiently
- there is likely to be a continuing need for data on the topic in the following Census
- there are no other suitable alternative data sources or solutions that could meet the data need.
In total, 450 submissions were received, with 315 published with consent on the ABS Consultation Hub
Around 90 submissions suggested changes to standards, classifications or Census procedures and have been referred to the relevant sections of the ABS for further consideration. A small number of submissions also suggested changes already adopted in Census design.
The remaining 355 submissions addressed changes to Census topics.
Who made submissions?
Submissions were received from a range of private, public and community sector organisations including government departments across all levels of government, businesses, community groups, industry bodies/associations, and educational institutions (including academics and researchers). Fifty-eight submissions were received from individuals. A summary of the source of submissions is provided at Table 1.
1As reported by submitter.
What did the submissions say about Census topics?
TABLE ONE: NUMBER OF SUBMISSIONS ON THE 2021 CENSUS TOPICS BY SUBMITTER TYPE
No. of submissions
% of total
|State/territory government department|
|Commonwealth government department|
Submissions suggested changes or additions to 37 of the 47 topics that were included in the 2016 Census and nominated 36 new topics to be included in the 2021 Census.
All topics, proposed and existing, have been aligned within 13 Census themes. The number of submissions received on Census topics grouped within these themes is provided at Table 2.
1Themes include new topic suggestions if they relate to other topics already on the Census.
2Other topics include Australian Defence Force service, sexual orientation and several topics with one submission.
TABLE TWO: NUMBER OF SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED FOR CENSUS THEMES
No. of submissions
% of total
|Income and work|
|Disability and carers|
|Unpaid work and care|
|Households and families|
|Education and training|
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples|
3This number is higher than the number of submissions received. This figure reflects that some submissions addressed more than one Census topic and have been recorded against each separate topic.
First assessment of the submissions
Each submission has been reviewed against the assessment criteria. The suggested changes for Census topics have also been reviewed to determine if needs could be met from existing data sources. Together, these assessments have resulted in a preliminary priority list of Census topics for further investigation.
Eight of the proposed new topics have been determined to warrant further consideration as outlined in Next Steps. These topics, listed below, are discussed in detail later in this report (see Topic Directions):
- Non-binary sex and/or gender identity
- More contemporary descriptions of household and family relationships (including those with shared care of children)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity
- Journey to education (including mode of transport, and name and address of educational institution)
- Chronic health conditions
- Smoking status
- Australian Defence Force service
- Sexual orientation
Five of the proposed new topics (listed below) are discussed in more detail later in this report although preliminary assessments have determined that they will not be further considered for inclusion in the 2021 Census.
- Sources of income
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participation
- Second residence and/or ownership of other dwelling
- Other languages spoken
- Other health related topics
Some new topic suggestions did not provide strong cases when assessed against the criteria. For some topics, the data can also be obtained from existing surveys or administrative sources. These topics, listed below, are not discussed in more detail and will not be considered further for inclusion in the 2021 Census.
- Access to, and experiences with, health services
- Child protection and youth justice
- Child support
- Dental health
- Experience of racism
- Food security
- Future aged care intentions
- Health and well-being indicators (including weight and body mass index)
- Household assets
- Internal migration over a lifetime
- Personal safety (including experiences of domestic violence)
- Pets or companion animals
- Physical activity
- Place of birth in Australia
- Short term accommodation
- Subjective well-being
- Superannuation status
- Swimming ability
- Vacant land
- Wood heating
Suggestions for changes to existing topics that will be further assessed for the 2021 Census are described in the Topic directions section.
Two topics are proposed to be removed. They are 'Household internet access' and 'Number of motor vehicles garaged'. These topics are discussed under the themes of Housing and Transport respectively.