Planning is underway for the 2006 Census
By Andrew Lamb Acting Director, Population Census Development and Field Organisation
The focus for the 2001 Census field operation was on the underlying processes and structures for distribution and collection of Census forms. The aim of concentrating on these factors was to reduce the amount of administrative work undertaken by field staff, enabling them to focus on enumeration outcomes. Evaluation to date has shown that while these initiatives were implemented successfully, there is still scope for improvement in the detail for the 2006 Census.
Experience from the 2001 Census has indicated that the current drop off/collect methodology, while very successful in most of Australia, struggled to achieve the desired results in certain physical locations. Security buildings proved to be a greater problem than in the past where extra security measures (such as restricting access of visitors to single floors) have made it even more difficult for collectors to make contact with the Australian public. Even non-secure apartment buildings presented their own problems, largely due to the lifestyle of many residents.
For 2006, it is proposed that in these locations, in addition to promoting the use of an Internet form, householders will be asked to mail back their Census forms.
Detailed planning and preparation for a full scale test, to be conducted in Sydney in October 2002, is under way. The major objectives of this are the testing of question and form design, and procedures for mailing back forms, along with new strategies for dealing with secure apartment buildings.