2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Oct 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/10/2007   
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Time Capsule sealed for 99 years!

All 2006 Census respondents had the option to consent to have their name-identified Census information kept by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) for 99 years. If you answered 'yes' and signed the 2006 Census form then your Census information has been microfilmed and is being kept confidential by the NAA until its release in 2105.

At a media event held on September 13 at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, the Australian Statistician Mr Brian Pink symbolically handed over the Census Time Capsule to the Director-General of the NAA Mr Ross Gibbs. The NAA are now the custodians of the information.

At the event, Mr Pink stated 'Census information is invaluable to governments, business and community groups as it is a definitive source of information about the nation's most important resource, its people. Every day decisions are made using Census information to help plan for the future.'

A total of 11,256,886 people, or more than half the people recorded in last year's Census of Population and Housing, chose to have their name-identified Census information stored for 99 years. The participation rate increased by 3.4% to 56.1% from 2001.

As well as having the highest eCensus participation rate during the 2006 Census, the ACT also achieved the highest retention rate with 65.0% of Canberrans choosing to have their Census information retained by the National Archives.

Mr Pink also said 'according to genealogists and social historians, when the vault is opened it will give those researching their family history a far more detailed snapshot of how their descendents lived at the beginning of the twenty-first century.'

However, you do not need to wait 99 years to access the wealth of information collected in the 2006 Census, as there are a quarter of a billion data items already available for free on the ABS website.

Mr Pink stated that 'now that the transfer process is complete, the ABS has destroyed all its name-identified paper Census forms and will be destroying the computer records over the coming months. This is in line with long established practices and the confidentiality assurances given to the Australian public.'


Originally included on the 2001 Census Form for the Centenary of Federation project, the retention question will now be asked for each Census.