2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Aug 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/08/2005   
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Census Dress Rehearsal a success

The Census Dress Rehearsal took place earlier this month, with all elements of the Census rigorously tested and scrutinised.

About 40,000 households in rural and urban areas across New South Wales and South Australia filled in a test Census form on Tuesday 9 August 2005, one year out from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.

Selected areas were chosen by the ABS in order to trial Census operations across a range of conditions. Staff from the ABS’s central and regional offices also worked together to target areas with certain characteristics.

“Selected districts have been chosen because they contain elements we are interested in testing. These include areas with secure apartments, urban indigenous areas and caravan parks,” said Andrew Lamb of Census Field Administration in the ABS. “The ABS will be fine tuning a number of new systems, such as a PC based Field Management System. We will also be testing a process for dispatching SMS messages to Census Collectors, advising them of actions required in the field,” he said.

With close to 100 temporary staff recruited to distribute and collect Census forms, the Dress Rehearsal also gave the ABS an opportunity to trial new recruitment systems that enabled applicants to apply on-line or via a call centre for the first time.

The lessons learnt from recruiting people during this test go a long way towards conducting next year’s biggest-ever peacetime recruitment drive for temporary
staff by a single organisation.

“The results of this recruitment trial have been very encouraging, with two-thirds of people applying on-line and the balance via the call centre. No one has chosen
the option of completing a paper application form. This will enable more timely capture of application details at a reduced cost,” said Andrew.

The Dress Rehearsal is an integral part of the seven-year Census planning cycle.