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Census stories

Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

Young Australians

Curtin University's UniReady Enabling Program

Thousands of educationally disadvantaged students are now getting a chance at tertiary education, thanks to a specialised ranking system created for a Curtin University enabling program that’s based on Census data.

Curtin University’s UniReady Enabling Program offers another pathway for students who want to go to university but didn’t get the required marks.

The program is bursting with applicants wanting to get their foot in the door to attend university, and with limited places available, applicants are assessed on an equity and needs basis.

While UniReady staff would love to give all applicants a chance, they wanted to prioritise people who may have had limited opportunities.

“We considered a first-in, best-dressed system but realised not everyone has access to online systems or vital application information at the same time.

“We needed to find a more equitable way.”

That’s when the UniReady team came up with the idea of looking at the factors that contribute to educational disadvantage with help from Census data.

Census data coupled with applicant information like location, previous education, family circumstances, migrant or refugee background, internet access and rural or remote living helped the team assess their educational situation.

“With the help of Census data, we now have a more holistic approach to rank students based on their educational situation.

“We can see who may not have been given equal opportunities in the past and give them the best possible chance to pursue a degree.

“We see so many people who want to come to University but can’t see how it’s possible because of circumstances beyond their control or don’t have families that can support them.

“We’re now able to tell students we take that into account when assigning places. That really helps build aspiration and help people feel more confident about their situation.”

Bipolar Australia

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by depression and pronounced mood swings. Bipolar Australia represents 598,000 people affected by bipolar spectrum disorders, and the millions of family members, friends and health professionals who support them.

David Harper, Bipolar Australia’s General Manager for Programs and Research, said Census data helps understand the impact of the disorder and reach people experiencing their first symptoms.

“We know the average onset age for bipolar spectrum disorder is between 18 and 21 years. Census data on population provides the age categorisations we need to calculate the number of young people who are at risk of developing the disorder,” Mr Harper said.

“Targeted messaging about symptoms to people aged 13 to 30, and their families, allows us to work together to start treatment and management earlier.”

Treatment for bipolar disorder typically includes medication, counselling, assistance for families and carers, and access to peer support. With the right assistance, the condition can be managed so the person can be free of symptoms for extended periods.

“Every person who has bipolar can experience recovery, and early intervention ensures people have the support they need as soon as possible,” Mr Harper says.

“Accurate demographic data helps us target at-risk populations with information tailored to age, cultural and linguistic background, and education levels.

“Earlier recognition of symptoms can result in an earlier diagnosis so that people can get the support they need sooner. This can help to stabilise the disorder at lower levels of severity. “We know the average time from onset to diagnosis is nine years. Anything we can do to move people into better care, instead of hospital, during this period will improve outcomes for those with bipolar and their families.”

Bipolar Australia’s Recovery Model of Care uses Census data to understand population segments by age, which informs its requests for funding. Grant applications for new initiatives, such as an online tool to help parents and young people recognise symptoms of bipolar disorder, rely on accurate Census data to support strong cases for funding.

“Everyone in Australia should complete the Census. Your participation helps build accurate demographic data, so organisations like ours can provide the right help, at the right time, to young people who need it,” Mr Harper said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation

SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation in NSW provides housing and support for Aboriginal people, including helping older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘age in place’ in an appropriately modified home. It manages over 230 rental properties in townships from Nowra and down the coast to Wallaga Lake, and across to Queanbeyan, Yass, Young and Goulburn.

This is often a lifeline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing poverty and entrenched disadvantage, as it provides access to affordable, culturally appropriate housing and pathways to other community services and supports.

CEO Kim Sinclair said SEARMS relies extensively on Census data to help determine where community housing is needed for those who can’t access the private rental market. “Factors like unemployment, vulnerable households and mental health impact housing security,” Ms Sinclair said.

“We use Census data to understand the prevalence of these factors to help us provide appropriate housing for Aboriginal people.” According to the 2016 Census, 4.8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are aged over 65. This increases to 5.4% in NSW and 6.2% in the Shoalhaven local government area.

“The lifespan for Indigenous Australians is 15 years shorter than non-Indigenous Australians. This means aged care packages and modifications need to happen a good 10 to 20 years earlier.”

“We are getting more requests for disability modifications to support people to stay at home and we don’t have the money for these modifications. Census data helps us compile a business case so we can seek funding for ageing-in-place housing.”

Knowing the areas of critical need means SEARMS can better anticipate who needs housing help, and where.

“We encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complete the Census because it bolsters our understanding of housing needs and priorities,” Ms Sinclair said.


ACT Policing

ACT Policing works to keep people safe and ensure police are where they are needed. Officers work closely with community agencies to protect people most at-risk, whether they be families, young people or the elderly.

Detective Acting Superintendent Matt Craft of ACT Policing says Census data gives them valuable information to know who may be at risk and decide where police and other community services are needed the most. “Census data helps us get a snapshot of what the ACT community looks like so we can best direct our policing services,” said Mr Craft.

Using Census data, ACT Policing gets insights on population growth in suburbs and known pockets of vulnerability. This evidence recently assisted in securing four years of funding from the ACT Government to improve the public’s safety and help make the police a trusted face in the community through local partnerships, programs and events.

“In the ACT, we’re all working together across government and with locals to support people in particularly vulnerable situations. The ideal is to prevent a crime occurring,” said Mr Craft.

“We use Census data to capture demographics on specific suburbs. For example, 20 years ago the south of Canberra was a big growth area for young families and single parents, and we saw an increase in family violence at that time.”

Levels of unemployment, poverty, or family composition provide intelligence on potential risk to families. It helps the police manage their stations and work with community organisations helping those facing violent or dire situations.

“As the population in Tuggeranong has aged, we’ve since seen a shift in that need to Gungahlin in line with population growth in the north of Canberra.

"The 2016 Census statistics helped anticipate a shift in population age in the southern and northern suburbs of Canberra, with data showing 56.4% of Gungahlin’s population were families with children, compared to 48% in Tuggeranong.

“Ultimately, our goal is to reduce alcohol fuelled violence, prevent crime and avert incarceration rates,” said Mr Craft.

“Using Census data helps us to foresee potential problems, and work with mental health clinicians and other emergency teams early, with the aim to steer people into help rather than the justice system. This delivers a much better outcome for everyone,” Mr Craft said.

Playgroup Australia

Playgroup Australia has been connecting babies, toddlers and parents through play, learning and friendship for half a century. Each week, Playgroup Australia estimates around 150,000 parents and caregivers organise around 7,500 gatherings in churches, parks, public spaces and community halls all around Australia.

Playgroup Australia CEO Fiona May said the organisation uses Census data to help plan where a playgroup would be beneficial to local families. It produces heat maps using the number of babies, their ages, locations, religion, education and health.

“Census data helps us understand the different factors that affect families, such as income and work commitments, living situation, cultural background, religion and education,” Ms May said.

“The 2016 Census data showed us that more families are juggling part-time work with care, playgroup, domestic duties and other activities in the home.
Because they are busy, we have to offer the right playgroups in the right places to support as many children as possible.

Understanding family and community situations across the nation allows Playgroup Australia to provide the proper service for the appropriate area or group of people including Inclusive and Ageless Play initiatives.

“Playgroups have become more diverse and inclusive and connect mums, dads, grandparents, caregivers, same-sex couple families, multicultural and other language groups and children with disabilities. We even have groups for families with shared religious beliefs or educational philosophies.”

“We need every family to complete the Census. It helps Playgroup Australia provide opportunities to achieve our vision of creating a village through play and connect families with young children across the country.”

People experiencing homelessness

Orange Sky Australia

Orange Sky Australia supports people experiencing homelessness. They use Census data to inform where the biggest need for their services are, so they can best support the community with access to free mobile laundry services, warm showers and genuine conversation.

In Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. That means 116,000 people across the country are homeless every night, including those sleeping on the streets.

Orange Sky Communications and Brand Manager, Ben Knight said, “Census data helps us to know where our services are needed in urban and remote areas. It helps us provide important services to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people”.

Nev, an Orange Sky worker, said, “I started out volunteering with Orange Sky when I was homeless and eventually, years later, I became employed and I've been employed for a couple of years now”.

Orange Sky's mission is to positively connect communities. Every day during their own shifts, employees and volunteers on the service are connecting with each other and with friends on the street.

Ben explained that every Orange Sky van has six orange chairs that come out, and volunteers sit down and have genuine conversations with their friends who come to use the service.

“I found it really important to have that weekly conversation, because I wouldn't have many conversations otherwise. It is quite lonely, you're just stuck with your own thoughts,” Nev said.

“It's very important for us to understand the needs of each location. The Census data helps us understand how many people may be experiencing homelessness and where they are. Knowing the location helps us plan where to run our shifts,” Ben said.

“We want to be able to provide a shift where there are the most people experiencing homelessness and can best benefit from the service.”

Orange Sky is now moving out to a platform that will be able to connect all the services they provide across Australia. This will enable them to track their data and understand what impact they're making in the community.

“The 2016 Census found that 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness and the 2021 Census data will help us to continue targeting the right areas,” Ben said.

Hands Across Canberra

Hands Across Canberra raises money and directs it to community organisations to help disadvantaged groups and people in crisis.

CEO Peter Gordon says 2016 Census data was instrumental to its Vital Signs community check-up report, which revealed the needs of disadvantaged people in the community. 

“We support 300 organisations and 100 community projects,” said Mr Gordon.

“Since 2011 we have distributed $3 million to community projects. To ensure our grants have an impact, we need to prioritise funding for where it is needed most to address the critical needs in the community.”

2016 Census data showed areas of Canberra with educational disadvantage and youth unemployment at 10%. This group is at a higher risk of mental health issues and suicide.

Hands Across Canberra granted $25,000 to Canberra’s Police Community Youth Club (PCYC) for an engagement program offering activities and recreation for at-risk young boys living on the edges of South Tuggeranong and West Belconnen.

“It’s a program to keep kids off the street and out of trouble,” explained Mr Gordon.

“PCYC has already changed the lives of 30 boys through great experiences and positive connections, and 200 boys are on the waiting list to join.

“The not-for-profit sector plays an immense role in addressing community need and finding solutions to our toughest problems,” Mr Gordon said.

“Census data and the Vital Signs report helps make connections between real issues and trends in different areas, so funding can focus on immediate need as well as prevention.”

Mr Gordon explains that it is important for everyone to complete the Census because to make a difference in communities, funding decisions must be based on credible data.

“We could not have produced such a comprehensive and useful Vital Signs report if not for Census data. It allowed us to make well informed decisions for grant rounds in 2018 and 2019, and the data will influence granting decisions for years to come.”

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Welcoming Australia

Welcoming Australia’s initiatives help connect refugees, people seeking asylum and recently arrived migrants with their local communities and provide much needed support.

Aleem Ali, CEO of Welcoming Australia says it uses Census data to understand changes in cultural and linguistic diversity, migration, population growth, housing, ageing, and to identify communities that may benefit from its services.

One initiative is Welcoming Cities, a national network of local councils that represents around 30% of the Australian population.

“We work together to help people feel welcomed across all regions in our country,” Mr Ali said.

“The size and multicultural diversity of populations differ greatly. There are about 6,500 people spread across 152,000 kms in the southern part of South West Queensland alone. We used Census data to respond to specific challenges in each area.”

The 2016 Census data showed that nearly two-thirds of permanent migrants who lived in a regional or remote area of Australia are aged between 20 and 49 years. It’s so important for these people and their young families to connect with their local communities so they can quickly settle, contribute and thrive.

A collaboration between Welcoming Cities, the Queensland Government and Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre has uncovered how local communities are building this connection. In Balonne Shire, Welcoming Dinners connects established residents with new migrants and creates a sense of belonging and community.

“Census data has been instrumental in providing local insight to ensure people are accessing the best possible migration and settlement support.”

It also formed the basis of Welcoming Cities’ Guidelines for Regional Growth, distributed to all local councils in Queensland. “

Census data provides an evidence-based approach for decision making which, combined with local council knowledge, gives a holistic view to confirm or challenge assumptions about what migrants need to settle well into a new country,” said Mr Ali.

“It’s also used to inform the councils strategies so community groups, employers and service providers can attract and support migrants and refugees to thrive in their communities.”

Crime Stoppers Australia

Crime Stoppers is Australia’s most trusted national information receiving service for people wanting to anonymously share what they know about unsolved crimes and suspicious activity.

National Chair, Diana Forrester, says Australians contact Crime Stoppers every two minutes. The information they share results in police making about 100 apprehensions weekly nationwide.

“Our efforts encourage people to share information anonymously, particularly about cross-border crimes such as illicit drug manufacture, importation and distribution, wanted fugitives and illegal firearms,” Ms Forrester said.

Census data helps Crime Stoppers see how communities across Australia change over time to develop targeted campaigns that create awareness and build trust in the service.

In 2018, Crime Stoppers used Census data to develop a campaign to support National Crime Stoppers Day with ‘Crime is Crime in any language'. The campaign included supporting materials in a range of languages.

“Census data reported that only two-thirds of the Australian population were born in Australia. Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians had either been born overseas or one or both parents had been born overseas.” The data also showed that one in five Australians speak a language other than English at home.

"Communicating our message in a particular language, such as Mandarin or Arabic, helps to educate more people about the benefits of Crime Stoppers. We want them to know when to share information with us, the types of information that is most valuable, and reinforce that they can do it anonymously,” said Ms Forrester.

“We also want people to communicate with us in the language they feel is most comfortable for them. “Using Census data to communicate appropriately with all members of the community helps to reaffirm that Crime Stoppers is a service that is open and inclusive, regardless of their culture or language,” said Ms Forrester.

Casey Cardinia Public Libraries

The City of Casey is one of Victoria’s largest and fastest growing areas. Casey Cardinia Libraries, with seven branches and a popular mobile library, provides services to the diverse community of more than 420,000 people. From Hampton Park right through to Pakenham, the libraries offer meeting places where people gather, share news and make connections. Library Information Services Coordinator, Michelle McLean, said they use Census data to help identify language needs in the local community.

“In 2016, Census data for the local government area showed a dramatic increase in Punjabi speakers,” said Mrs McLean. “The data showed 6,695 people stated they spoke Punjabi at home compared to 2,531 people in 2011.”

Given the number of Punjabi speakers moving into the local Cranbourne area, the team used this data, along with survey information, to source Punjabi books and materials.

“We invited Punjabi speaking locals to an event so they could recommend items from the sample collection that interested them,” said Mrs McLean. A new language collection was then launched and continues to be used by this growing community.

“We use Census data about languages people speak at home to tell us which communities may benefit from library services,” said Beth Luppino, General Manager Customer Experience.

“We look at the top four or five languages spoken in our communities, as well as emerging ones.” The library team noticed a trend in the use of the less common Oromo language, an Afroasiatic dialect.

“While it’s only a small number of library users, we added to our bilingual book collection and sourced other language support materials to cater for this group,” said Ms Luppino.

“Census data helps us form a picture of the community,” said Ms Luppino.

“It helps tell us who our audience is so we can plan relevant activities, programs and collections. It also encourages people who are newly arrived in Australia to get a free library membership.”

Melrose Park Football Club

In North West Sydney, the ‘world game’ of football (soccer) is bringing people together and helping new migrants and refugees adjust to the local community and Australian culture.

The non-profit Melrose Park Football Club is committed to reflecting the spirit in which football is played across the globe – participation regardless of financial circumstances and transcending language and cultural barriers.

The Club uses Census regional population data to better understand the profile and make-up of the local population in the Melrose Park, Ermington and Ryde communities.

Census data underpinned its business model and business case by highlighting the need for a club
to focus on social inclusion in grassroots football.

Club President Julie Crane said the aim is to increase participation of families from diverse backgrounds in sports and community activities, in turn positively contributing to the community’s social dynamic. Census data is used to help achieve this.

“We specifically target migrants and refugee families, members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, low socio-economic and vulnerable families, girls and women, as well as anyone not currently participating in sports or other local activities,” Ms Crane said.

The Club also used Census data in a grant submission to Ryde Council for its Street Football World Cup Tournament and Intercultural Community Festival held each November.

“The Tournament encourages people who do not currently play sports to participate as a player, coach, manager or supporter, while the Festival brings together and celebrates the region’s many different cultural and language groups,” Ms Crane said.

“Around the Tournament and Festival, community groups also promote and share their culture through market stalls, food and music.

“Migrant families interact in positive ways with each other and the broader community, creating cross-cultural friendships, increasing awareness and understanding of each other, and breaking down social barriers.”

“Census data is really important for us to understand the make-up of our community. It helps us tailor our programs to different groups and our communications for different languages,” she said.

Older Australians

Council on the Ageing

Owning your own home is the great Australian dream and particularly important in the later years of life for overall stability, security and greater financial independence.

While historically retirees have owned their own home, Census data has shown the rate of homeownership among retirees is falling.

The peak body for older Australians, Council on the Ageing (COTA) conducted its State of the (Older) Nation Survey and findings supported the 2016 Census data on homeownership. The survey showed a growing trend for the 50-65 age group to still have mortgage debt. There was also an increase in the number of older renters.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates says this has implications on retirement income policies for older Australians.

“Of the people we spoke to, 68% thought their mortgage would be paid off in less than 10 years,” Mr Yates said. “However, 15% of mortgagees said they would never pay off their mortgage in this time. About 5.2% of others said it would take longer than 20 years to settle their debt.

“Census data also showed us the number of older people renting has risen from 18% to 25% over the past 20 years.

“For this study, we looked at how a person’s job, income and housing security work together to determine a person’s economic security in later life. Our findings revealed that many people are doubly disadvantaged by a lack of secure housing and adequate income as they age.”
COTA used key data from the 2016 Census to support its findings like demographics, family make-up, income and housing situation.

“With Australia’s aging population we know the number of older Australians aged 65 and over is projected to increase significantly over coming years,” Mr Yates said.

“The important information gleaned from the Census is used to liaise with governments to highlight and address these concerns. COTA used Census data in a proposal to government that highlighted the link between the pension and homeownership.

“It’s critical that people take part in the Census so decision-makers get as accurate as possible picture of the nature, distribution and diversity of our population and its needs.

“The future of this country depends on this information,” Mr Yates said.

Mitcham Community House

Mitcham Community House in Melbourne provides educational classes, training and social activities for its diverse community.

Mitcham Community House Manager, Ann Kean said Census data helps plan relevant community support and activities.

“The 2016 Census data showed an increase in parents, many with a Chinese background,” Ms Kean said.

“To cater for our changing community, we started a playgroup with a Mandarin and Cantonese speaking facilitator. Along with a mums and bubs group, a pram walking group and a music and movement class for pre-schoolers.”

Ms Kean says the 2016 Census data also highlighted that the community had a large percentage of seniors and 25% of its population were lone households.

“We introduced a new knitting group that is now one of our most popular activities. The group meets every Monday afternoon. It’s great to see people coming together, laughing, and enjoying the experience.

“Without Census, we would be less informed about what is happening in Mitcham, and potentially exclude people who need us most.

“Completing the Census is so important. The data is a vital planning tool that allows us to meet community needs.”

Bass Valley Community Group

Beautiful beaches, a relaxed lifestyle and a strong sense of community are just some of the many reasons the residents of Bass Valley in rural Victoria choose to call it home.

More than a quarter of people who live in Bass Valley are aged over 65, compared to 15% for the rest of Victoria.

Bass Valley Community Group Manager, Roderick McIvor, said Census data helps to inform services for the local community. “We look at Census data all the time because it helps us stay on course,” Mr McIvor said.

“Occasionally people might ask if we should be doing something else, like focusing on youth. From the Census, we know that older people form our largest demographic and really need our help.

“We can clearly see we have a large ageing population scattered across the Valley, including in some quite isolated locations. This isolation can put older people at risk of being lonely, and it can be hard to do simple things like shopping, social activities and meeting friends.

“We run a community bus to take passengers into town, out for lunch or to social activities like fishing and karaoke. The Community Group also runs events and clubs that give older people the chance to get together.”

By using Census data such as the socio-economic status, age and health profile of his community, Mr McIvor has been able to obtain grants to support his clients. Some of the grants have funded upgrading the op shop and starting a computer club.

“Census data allows us to understand what our community looks like, and working together we can determine where our volunteer services are needed most,” Mr McIvor said.

“The data gives us an insightful base to start our thinking. That’s why it's so important for people to fill out the Census. It’s essential to keep community services like ours running.”


Cancer Council ACT

Striving to achieve its vision of a cancer-free future, Cancer Council ACT uses Census data to target the right demographic groups with education and prevention initiatives.

Cancer Council ACT provides a variety of services for people in the region affected by cancer. This includes advocacy, local cancer research funding, access to its information and support phone line, and prevention programs like SunSmart.

The SunSmart program uses age, education and ancestry data from the Census to target settings where it can have the most impact on reducing future skin cancer rates in Canberra. This includes places like childcare centres, schools and workplaces.

Cancer Council ACT Chief Executive Officer Sandra Turner said skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. At least two in three people are diagnosed before the age of 75.

“While anyone can develop a skin cancer, including a deadly melanoma, and everyone needs sun protection, the risk appears to be significantly higher among certain demographic groups,” Ms Turner said.

“Census age and ancestry data offers us a better understanding of the age breakdown and ancestry of the Canberra population so we can tailor our SunSmart Program.

“2016 Census data tells us there are more than 90,000 Canberrans aged 55 plus. We know many have had years of sun exposure, making them very susceptible to UV-related skin damage and skin cancer, including melanoma.

“Early detection is so important and skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer. 

“We need to reach a large cohort of Canberrans to share a very simple but important early cancer detection public health message.”

Similarly, Ms Turner said the SunSmart Early Childhood and School Programs are critical components in early intervention efforts to reduce future skin cancer rates in the ACT.

“According to the 2016 Census, roughly one in five Canberrans are aged under 14 years, and there were approximately 38,500 children attending a pre-school or primary school every day in the ACT.

“Preventing skin cancer starts early in life. By rolling out our early intervention and detection awareness to early childhood services and primary schools, 38,500 young Canberrans are being SunSmart at least five days a week from about the age of one to 12 years. This significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer.

“The Census gives us a snapshot every five years to help plan future programs, assess needs, and ensure we work with the right people, in the right places, at the right time,” she said.


Wheatbelt Business Network

Spanning more than 150,000 square kilometres in Western Australia’s south west and encompassing 42 local government areas, the Wheatbelt is home to an extensive network of small businesses from a range of industries.

At the heart of this region is the Wheatbelt Business Network (WBN) – a business association that provides support to businesses through advisory services, mentoring, networking and information.

These services help members develop their business, support their towns, and contribute to the economic growth of the region.

Since it began in 2010, WBN has relied on Census data to better understand the region.

WBN CEO Caroline Robinson said Census data has helped identify gaps in its initiatives for members and the wider business community.

“Census data helps the Wheatbelt Business Network forecast future trends and economic changes that could affect the area, and develop focused initiatives targeted at sub-regions, specific demographic groups and communities,” Ms Robinson said.

For example, Census data shows that women in business is one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial demographics in the Wheatbelt. Two-thirds of businesses in the region have a female director, partner or senior decision maker.

In response, the WBN developed the WE Connect business mentoring service, which connects female business owners in the region with high profile and well-respected business leaders.

It also hosts an annual WE Shine event, where female entrepreneurs from across the Wheatbelt network learn from other women.

“This event equips our female business owners and senior managers with valuable skills and networking opportunities to support them as they take the next step with their businesses,” Ms Robinson said.

“We know fostering relationships and building skills greatly contribute to business success, and we aim to provide women with these opportunities in the Wheatbelt.

“It’s important that everyone takes part in the Census. Census data helps guide how the WBN supports women in business, WBN members as well as other rural businesses and the communities that rely on them,” she said.

National planning

National Bushfire Recovery Agency

Almost a year after the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) continues to lead and coordinate the national response to rebuilding affected communities.

To achieve its vision of empowering bushfire-affected communities to recover and build a resilient future, the NBRA is delivering recovery efforts across all levels of government and in partnership with local communities.

ABS and Census data are playing an important part in the long journey to recovery and rebuild.

Acting Director of Data Analytics at the NBRA, Christine Atyeo, said the data is primarily used to provide demographic information for the Agency’s Local Government Area (LGA) profiles.

“More than 100 LGAs were impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires, resulting in loss of life, widespread property and infrastructure damage and destruction of environments and wildlife,” Ms Atyeo said.

“Using Census and other data, we provide detailed information on bushfire-affected LGAs, including demographic data, business and industry make-up, as well as information on bushfire impact, relief and recovery support.”

The interactive map on the NBRA website is an example of how the Census data is used.

“It provides a high-level overview of the population, including demographic, income and employment industry information,” Ms Atyeo said.

“This information helps characterise affected communities, including identifying those that may be more vulnerable to the impacts of disasters, or that may benefit from targeted supports.

“For example, we have in-depth analysis of non-English speaking populations within affected LGAs, comparative to the level of bushfire impact. We have also analysed which LGAs have more people than the national average with a disability or needing assistance with everyday activities.

“This helps us to better target these groups with information about local assistance and support services available. These range from financial and accommodation assistance, to food, clothing and health services, and business and emotional support.

“Bushfire recovery is different in each community. We need a detailed picture of local areas and local recovery needs so communities can move forward.

“Census data is an important source of data about small population groups and geographic areas. When combined with other sources of information, it gives us this picture,” Ms Atyeo said.

National Skills Commission

The National Skills Commission (NSC) develops critical intelligence on Australia’s labour market, workforce changes and emerging skills needs.
NSC Director of Occupational and Industry Analysis Phillip Wise said NSC analyses how movements in the labour market will impact jobs in the future, the long-term unemployed, youth and the underemployed.

“Census data is an intrinsic part of our day-to-day work. We use labour statistics, along with Census demographic, socio-economic, education and place of work data to help establish our evidence base for policy development and support informed decision-making for job seekers.

“Strong, consolidated labour market analysis helps job seekers, governments, tertiary education providers, employers and students make smarter choices about how to invest in training and reskilling,” Mr Wise said.

The NSC’s Job Outlook website combines data from official sources, including the Census, with NSC research to provide detailed information on employment characteristics for more than 1,000 occupations.

“Job Outlook is a guide to Australian occupations and had 1.6 million users in 2019-20. The Census is the only source of information available for all occupations on employment size, workforce composition and dynamics, and job characteristics like hours worked and trends.

“We know from our users that information on specific types of jobs, as enabled by the Census, is important and more relevant than higher level occupational group data.

“It’s the only source of much of the detailed data we need to continue supporting informed decision-making, evidence-based policy development, and program design and evaluation,” Mr Wise said.

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