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Census data helps cultural groups keep language and culture alive

Media Release
Released
5/07/2021

As part of NAIDOC Week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and achievements throughout Australia.

It’s also an opportunity to share how cultural groups can use Census data to help keep language and culture alive.

Renowned Torres Strait Islander cultural group from Murray Island, Eip Karem Beizam, used Census data in grant applications to secure funding.

Vera Havilli is a proud Meriam woman from Murray Island in the Torres Strait, and coordinator for Eip Karem Beizam. She shared her story about how Census data helped to support continuation of culture for the Meriam community living away from Murray Island.

The cultural group has more than 60 members, including professional dancers, weavers, linguists, singers and songwriters. They run cultural programs and language workshops for Meriam people living away from Murray Island.

“Our mission is to ensure the Meriam people and culture survives for generations to come. We are using Census data to help us with this mission,” Vera said. 

“Other cultural groups can also use the Census data to identify opportunities to build a better tomorrow.”

Vera also works as a Census Engagement Manager on Thursday Island. A big part of her role is to make sure communities and islands across the Torres Strait are well informed and prepared to complete the Census.

Vera says NAIDOC week is an important time to talk about participating in the Census as it helps provide services and plan for community needs.

“Being counted in the Census benefits your community – so it’s important to complete this year,” Vera said.

The next Census is on Tuesday 10 August. Instructions on how to participate will be sent to households in early August. Census staff will be in remote communities during July and August to help people complete their Census.

For more information visit www.census.abs.gov.au

More information

What is the Census?
The Census, held on Tuesday 10 August 2021, is a snapshot of who we are and tells the story of how we are changing. It is one of the largest and most important statistical collections undertaken by the ABS.

How will people complete their Census?
People will be able to complete the Census online, on their mobile device, or on paper. There will be a number of options available for people who need assistance to complete their Census form including help from Census field staff, and phone and online help.

What is new with the Census?
People will be encouraged to complete their Census, as soon as they receive their instructions, if they know where they’ll be on 10 August. They don’t have to wait until Census night.

The ABS will also introduce new questions in the 2021 Census—the first changes to questions collected since 2006. The new questions are on long-term health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, and on defence force participation.

Media notes

For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on media@abs.gov.au or 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).

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