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Clarification – reports published regarding fines issued for the 2021 Census

Media Statement

Reporting published from 3 October referencing that up to 10 per cent of Australian households could be fined for failing to take part in the 2021 Census is inaccurate.

The ABS always asks for willing cooperation, however, if someone refuses to participate in the Census, the Australian Statistician can direct them to complete a form through a formal written notice. 

If someone continues to refuse to complete their Census after being directed by the Australian Statistician, they can then be prosecuted and may be fined.

In previous Censuses this refusals process has constituted only a small portion of people who fail to complete the Census.

There have been no fines issued as yet for the 2021 Census.

Whilst we won't have a final response rate until we have completed all of our data processing, we are expecting the final response rate for Australia to exceed 95 per cent. The ABS will publish a final response rate for the 2021 Census with the first release of Census data in June 2022.

The Census is compulsory under the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Media notes  

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