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Media release –

ABS celebrates NAIDOC Songlines

5 July 2016 | CO/93

As part of NAIDOC Week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders culture, history and achievements at various events across the country, and encouraging Indigenous Australians to make sure their voices are heard next month on Census night - Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

Head of the Census Program, Duncan Young, says the 2016 NAIDOC theme, Songlines: the living narrative of our nation, is a reminder of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, language and connection to country, which today is expressed through the arts, family, religion, sport and ceremony.

“Since the 1971 Census, statistical information has been collected from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a national scale. The 2011 Census told us that 548,369 people identified as Indigenous, which is about 2.5 per cent of the population,” Mr Young said.

“NAIDOC Week is an important time for us to talk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the Census and why it’s important they take part and identify their origin so we can capture an accurate picture of our nation’s cultural groups.

“Like Songlines, we need to build a narrative of our country, which will help inform Indigenous policy and allocation of funding for important services, like schools, health clinics and housing in Indigenous communities across Australia,” Mr Young said.

NSW Census Engagement Manager, Lauren Phillips, said for her, NAIDOC Week is about celebrating Aboriginal culture and using ‘the Koori Grapevine’ to spread positive messages to families and the community.

“During NAIDOC Week we rely on the Koori Grapevine to encourage people to complete the Census and make sure their voice is heard.

“Aboriginal families communicate by coming together and sharing knowledge, whether it’s about Census or school, sport or health. This is how Aboriginal people have always shared their stories and NAIDOC Week is a time to talk to people,” Ms Phillips said.

The information provided in the Census is kept private and not shared with anyone, including the Police, Housing, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or Centrelink.

The Census will be conducted in remote communities during July and August 2016, with Remote Area Mobile Teams already working with Indigenous communities to ensure they’re counted in the Census.

From early August, households in urban areas will receive a letter which provides information on how to complete the Census online. It also provides information on how to request a paper form.

Background information on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing

The 2016 Census of Population and Housing aims to count 10 million dwellings and approximately 24 million people in Australia on Tuesday 9 August to help shape Australia’s future.

Data from the 2011 Census told us the largest populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians lived in New South Wales (208,500 people) and Queensland (189,000 people). The smallest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians lived in the Australian Capital Territory (6,200 people).

For further information on the 2016 Census, visit www.census.abs.gov.au

Key 2016 Census dates:

July to Aug 2016 Census Field Staff visit remote communities
Late July to early Aug 2016Census Instruction letters and forms will be delivered
9 August 2016Census night
Mid Aug to late Sept 2016Household visits
April 2017The first results from the 2016 Census released

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