Our new beta website has arrived. Check out beta.abs.gov.au and tell us what you think.
ABS Home

Census home > News & media > Media resources > Media releases

Media release –

2016 Census most accessible and inclusive yet

21 July 2016 | CO/95

The 2016 online Census form has received certification by internationally recognised industry leader, Vision Australia (VA), to ensure people who are blind or have low vision have a smooth experience when completing the Census.

Digital Access at Vision Australia recently conducted the technical and user-based audits and commended the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the considerable effort they have invested in creating a technically accessible website.

Vision Australia National Manager Digital Access, Neil King said by providing multiple ways to complete the Census, all Australians can be counted.

“The ABS displayed great commitment in making the 2016 Census accessible to Level AA, and their dedication is commendable. Vision Australia has been delighted to have been of assistance in helping the ABS achieve this goal,” Mr King said.

ABS General Manager, Samantha Palmer, says the AA Accessibility standard certification has reinforced the ABS’ commitment to make the 2016 Census the most accessible and inclusive in its 105-year history.

"The ABS is a proud member of the Australian Network on Disability and the Diversity Council,” Ms Palmer said.

“The Census team has worked hard to achieve Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) accessibility requirements. The level of accessibility the online form provides now means people who are blind, deaf or have low vision will be able to complete the Census on their own – something that they should of course be able to do!

“Everyone in Australia on Census night, 9 August, needs to take part, and with the ABS’s digital-first approach to the Census this year, this certification demonstrates the efforts of the ABS to ensure everyone can participate online easily and fully,” Ms Palmer said.

The online Census form is compatible with screen reader programs such as Jaws or Window Eyes, or a person can have a friend or family member assist them with either the Online Census form or the paper form.

The ABS can also provide the Census form and other Census information in alternate formats such as braille, large print and audio.

Auslan (Australian Sign Language) advocate and 2015 Young Australian of the Year, Drisana Levitzke-Gray, has also praised the ABS for its inclusiveness, welcoming the Auslan Census support material.

“It is pleasing to see the 2016 Census is providing Australians with an engaging, modern, sophisticated Census experience that will help people who are deaf complete their Census form,” Ms Levitzke-Gray said.

“I encourage people who use Auslan as their native or main language to write ‘other’ on their Census form. Putting Auslan as your main language will provide evidence of the support our beautiful language needs.”

Deaf or hard of hearing people can contact the Census Inquiry Service through the National Relay Service from 22 July until 30 September from 8am - 8pm AEST. Please note the Online Census form cannot be completed using the audio form.

VicDeaf have organised an information session about the Census to present information on accessibility options for deaf and hard of hearing Australians. This will be live streamed on Tuesday, 26 July from 7pm. Click here for more details about the live stream event on accessibility options for deaf and hard of hearing Australians.

Background information on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing

The ABS anticipates more than two thirds of the population will complete the Census online making the 2016 Census the largest online event in the nation’s history.

The 2016 online form uses less than one quarter of one thousandth of a gigabyte (250kb) so the form can be uploaded quicker than a Google image search or two seconds of a YouTube video.

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

Media inquiries

National Media Manager (P) 02 6252 6617, 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday or 0429 955 731 outside of business hours (E)

The ABS is committed to upholding the privacy, confidentiality and security of all the personal information it collects. Read more about our approach to privacy and our privacy policy on the ABS website.

Media resources

Media releases

Media fact sheets