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Media release –

Still plenty of time before August 9

3 August 2016 | CO/98

With one week to go before Census night on August 9, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) would like to remind people there’s still plenty of time before Australia’s largest online event takes place.

Head of the Census Program, Duncan Young, thanked Australians for their enthusiastic embrace of the Census, which reflects its importance to Australians and to the nation.

“Since letters starting arriving late last week, our phone lines have received over 500,000 calls from people asking questions about the Census and requesting paper forms,” Mr Young said.

“This clearly shows that Australians are acting now in huge numbers so they can take part in this year’s Census, rather than waiting to be reminded or for the ABS to follow up.

“However, we recognise the keen interest in participation from Australians has led to frustration for many, with some people not able to get in contact with our general inquiry service and automated paper form request service during peak periods.

“There have been higher than anticipated volumes of calls during peak periods, and we apologise for any inconvenience and ask people to keep trying. We have expanded our capacity and extended our hours, and will extend these further next week.

“The paper request form is open 24 hours so you can call outside of business hours and on the weekend. Paper forms will be sent out priority post so will get there in plenty of time before Census night,” he said.

Households that are yet to receive anything should wait as it is likely that Census material is already on its way. As with previous Censuses, all households will have what they need to complete their form online or on paper by Census night.

Mr Young reassured the public that if they do not complete their Census on Census night, August 9, they will not be fined from August 10.

“Following Census night, we will remind people who haven’t yet taken part that they still can. We will be giving people ample opportunity to complete their Census in the weeks following Census night.

“From mid-August, Census Field Officers will visit houses that haven’t completed their Census to remind and assist residents to complete their form.

“The ABS has always done everything possible to ensure that people are counted as part of the Census, with fines always being the last option – in 2011, out of 20 million people counted in the Census, fewer than 100 people were fined,” Mr Young said.

Anyone who has received their Census letter containing their 12-digit login number can complete their Census online now.

“The online form is easy, safe and secure and has more than enough capacity to handle the majority of Australians going online on August 9. Just remember that Census forms must be completed in relation to Census night,” Mr Young said.

The Census Inquiry Service is open from 8.30am – 10.00pm daily (EST) on 1300 214 531.
The Paper Form Request Service is open 24/7 on 1300 820 275.

For more information about the Census, visit census.abs.gov.au.

Background information on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing

Data collected from the 2016 Census will support funding decisions for services and infrastructure including housing, transport, education, industry, hospitals, and the environment.

The change in the approach to the Census in 2016 is reducing paper used by 327,000 kg or 5,000 trees, allowing data to be released two months earlier and reducing the cost of the Census overall by over $100m.

Key 2016 Census dates:

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.

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