Survey Participant Information - Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers


The 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) is an important social survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and is being enumerated from July 2018 to March 2019. The 2018 SDAC will be the ninth in the series, which were previously conducted in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2012 and 2015. The SDAC is designed to collect information about people with a disability, older people (those aged 65 years and over) and people who provide assistance to older people and people with disabilities (carers). Information that is collected will assist government and community agencies to plan appropriate types and numbers of services each year, and plan for future needs. Survey data is also used by groups advocating to government on behalf of people with disabilities, carers and aged persons.

The survey will approach over 21,000 households selected at random across Australia. Selected households will receive an explanatory letter informing them of their selection in the survey together with a brochure which outlines the survey and their role in it. Households will be offered the opportunity to register for the survey to help coordinate a convenient time for the interview. If a household does not register, a fully trained ABS interviewer will contact the occupants, explain the purpose of the survey, answer any questions they might have and make an appointment for the survey interview.

Participant Information

What information is collected?

In addition to collecting general information including age, birthplace, cultural background, employment, education and income, the survey will collect information about:

People with disabilities

- how their disability affects their lives
- what support they need and receive
- who provides the support – family/friends, government, other support organisations.

Older people (aged 65 and over)

- how growing older may restrict activity and community participation
- what support they need and receive

People who provide support and assistance to an older person or a person with a disability

- their experience as carers
- how their caring role affects them

People under 65 who are not carers and do not have a disability

- basic demographic information

How was the content of the survey determined?

The content of the survey was developed in consultation with a wide range of users of the survey data, including federal and state government agencies, non-government service providers and researchers. Topics included in the survey are those identified as being of the highest priority to address policy, planning and research questions. The range and type of information obtained from the survey are generally not available from other sources.

How will the ABS contact me?

A Survey Guide will be sent to each selected household. The Guide will provide information about the survey and explain how you can register your contact details. An interviewer will then contact you to arrange a suitable time to conduct a face to face survey.

If you do not register your details by the due date in the letter, an interviewer will visit you to arrange a suitable time to conduct the survey.

An ABS interviewer can be identified by their official ABS photo identification card.

How are people selected for inclusion in the survey?

Dwellings are selected at random across Australia (excluding very remote areas) so that within each State and Territory each household has a known chance of selection.

Each selected dwelling represents a number of others in that area, in that State and in Australia. The information collected from each selected household is used to represent a number of others which are like them in terms of their household composition, location, age, employment characteristics, lifestyle and health. The co-operation of all those selected is important to ensure all households/persons are properly represented in the survey and so are properly reflected in the survey results.

This survey doesn’t apply to us, so why can’t you skip our house?

It is very important to make sure that every household in Australia has an equal chance of being selected for this survey. This means that when all the selected houses are combined, the survey will resemble the whole community which they represent. Once your household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as other households already had their chance of being selected, and this could mean that some parts of the community are under or over represented.

In order to determine the proportion of Australians who are in the target groups (people with disabilities, older people aged 65 years and over, and carers) and compare their overall situations with people who are not, it is important that everyone participates.

Is the survey compulsory?

The questions in the survey are asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information that is requested. The ABS is required by the Act to maintain the secrecy of all information provided. No information will be released in a way that would enable an individual or household to be identified.

Will I be paid for my time?

No. As with all other surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we rely on the cooperation of households.

What happens if there are people in the household who don't speak English?

An ABS interviewer who speaks the language of the household may contact the household. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to organise an interpreter to conduct the interview.

Will the information provided be confidential?

The ABS takes the security of the information you provide to us very seriously.

The survey information is collected using a notebook computer and then securely transferred to the ABS office environment. The computer makes the survey quicker and easier to do, and means you only need to answer the questions that relate to you and your household.

All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Secrecy in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $21,600 fine, or both.

The ABS complies with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe the ABS has breached these principles, you can find information on how to lodge a complaint here. This link also provides more detail on the ABS's own Privacy Policy.

The Results

What are some examples of the ways in which the survey information is used?

The results of the survey are used to research new policy ideas, plan support services and lobby for changes to existing systems. For example, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers results were used in the initial design of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the largest change in the way disability support services are managed in Australia's history. The results also tell us the economic value of the work done by informal carers, allow us to investigate health inequalities between people with and without disabilities and help us understand the support needs of people with disabilities and the aged.

Some examples of the ways in which the survey information is used include:

Autism in Australia
Economic participation of older Australians (aged 65 years and over) with and without disability
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disability
Australians living with communication disability
Psychosocial disability

Where can I get more information?

If you want further information about this survey, please call 1800 655 107 (free call, excluding mobile phones).

For more information about participating in ABS surveys, see the Household Survey Participant Information FAQ's.

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