Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Counting the Cost- Saving the Census

You may have read that the Federal Government, at the request of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and in response to funding pressures, is considering possible changes to the ABS Census. The next Census is due in August 2016.  Check out the back story in these two articles.



Presently there is a Census every five years. There is talk about conducting the Census every ten years and, between Censuses, to collect information from samples only. We believe that a threat to timely and accurate census data is a threat to fact-based debate and data-driven policy making.

Why? Because surveys that rely upon sampling techniques do not provide useful information at the small area level which allow results to be interpreted with reasonable confidence.

This also will have a negative impact on the provision of community services across Australia, especially for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Just one example. The NSW Tenants Advice and Advocacy Program applies a formula for allocating funds to local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services that draws upon Census data. A 10-year Census will not provide an accurate picture of the demography of small towns and local government areas between Censuses.

So, in early March of this year, the Tenants’ Union of NSW wrote to the Hon Joe Hockey expressing our concern. We are awaiting his reply.

Read more about why we need to keep the 5-year Census. There is also a ‘Save the Census’ letter you can send to Canberra.

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