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Census 2016: your participation benefits African communities

by  Africa Media Australia



 Australian census takes place every five years. The evening of Tuesday, 9 August, 2016 is Census Night.

Census figures are well respected official figures. It is important that the 2016 Census gives a complete account of the population of people of African background, a growing community in Australia. Australian politicians and service providers rely on Census figures and would usually ask how many of people of your ethnic background live in a suburb, local council, constituency or state. An under count does not help our cause of being heard in the Australian society or quest to break barriers to services.

Remember that the ethnic language you speak at home may not be listed. You may then need to tick “Yes, other (please specify)” and write the name of the language.

This year, Census will be completed online. A letter from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been sent to all homes in Australia with the  login code and website address. Completing census by filling a paper form is still possible but this must be requested by calling 1300 820 275 to request a form to be sent. 

Completion of census form by every household is compulsory. If not completed by mid-September, a fine of up to $180 per day may apply.

Many community leaders within African Australian families are encouraging all members of the community to participate and provide data to the government about Afro-Australian communities.


Questions and Answers on the 2016 Census


Is the Census compulsory?

Yes, completing the Census is compulsory. The ABS has overwhelming community support for the Census. The vast majority of householders willingly cooperate.

When will I receive my Census Instruction Letter?

You should receive your Census Instruction Letter in the mail from early August.

Lookout for the green text and padlock symbol on the envelope, with the text “Your Census Login inside. Keep it safe”. On the back of the envelope, again in green, you will see the text “Keep this safe and save the date. Census night is Tuesday, 9 August 2016.”

If you have lost your letter or it doesn’t arrive by Census night on 9 August 2016, contact the Census Inquiry Service. To better understand your letter see Understanding your Census materials.

Are paper forms still available in 2016?

Paper forms will still be made available to households that need them. Households will also be provided with Reply Paid envelopes. Once completed, forms should be mailed back as soon as possible.

In some areas of Australia, including areas that are more rural and areas where a greater need for paper forms is expected, paper forms will be hand delivered by Census staff along with a unique Census Login number.



To request a paper form

If you can’t complete the Census online, or you would like to request a paper form, send us an inquiry or call our dedicated paper form request service on 1300 820 275 and we’ll send you one. The service is open 24 hours and you just need your 12-digit Census Login, which you can find in the middle of your Census letter.

What help is available for people in hospitals, nursing homes and aged care facilities?

In some locations, such as hospitals and nursing homes, Special Census Field Officers will be employed to provide help in completing the Census. Help can also be provided by family members, friends, carers or a Census Field Officer.

What is the ABS doing to protect my privacy and keep my data secure?

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 ensures that Census data is never released in an identifiable form, or released to any court, tribunal or any other agency. This will not change. Other government agencies, private agencies and direct marketing companies will not have access to personal information that you provide on the Census form. This is protected by law.

Census data is stored in highly secure environments, protected by physical and information technology security measures that are regularly audited and upgraded.

The 2016 Census is not asking for any additional personal information not provided in the previous Census. Names and addresses have been collected in every Census.

Once Census data has been collected and processed, the ABS removes names and addresses from other personal and household information, and it will never be recombined. The ABS will retain names and addresses collected in the Census in order to enable a richer and more dynamic statistical picture of Australia, through the combination of Census data with other survey and administrative data. Names and addresses will be destroyed in August 2020 or earlier.

For more information on this, please see our Your privacy page.

What if I will be away from home on Census night?

Everyone who is in Australia on Census night needs to participate in the Census, no matter where you are. Whether you are an international visitor, travelling to remote areas, simply travelling interstate or staying away from home due to a natural disaster or other reason, arrangements have been made for you to complete the Census.

Staying with family or friends

If you are staying with family or friends on Census night, make sure you are included on their form.

Staying in other accommodation

For those staying at an accommodation service such as a hotel, serviced apartment, hostel or caravan park, your accommodation service provider will give you a form when you arrive.

Travelling in remote areas

Special Field Officers will be found at certain locations in remote areas such as truck stops and caravan parks. They will provide you with a Census form or information on how to complete the Census online. If you are travelling and staying in remote parts of Australia on Census night, and do not receive a Census form from a dedicated pick-up location, please contact the Census Inquiry Service.


Away from home due to natural disaster

In areas that have experienced natural disasters, the Census will count how many people reside in, or intend to return to, the affected areas. Answers to the question about your usual address will provide accurate information about these areas to inform planning decisions and rebuilding efforts.

Overseas on Census night

If you are not in Australia on Census night, you are not required to complete the Census. If you’re overseas on Census night, we use the information collected on overseas departure cards from Australia’s ports and airports to add Australian residents back in – you will still be counted.

International visitors

If you are visiting Australia on Census night, you are required to participate. Your accommodation provider will give you a form or details of how to complete the Census online.

Unoccupied dwelling or property

If you have a property or dwelling that you know will be empty on Census night please contact the Census Inquiry Service.

At work on Census night – shift work

If you’re working on Census night and return home the next day, you should include the details of your usual dwelling on your Census form. You should complete your form as soon as possible.


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