Why we need to save the 2016 Census

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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9 Responses

  1. I have written to my local member Wyatt Roy MP for Longman and got no reply. Apart from voting out LNP on next election, what else can I do to stop census going way of dodo?

  2. I re-read the ABS statement. All Census forms will be posted. If people do not send the form back or use internet, ABS will visit to get form filled in.

    So there is a census.

    See http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2007.0main+features62016

    • Hi Dwight, that link comes from the Census consultation process which happened in 2012/13. That was long before the current budget cuts and current statement by the Australian Statistician that he wants to replace the Census with a sample survey.

      It’s certainly true that the ABS have been looking at a mail out methodology for 2016, and if it goes ahead that’s likely the form it will take, but we’ve never seen the results of that consultation process and the ABS is now well behind on planning.

  3. Simone says:

    We also need a 2016 Census because we need to rebase the ERP to ensure that their intercensal estimates are correct. As we know now, the ABS was about 300,000 out last Census, and the resulting rebasing/recalibrating of the ERP was substantial. As this data is used widely we need to know the numbers are correct and if they can be substantially out over a five year period imagine what can happen over 10 years!

    I also don’t know what to think of the contention that the ABS is behind in their planning of the 2016 Census. This seems to have arisen through conjecture rather than an official statement. At the 2014 APA Conference the ABS Census people gave no indication that they were behind in their planning, in fact the impression was that it was all go with the new field methodology and that they had given some thought to the pros and cons of the new approach.

  4. Andrew McLaren says:

    I will write also. What else can we do. The thought of not having a census is preposterous. Which penny-pinching, small-minded, ignorant beaurocrazy came up with that? How can they fob us off with second-best, second-hand estimates of statistics? I have a strong Interest in the promotion, development and growth of regional Australia. No census effectively means that, down the track, no regional Australia. How can infrastructure develop? How can ANY planning be done? Any question the census answers now will then be answered with “I don’t know”.

  5. Catrin Griffiths says:

    I just sent an email to my local MP as well. I agree with Andrew’s comments above! I did point out that Census data is also used every day by organisations and businesses both large and small to make investment decisions which contribute billions to the economy, including his very own Treasury.

  6. Fern Smith says:

    There are a thousand and one reasons not to cut the ABS… surely the information collected assists Australia in risk mitigation.

  7. BIll says:

    EVIDENCE BASED PLANNING!!

    A strong, robust time-series data-set [provided by the Census] is one of the Nation’s few foils against political/corporate influence and sectional-interests in long-term strategic planning.

    There is no doubt in my mind that we are loosing the capabilities [and it appears the political will], to maintain transparent, genuine evidence-based approaches to public policy.

    Absurd as it sounds….It won’t be long before we hear the phrase ” commercial-in-confidence” when it comes to mid and long-range population and related projections.

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