Census 2021: Top five facts you need to know before you complete it

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You’ve probably seen the ads for the 2021 Census and next week every Australian household will be required to fill out their census form.

Census data plays an important part in shaping government policy decisions and is a snapshot of Australia. Accurate data means no one gets left behind when planning the country’s healthcare, housing, aged care and other essential services.

1. What is new with the Census?

People can now complete their Census as soon as they receive their instructions in the mail. They don’t have to wait until Census night, which is Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

There are two new questions in the 2021 Census – the first changes to questions collected since 2006. The new questions are on long-term health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, and on defence force participation.

The census will no longer ask whether people have internet access within a household due to a rise in mobile internet use.

2. How can you complete your Census?

People are able to complete the Census online, on their mobile device or on paper. A number of options are available for people who need assistance to complete their Census form including help from Census staff, and phone and online help.

For in-language support, people can call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450.

Census staff will be in remote communities to help people complete the Census during July and August.

3. Ancestry, religion and language:

Questions were raised over the last week about the ‘ancestry’ section on the Census which listed a number of ethnicities but not Greek. This includes: English, Irish, Scottish, Italian, German, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian.

In saying this, Greek Australians are encouraged to specify ‘Greek’ in the ‘other’ section.

In addition, they are also being encouraged to mark ‘Greek’ as their ‘other than English language’ and ‘Greek Orthodox’ in the religion section of the Census form.

4. What happens if you don’t fill the Census out?

The Census is compulsory and everyone who is staying in your house on Census night must be included (even visitors and babies).

Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, the Australian Statistician can issue you a Notice of Direction, which directs you in writing to complete the Census. The notice explains that if you don’t complete the Census, you can be prosecuted and fined up to $222 a day.

You don’t need to complete the Census if you’re overseas.

5. Are there any concerns your data will be leaked?

The ABS says it will “never release information that can identify you” and that protecting Australians’ privacy is its “highest priority.”

Legally, Census information must be made secure and cannot show information about a person, household or business that identifies them.

Organisations can’t access any personal information you include on your Census form. This includes government departments and direct marketing companies.

For Census information in Greek visit: https://bit.ly/37cS8Ee or for more details visit: http://abs.gov.au.

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