The Australian Census, which happens once every five years, is a massive undertaking. Every person and dwelling in Australia on Census night needs to be counted. With funding to services such as local government, health, education and future planning influenced by Census data, if it’s wrong there are ramifications for the next five years.
In the 2006 Census 3.5% of Western Australians weren’t counted. This undercount was concentrated in certain regional areas and across particular groups, for example 24% of Indigenous people. In much of regional WA there was high (and frequently vocal) dissatisfaction. The reputation of the ABS and the Census had been seriously damaged.
The WA Census Team had to do very much better in regional WA.
For 2011, the WA Census team developed a strategy based on developing partnerships and working with the most at-risk regions and target audiences to restore confidence in the ABS and deliver an accurate Census count.
Using a program of stakeholder planning workshops in critical regions, the Census Team gathered detailed information about the issues it would face, and ideas and support to address these issues. From then on, in partnership with and being responsive to communities, we worked together to achieve the best Census result ever for WA.