So Minister, what’s the latest with the Census?
Well the first release of data from last year’s Census comes today at 11.30, where a ‘typical’ Aussie snapshot will be released. And that will show what a typical Aussie looks like, across the nation, also through the States and Territories.
It will compare what today’s ‘typical’ Aussie is like and to characteristics in the first Census back in 1911. It’s going to be an interesting release. Of course the full analysis – gender, age, religion and the full details of the Census – will be released on June 27. I look forward to that.
But the Census from 2016, despite a bit of a hiccup where the website went down for a day or so, I can happily report that 96 per cent of households responded to the Census. That was on a par with the Censuses from 2006 and 2011. The data was not compromised. And so I very much look forward to today’s release of the snapshot of what is a ‘typical’ Aussie.
Of course, we all know that no two Australians are the same. We all know that Australians are all very unique and very different. So it will be a good release. The first release of data from last year’s Census today and I very much look forward to June 27 when more analysis – more detailed analysis – from last year’s Census will be released.
How do you see these results shaping the future of policies, the budget, coming up? Will it influence that?
Well the Census does shape the nation as it is. And it is important. I am glad that despite the hiccup of last year’s Census where the website went down for a day or so, people still responded. So they have faith in the Bureau of Statistics. They have faith in the Census process. Australians have always had faith in the Census process because they know that the information they provide to the Australian Bureau of Statistics helps to ensure that funding for vital infrastructure, for schools, for hospitals, is rolled out equitably.
So whether you’re in the regions, or whether you’re indeed in a capital city, that Census information is so important. I’m so pleased that so many people got online and filled out the Census. Indeed 58 per cent of people filled out their forms online and 96 per cent of households responded to the Census. That is on par with previous Censuses, and so that gives the ABS confidence the data is going to be a very good mix. And to tell the ABS – and therefore inform Governments – where funding should be spent. It also helps ensure the population areas in rural and remote parts of Australia are very much looked after – as they should be – just as capital cities should be so we get that infrastructure rolled out.
We have a $50 billion infrastructure programme and we will make sure that is going to the places which need it.