27 June 2017
Transcript - #2017035, 2017

2016 Census data release doorstop interview, West Wyalong

SUBJECTS: 2016 Census data

McCORMACK

I’m absolutely delighted that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its Census for 2016 this morning at 10.00am.

I’m absolutely delighted that the Head Statistician for the ABS David Kalisch has assured Australians that the Census from last August was both useful and very, very much useable.

I’m absolutely delighted that the Independent Assurance Panel has guaranteed to Australians that not only was their data safe but their data was of a very rich quality.

I’m absolutely delighted that 95.1% of households responded to the Census. That is a figure which is comparable to other Censuses conducted worldwide, in the UK, in Canada, in New Zealand. The Independent Assurance Panel has guaranteed that that data, that response rate is going to provide people right throughout Australia with the information that their communities need to be able to be equitably funded. That’s what the Census does. It makes sure that communities such as West Wyalong, where I am here this morning at a small business forum, get the funding that they deserve, they want, they expect, and that they need.

A needs basis is something that the Census provides. Australians, 24.4 million of the estimated resident population according to the Census, 24.4 million Australians distributed right across this great country can now have confidence that the Census conducted last August will provide them with that rich data will provide them with the information that their individual communities need so that they get the proper funding as far as education, as far as health, as far as infrastructure, roads and rail.

That’s what the Census is all about and I thank Australians for getting in, for filling out the Census. I thank them for filling it out online because that was a considerable saving to the taxpayers of this nation, more than $100 million was saved by doing it online.

Whilst I appreciate that there was a Census outage, whilst I appreciate that certainly there were concerns prior to the Census in relation to privacy, I am glad that the Independent Assurance Panel has guaranteed that not only people’s privacy concerns were well and truly unfounded, but also that outage on the night did not affect the response rate. 95.1%, that’s comparable to other international Censuses and the information is of a rich data so that these sorts of communities in West Wyalong, population 3,141, that makes sure that this little town which is very much the heartbeat of what the Census is all about, making sure it gets properly funded, making sure that the nation, the figures for the nation are correct and accurate. I am really delighted that so many Australians got on board, supported the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but more importantly supported their own communities.

JOURNALIST

You have already answered the city question, so I will move on to the regional questions. From the results of this Census, is it good news for regional areas out here in the bush?

McCORMACK

It is good news for the regions because what it shows is that the average amount of money spent per incomes on households on rental or on mortgages is actually considerably lower than those in metropolitan areas.

What we also know is that there are jobs out here in the regions. So for anybody watching this telecast in Sydney, or listening to it have a look over the Great Dividing Range. There are jobs and opportunities available in regional areas.

I appreciate the Census also shows that the rate of people in metropolitan areas, the population rate is going up way higher than those in the regions. But what it also shows is that there is a vibrant community out here in the bush. What it also shows is these communities are increasing their internet usage, are increasing their housing affordability, that it is very much affordable to have a house in one of the regions. What better time than to move to one of the regions than right now?

JOURNALIST

Could it also be a time for investment to possibly come out this way as a result of the Census data as well?

McCORMACK

I’ve always said that the regions are fantastic places in which to live, in which to work and in which to raise a family.

The Census data, the very high quality Census data just proves that point. What the Census perhaps doesn’t show is the fact that there are very much traffic jams and the like in Sydney and Melbourne and elsewhere. Certainly West Wyalong where the air is pretty clean and there are jobs and there are very affordable homes. But that is not to say that living in a metropolitan city isn’t fantastic either.

Australia is a wonderful place in which to live. I was in Melbourne on the weekend, I love the place. Metropolitan areas are a fantastic place to also go, to visit.

But what the Census does show is that anywhere in Australia there are fantastic opportunities, there are jobs. It’s a great country in which to live. It provides a very rich quality snapshot of what the nation was like in August last year. What it shows is that we are also a very caring giving nation.

Just here in West Wyalong alone, 29% of people have volunteered. That’s from 15 years and up, 29% of people volunteer. How good is that?

What the Census also shows is that so many people are looking after older people, are looking after people with a disability.

The Census also shows, if you delve into it deep enough that Australians are a compassionate, caring bunch of people. We love our country, the Census brings that out in figures, it mightn’t show it in [inaudible] but it certainly shows it in figures.

JOURNALIST

Do we see regional areas becoming a more ageing population? Is that an issue from this data?

McCORMACK

Australia’s population is ageing and the Census does reflect that. That’s why it is important because it also shows that governments, whether they’re local councils, whether they’re State Governments or indeed whether they’re indeed the Commonwealth, need to look at those figures and to see what we can do to make sure that the proper health-spend is there, the proper mental health care is there.

What it also shows is that we also need to make sure that our highways and byways, both regionally and in capital cities are well funded, so that for those grey nomads, for those baby boomers who are taking an inland holiday, so that they can have the safety and certainty that they can travel around Australia on very good roads.

That’s what the Census does. It provides that rich data, that rich information where demographers, where business people and where governments of all persuasions and at all levels use and utilise, and will be doing so for the next five years.

JOURNALIST

Thanks for that.

McCORMACK

My pleasure.