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Selected areas of brisbane tested for next national census, Aug 2003
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August 14, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Selected areas of brisbane tested for next national census

In one of the first steps towards the next national Census of Population and Housing, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will be conducting a census test in August with approximately 6,000 households in selected areas of Brisbane.

Census tests are an integral part of the seven year census planning cycle, as it ensures that all elements of the census from form and question development to delivery procedures are rigorously tested.

The test will involve selected households within the areas of Kangaroo Point, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, St Lucia, Taringa, Slacks Creek and Woodridge.

Census Development Director, David Nauenburg said that not everyone within selected suburbs are being asked to participate in the test. If people in these suburbs do not get a census test form, they should not be worried.

Collectors with official identification will deliver census test forms to all households within the selected areas between 9 and 18 August.

Householders participating in the test are being asked to complete their census test form on Tuesday, 19 August 2003.

Collectors will return to collect the forms from households during the period 20 to 31 August.

Results from this test will assist the ABS develop better form design, collection procedures and field communication methods for the next national Census of Population and Housing in 2006.

Preliminary field work for the Brisbane test included the checking of maps and collection district boundaries, as well as initiating contact with the management of large apartment complexes and hotels/motels.

The census test is carried out under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

What is a census test?

The census test is carried out under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

The ABS undertakes about five tests in the five year period between censuses. A year out from each census the ABS conducts a dress rehearsal, which involves the testing of some 40,000 households.

Test areas are selected on the basis that the areas are representative of large areas of the rest of the country.

Conducting tests allows the ABS to develop and improve survey methods, so when the actual Census of Population and Housing is carried out, the ABS can obtain the highest quality information from Australians for:
  • Planning community services and facilities;
  • Determining the number of seats each state and territory has in the House of Representatives; and
  • Determining the level of grants distributed to state and local governments.

With the distribution of over 30 billion dollars a year of government funding at stake, it makes sense to thoroughly test every aspect of the census to ensure that each state and territory receives its due allocation.

When and where is the census test?

Census test night is on Tuesday the 19 August, 2003.

The test is being conducted in selected parts of Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Kangaroo Point, St Lucia, Taringa, Slacks Creek and Woodridge.

Not everyone within these areas are part of the test - only selected parts of these suburbs. If people in these areas do not get a census test form, they should not be concerned.

Who is involved?

By the 18th August census test forms will be delivered to some 6,000 households in selected areas of Brisbane.

The census test includes:
    • All persons present in the targeted area on census test night; and
    • Visitors to Australia (regardless of how long they have been in the country or how long they plan to stay) who are staying in the targeted area on census test night.

What is the ABS testing?

The next Census of Population and Housing is in 2006, but before this several tests are needed to see how new methods and questions work.

The Brisbane test will focus on:
  • Developing new questions on the topics of disability and industry;
  • Evaluating the processes involved in conducting the census in difficult collection areas like secure buildings/apartments and non-private dwellings;
  • Improving procedures for conducting the census with specialised dwellings like caravan parks and retirement villages;
  • Identifying the best method of incorporating an electronic form into the census;
  • Providing a reliable and fast method of communication with field staff;
  • Improving the procedures in the areas of recruitment, staff payment, training and field documentation.

Privacy is paramount!

The information provided by householders in the Brisbane test remains strictly confidential. Governments, business groups and private individuals have no access to test householders personal details.

No information is ever released by the ABS that would enable an individual or household to be identified. As a final privacy safeguard, all census test forms will be destroyed after analysis.

Inquiry line for test householders - only!

A Census Test Inquiry Service is available only to those householders participating in the test.

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