With almost one in five Australians speaking a language other than English at home, there was a need to provide assistance to households that have difficulties in speaking or reading English. A strategy was developed by the ABS to ensure that the best possible enumeration of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups was achieved. The communications elements of this strategy included paid media advertising in 68 languages, translation of information and support products into over 30 languages, provision of information to community leaders and to relevant journalists and commentators, outreach and engagement activities including event participation and sponsorship, proactive in-language media relations, and provision of information to migrant education units and community groups.

Australia’s CALD population has altered significantly since the 2006 Census. The overall aims of the 2011 Census CALD strategy were to:
  • improve the coverage of the CALD population in the 2011 Census enumeration
  • identify and support CALD groups that were likely to be missed or undercounted
  • raise awareness by explaining the purpose of the Census and encouraging cooperation
  • provide appropriate assistance to those people who may need it, particularly those who have been undercounted in previous Censuses and those who are likely to need assistance in completing a Census form.

The Census also employed Collectors with skills in languages other than English and operated a Language Helpline through the Census Inquiry Service. The Language Helpline catered for 10 of the most commonly used languages in Australia. If the caller was not conversant in any of the 10 languages offered by the Census Inquiry Service, they were transferred to an external interpreting service to set up a 3-way conference between the Census Inquiry Service, the caller, and the interpreter service.

For more detailed information, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: 2011 Census Special Enumeration Strategies (cat. no. 2911.0.55.004) which is expected to be released in August 2012.