The relationship between the ABS and the Australian public
|This Charter sets out the relationship between the ABS and members of the Australian public who provide us with information about themselves and their household for the purposes of the Census of Population and Housing (‘the Census’).|
Our missionWe assist and encourage informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by leading a high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service.
What we doWe collect, compile, analyse and disseminate information on a wide range of social and economic matters. Our statistics are used by governments, business, industry organisations, academics and others seeking to understand Australian society and the economy.
We also have an important leadership and coordination function with respect to the statistical activities of other official bodies, both in Australia and overseas.
The Census of Population and Housing is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the ABS and one of the most important. The aims of the Census are to:
The Census is held every five years, and counts all people in Australia, excluding foreign diplomats and their families. Everyone needs to complete, or be included on, a Census form.
All information provided to us is protected by strict legal confidentiality provisions. When we release statistics the law requires us to do so in a manner that protects the identification of any particular person or organisation. Our long-standing record for maintaining the privacy of information provided to us is widely acknowledged and respected.
What you can expect from usIn our dealings with you we will:
ABS Census field staffThe ABS conducts the Census using a team of approximately 40,000 trained field staff in order to deliver Census forms to every person in Australia.
ABS Census Field Staff are authorised under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to call at dwellings and speak with the occupants for the purpose of collecting the Census information.
As with all ABS employees, Census Field Staff have a legal obligation to keep the information they collect confidential and are bound by the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which provides for penalties of up to $21,600 or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both, if confidentiality is broken. The ABS also uses a set of standard procedures designed to ensure delivery and collection are conducted in a professional manner.
What you can expect from ABS Census field staffCensus Field Staff will:
Census Field Staff will not:
How can you help usWe ask the general public for their cooperation, and most people provide information willingly. If you do not complete the Census form, the Australian Statistician has the power to direct you in writing to provide the information. The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides for penalties of up to $180 a day for failure to complete and return a form.
To help us produce high quality statistics, we ask that you:
Minimising cost to the communityWe work to minimise costs to the community by:
Questions about the CensusIf you have any questions about the Census, please ring the contact number on the form you received or the brochure enclosed with that form.
The ABS website also provides answers to frequently asked questions about the Census.
For general inquiries about statistics, you can contact us by letter, email or by telephone. Contact details for the ABS can be found on the Contact Us page. ABS offices are located in all states and territories.
Resolving complaintsWe acknowledge that from time to time we may not meet your expectations. Your complaints, compliments and comments can help us to improve our service.
If you experience any problems with the Census, please contact the National Information and Referral Service.
National Information and Referral Service
Ph: 1300 135 070
Email: Contact form
Hours: 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can request a review of the decision by writing to:
Complaints Review Officer
Audit, Policy and Parliamentary Liaison Section
Office of Statistician and External Engagement
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
If the review outcome is unsatisfactory, you may lodge a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
More about usFor information on all data published by the ABS, please refer to the ABS website.