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13. Confidentiality of Census data

In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, all the data in TableBuilder are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. This confidentiality process is done to avoid releasing information that may allow for identification of particular individuals, families, households, or dwellings, without impairing the usefulness of the tables.

All data that is returned by TableBuilder will have undergone a confidentialisation process. You will never have access to un-confidentialised data. However, this process is applied dynamically after your table has been constructed and the data has been aggregated. Therefore, the impact of the confidentiality process is not compounded if you create custom groups or geographic areas. It is important to remember that the confidentiality process has the greatest relative impact on small cells. In some instances, tables with sparse data true zero cells can be changed due to the confidentiality. No reliance should be placed on any small cell data.

The guarantee of the Act
The Census collects information relating to each person and household in Australia. It is taken to provide a snapshot of information about the community as a whole and about groups within the community. However, it is not concerned with information about individuals as such. The public expects that the information they provide will be kept confidential, and this is ensured by provisions in the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under this Act, all ABS officers are legally bound never to release identifiable personal information to any person or organisation outside the ABS.

Section 19 of the Act makes it an offence for any past or present ABS officer to divulge, either directly or indirectly, any confidential information collected under this Act. The penalty for this offence is a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or both.

In accordance with the Act, no results will be released in a way which would enable particular individuals or households to be identified. In addition, the ABS is obligated to comply with the principles set out under the Privacy Act 1988.

For more information see the 2006 Confidentiality of Census Data Fact Sheet on the ABS website.



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