In Australia, there is rapid progress of the procedures for the launch of the Population-Housing Census in August 2021. The goal is to inform and educate all social groups about the importance of their participation in this huge census project that takes place every five years at the national level.
Dozens of Australians belonging to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations (CALD) have been recruited as program executives across Australia to encourage participation and emphasize the importance of the Census for the benefit of residents.
After all, the Census of 2016 showed us that the face of Australia is changing dramatically and every year it becomes more and more multicultural. According to 2016 data, almost half of Australians are either born abroad or one or both parents were born outside Australia. Greeks are in 9th place among the inhabitants that make up the population of the country.
“Every statistic tells a story, and to ask the government to meet our needs, they need to know that the social groups we belong to exist,” Saga Selsby, one of the CALD group leaders, told SBS. Saga Selsby, originally from Samoa, knows first hand the difficulties of trusting residents to collect their personal information.
“I see multicultural groups that do not have the ability to claim funding, for this reason,” she added, explaining that this was the reason she decided to claim the role of director in the Census program.
The Census is the largest survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and involves the mandatory participation of 10 million households and 25 million people. Participation in the survey is mandatory not only for Australian citizens but also for tourists, students from abroad, and those in the country with a temporary residence permit, something that many residents do not know.
“The census form records information such as age, country of birth, religion, origin, language, work, and education,” ABS said on its website.
The data collected is then used to make important decisions about public transport, schools, primary health care services, infrastructure, and businesses, and helps design services for individuals, families, and communities.
The data is also taken into account by local libraries to understand which languages are spoken in the area, while supermarkets use the data to select products that they think will find a response in the area.
Unfortunately, the data show that Australians from different Cultural and Linguistic communities avoid filling out the census form.
The main obstacles to their participation are the language, but also the lack of trust in the provision of their personal data to the government, especially if they are people who have immigrated from countries where their personal data can be used against them.
That’s why this year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has given priority to recruiting representatives from these CALD communities, who know the language, and the cultural sensitivities of the population.
In this effort, the government’s Translation and Interpreting Service will be available to provide support to those in need, and seminars will be held on how to complete the form at community and immigration centers with the possibility of completing the form in languages other than English.