The Australian Bureau of Statistics is gearing up for the 2021 census on August 10 and census staff have started working in remote Indigenous communities to get the job done.
Recruiting from within communities or nearby regions, census staff have been conducting face-to-face interviews and helping people complete the survey to send to the ABS.
The census happens every five years across Australia and aims to collect information about every household in the country, including health, education, work, cultural origins and language.
It gives people in Australia the opportunity to be counted and heard as the government collects information to better inform policy and services.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up just 3 per cent of the population, the ABS says it is important that First Nations people participate in the census.
The ABS has been working to create radio advertising in 19 Indigenous languages about the census, how to participate on August 10, and how the information can be used.
Vera Havilli, a Meriam woman from Mer/Murray Island in the Torres Strait, works as a census engagement manager on Waiben/Thursday Island — ensuring communities across the Torres Strait are well-informed and ready to complete the census.
“Being counted in the census benefits your community — so it’s important to complete this year,” she said.
Ms Havilli understands how the census helps provide for services and plan for community needs. She is also the co-ordinator of cultural group Eip Karem Beizam which has used census data in grant applications to secure funding for activities that help Meriam people stay connected to culture.
Households will be sent information on how to participate in early August.
By Aaron Bloch