• Members of the ABS remote Census team with NITV Presenter Natalie Ahmat (centre) at a NAIDOC event in Palmerston in the NT. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
The 2016 Census is nearly on our doorstep - even in the most far flung parts of Australia.
Natalie Ahmat

12 Jul 2016 - 6:34 PM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2016 - 7:40 AM

Millions of Australians will take part in the national survey of population and housing, the 2016 Census, on the evening of Tuesday, August 9. 

But for residents in remote Australia, the data collection will start this month, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) mobile remote teams hitting the road in late July, to ensure Indigenous people are included in the national head count.

The 17th national Census, held every five years, will give an up-to-date snapshot of the nation, with the information recorded helping policy makers plan the country’s health, education, employment, transport and infrastructure needs.

More than 39,000 temporary staff will travel the combined equivalent of 195 trips around the circumference of the world to collect information from more than 10 million households and 24 million people.

"We'll be there as long as it takes to get the job done properly, because, as we know, it's very important."

Tony Grubb, the Census Director for Northern Australia tells NITV News it's a big job – especially in the country’s remote north. 

“Effectively, how we do it, is we go out with remote teams, and we go into community,” he says.  

“When we get there, we’ll recruit some local facilitators and interviewers, and we’ll go through the process of collecting information.”

Mr Grubb says the remote teams will spend anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks in communities, to ensure all residents will be part of the census.

“We’ll be there as long as it takes to get the job done properly, because, as we know, it’s very important,” he says.

“The information is used for a variety of means in terms of funding, which then goes towards community infrastructure, education and health.

Mr Grubb says he wants to reassure community members that personal details collected as part of the Census would remain confidential.

“The information is only used by the ABS in general form, and we don’t share any information with the tax office, Centrelink or housing departments,” he says.

He said the ABS’ remote teams – in their distinctive bright green shirts - will begin visiting communities in late July, and will be in the field for about five weeks. In the Northern Territory, team members will be joined by their mascot, 'Cecil the Census' crocodile.

People in regional and urban centres will have the choice between filling in the Census on a paper form or completing it online. Two out of every three Australians are expected to choose the latter and fill in the survey on their mobiles, tablets, desktops or laptops.

However people choose to complete the Census, Tony Grubb says its vital Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders stand up and be counted. 

“We encourage people that do identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to do so on the form. It’s so important that we get those statistics correct.”

Indigenous population set to increase to over a million by 2031
Within the next 20 years, there will be over one million Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Australia.