Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing
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Question Time: 2021 Census (10th August 2021)

Mr CONNELLY (Stirling) (15:52): My question is to the Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing. Will the minister please inform the House about the importance of the 2021 census and how it is fundamental to Australia being able to plan for our nation’s future?

Mr SUKKAR (DeakinAssistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing) (15:52): Can I thank the member for Stirling for his question. It’s a very important question, today being census day. Indeed, for most Australians, they will think of tonight as census night. I firstly want to encourage all Australians who have not yet been able to complete their survey to get on immediately—you can start it now, but certainly over the course of this evening—to complete your census survey.

The advertising by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this year was ‘Every stat tells a story’. And every single statistic that will be provided by Australians tonight will inform future decisions of not just the federal government but state governments; local governments; indeed, community organisations throughout the country; and, of course, business. I want to thank the 3.6 million Australians who have completed a survey that covers nearly 10 million Australians. It means we’re about a third of the way through, with the remaining two-thirds of Australians needing to complete their census tonight.

We have worked very hard to make the process easier and to make it simpler; early feedback seems to support that. We are hoping and working very hard between now and certainly the end of the evening, but for the remainder of this week, to make it as easy as possible for Australians to get online. The feedback is that it takes about 15 or 20 minutes. So, for Australians who are contemplating when they’re going to do it, just get on and do it now. It’s a quick and easy process.

Every stat truly does tell a story, and the information that is going to be provided by Australians tonight will inform decisions around health expenditure, around education expenditure, and certainly around infrastructure decisions. It will be used by organisations throughout the country, whether it’s assisting with mental health or with so many other priorities of the Morrison government. We’ll see statistics out mid next year. Consistent with the government’s purpose and what the government has focused on over a long period of time, we have added two additional questions for this census. The first is a question asking about long-term health conditions, chronic health conditions—extraordinarily important. But one that will be close to many members on this side of the House, indeed in the whole parliament, will be asking about Defence Force service. We have had an emphasis on supporting our veterans. We want to know as much about them as we can—where they are, how we can support them. So the additional question on Defence Force service is going to be a great addition. Get on tonight and complete your census. We’ll make it as easy as possible.

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