In an age when information is so valuable why would a government consider cutting off a source of information that is so valuable.
If Australia dumps or even postpones the census it will be a tragic case of being "penny pinching". The short-term benefit is bound to be outweighed by the costs in the long run.
The last census, staged in 2011, cost $440 million or about $19 per person. That's good value when you consider how important reliable information has become in our fast-changing economy.
The census is the only way to get precise information about how many people there are in each part of Australia, what they do, and how they live.
That information is fundamental to our democracy.
The census is used by the Australian Electoral Commission to come up with fair electoral boundaries. Without an accurate picture of the population distribution how could we be sure each citizen's vote was of equal value?
That's not a compromise a wealthy nation like Australia should make.Apparently the Abbott government is considering abandoning the Australian census and replacing it with a smaller sample survey in the upcoming budget.
The most recent census marked 100 years of data collection, providing a century's worth of information about where Australians came from, where they lived, what type of families they had and how they worked.
It is and has been used by business and governments in numerous ways for years and this government is considering dumping it to save money!
The census is crucial for the planning, administration and policy formation of federal, state and local governments. It's especially important for the fair distribution of federal funds across the nation.
Population estimates, based on census data, are used to determine the allocation of around $45 billion worth of GST funding to the states and territories. The census helps governments evaluate the effectiveness of their activities.
Asked directly whether the 2016 census would go ahead as planned on August 9, a spokeswoman for the parliamentary secretary to the treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer read from a prepared statement.
It said: "The government and the Bureau of Statistics are consulting with a wide range of stakeholders about the best methods to deliver high quality, accurate and timely information on the social and economic condition of Australian households."
Asked whether that was an answer to the question: "Will the census go ahead next year?" the spokeswoman replied that it was.
Will the census go ahead? As for the reply, your guess is as good as mine, it seems that every answer given by this government has a double meaning.
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