Seniors worried about Census fines

Seniors worried about Census fines

WA Census director David Waymouth urged young people to get involved in the 2016 census. Photograph — Hamish Hastie.

Seniors have been so concerned about fines for not completing compulsory Census online they have been contacting Member for Gosnells Chris Tallentire to complain.

Mr Tallentire said many had called the 1300 number, which was not a free call line, to request paper copies but the line had been busy and they were now worried they would receive a $180 a day fine.

“Honestly, what a shemozzle,” he said.

“I’ve been advised by Census staff that everybody who doesn’t lodge the return online will get a paper form as a matter of course.

“They don’t need to ring.”

WA Census director David Waymouth said people aged 18 to 25 generally had the lowest participation rates in the Census but it was important they filled their forms out.

“What’s in it for a younger person is for the next five years if they’re not counted no one knows that they exist and if everyone decides to do that then they think hey where are all the young people,” he said.

“When you’re 18 and don’t fill it out and in five years’ time you’re going to be 23 and you miss it again and five years after that you’re 28 and you’re settling down to have kids and there’s no facilities.”

Mr Waymouth said all levels of government and all sectors used Census data.

It will also provide insights into major and emerging industries that employ people across the state, the type of work, hours and their occupations.

This year the Australian Bureau of Statistics was hoping to have two thirds of the population fill in their forms online.

This week will see the delivery of eight million Census instruction letters from the ABS to households around the country with how to complete the census next Tuesday.

For those unsure about the online Census paper forms are still available.