Census chaos feeds pensioner anxiety

“Despite the ABS putting on 300 concurrent phone lines, many of those applying for paper census forms cannot get through”, said CPSA Policy Coordinator Paul Versteege.

“The Census Inquiry phone line is overwhelmed and people are being told to call back later. Many  people are not online and are concerned they won’t receive their paper forms in time and will be fined $180 a day for every day they are late.

“The ABS tells us that people should ring before 8.30am or after 9.30pm, when calls drop off. However, this is an entirely predictable mess, resulting from a savings-driven rush into making online completion of the census form the default method of completion.

“We need as much information about older Australians as we can get if we want to make good policy choices in support of our rapidly ageing population. Ignoring the fact, as the ABS has done, that particularly the very elderly are not online, does not show a lot of respect for this section of the Australian community.”

Paul Versteege 0409 81 41 81