Dithering over Census axing cost valuable preparation time

Australian Bureau of Statistics staff are “absolutely gutted” over the Census woes, says the Community and Public Sector Union, but it’s not their fault.

In a statement Friday, CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood says the situation is one example of how cuts to the public sector staffing and capacity have gone too far, and mirrors damaging cuts at Medicare and Centrelink.

“Our members working in the ABS have slugged their guts out for months to make this Census work despite multiple Government decisions that have caused major problems. They know how critical the information collected in the Census is to the nation and they’re absolutely gutted at the damage done to the ABS’s reputation and the Census itself.

“Staff saw these problems coming a mile off. There are 700 fewer staff at the ABS now than when the last Census was conducted five years ago and as a result staff are suffering under massive workloads. Critical planning time was lost as the Government foolishly considered axing the Census, chopped and changed ministers three times and dilly-dallied for nearly a year in appointing a new chief statistician.”

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