Here’s What To Do If You Don’t Have Your Census Code

This year’s Australian Census is being conducted primarily online. Last week you should have received your 12-digit Census Login number which you need to log into the online survey. But what happens if you accidentally misplaced it? Here’s what you need to know.

The 2016 Census is scheduled to take place tonight (Tuesday, August 9.) In order to use the eCensus, you’ll need to enter your 12 digit Census Login which every household received over the past few days. This was included in the Census Instruction Letter which sports green text and a padlock symbol on the envelope.

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If your household is anything like mine, any important document that isn’t nailed down has a strong likelihood of disappearing into the ether. Sometimes the kids turn it into a paper doll chain. Other times it’s been accidentally tossed out with the junk mail. But usually, it’s been put in a “safe” location that nobody can remember. (Don’t be ashamed: it happens to the best of us!)

Unfortunately, losing your eCensus letter isn’t a good enough excuse for not completing the survey. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has the power to fine people who fail to participate in the Census, with potential penalties of $180 per day. In practice, only a very small proportion of the people who have failed to provide the data have ever been charged, but it’s probably not something you want to risk. (For more information on willfully dodging the Census, click here.)

So what should you do if the letter containing your code has gone AWOL? Instead of waiting for the ABS’ Census collectors to start hounding you, contact them immediately and request a new code.

As the ABS explains on its website:

“If you have lost your letter or it doesn’t arrive by Census night on 9 August 2016, contact the Census Inquiry Service.”

On the aforementioned Census Inquiry Service page, click on the “Send an inquiry” form and explain your situation in the text box. A Census representative should get back to your shortly.
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Alternatively, you can call the ABS on 1300 214 531 and follow the prompts. Be prepared for lengthy delays, but once you get through the ABS will send you an SMS with your code. Too easy! (You can also request a paper copy if you prefer.)

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