As ministries and agencies await new Australian census data in mid-2022, junior staff are learning from data experts on how it will lead to better policy outcomes.
The experts guided APS staff who recently participated in a Graduate Data Network on how census data informs policy formulation in different agencies.
Tracey Chester, Australian Bureau of Statistics, said a census globally helps government innovate in response to future planning challenges.
“[Census data is] informing many important decisions about transport, school, health infrastructure and business at the community and national levels, ”said Chester.
The bureau believes the new online census format has resulted in better data, with fewer errors and a few questions focused on specific demographics.
The government has used a multi-agency data integration project since 2015 to bring together data from ABS, ATO and the ministries of Education and Training, Health, Social Services and Social Services.
Joshua Ross of the Department of Health said the census offered a snapshot of the health workforce, showing where doctors provide services and their demographics.
The ministry also combines health and census data into a dashboard to guide policy development as well as government responses.
Scott Clouder from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, explained that the census has helped design policies based on community needs.
“Census data is so helpful in really coloring these images when we’re trying to understand the demographic impacts on politics,” Clouder said.
People can access a recording or presentation of the event by contacting the Data network for graduates.
Promoting the Australian census