Save your Census data for future generations

Media release: Tuesday, 2 August 2016

On Census night Australians have the opportunity to ensure their story is preserved as part of our national history.

When respondents tick 'Yes' to question 60, they allow the National Archives to preserve their information in a Census 'time capsule' for 99 years. The information will be made available to family historians and researchers in the 22nd century.

The Australian public is also being urged to complete the Census online – providing for a faster, easier and cheaper Census for the Australian public.

David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives, said it is the responsibility of the National Archives to preserve the Census data as a national asset.

'For us perhaps the most important question is number 60, which seeks the consent of respondents for the National Archives to keep their information. I encourage everyone to tick 'yes' to question 60.

'This is our gift to the future – to provide an invaluable information resource for our descendants.'

Since 2001, Australians have been given the option to have their information saved for future generations in the Census time capsule. In 2011, 60.6 per cent of respondents elected to have Census information archived for the future. This was up from 56.1 per cent in 2006 and 52.7 per cent in 2001.

Australians can rest assured their information will be kept safe, with Census responses held in high-security locations. The information will not be accessed by any other government agency until the 99-year closed period expires and the data becomes public.

This will be the first time the National Archives receives a fully digital transfer of Census information, part of the transition to managing Australian Government information digitally, an approach guided by the National Archives' Digital Continuity 2020 policy.

Census night is Tuesday 9 August 2016.

More information is available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' website:

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: naagovau

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019