Got an interesting email today regarding my submission to the ABS for changes to the religion question in Census 2011. This is the full text of the message:
Dear Census Client
Mr Brian Pink, the Australian Statistician, recently highlighted to the government that the ABS budget situation for 2008-09 and beyond involved insufficient funds to sustain continuation of our current work program and provided us with no capacity to take on additional work.
Last week Mr Pink confirmed that we would not be able to obtain relief in the 2008-09 budget, and indicated that the ABS would need to cut work programs as a consequence. We regret to advise one of the work programs affected is the Census Program.
The impact on this program is that the questions for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing will be comparable to those asked in the 2006 Census. This action will not compromise the integrity and quality of ABS Census data.
We are not expecting changes or disruption to the ongoing output schedule of products and services from the 2006 Census.
While the number or frequency of some statistical products may reduce marginally, the ABS will still produce an extensive range of statistical information.
ABS thanks all who have made topic submissions for the 2011 Census. These submissions will be reconsidered as part of the consultation process post 2011.
For further information please telephone 1300 175 070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Population Census Branch
So, it seems it was all a waste of time. Someone, somewhere, has decided to cut funding to the ABS. So the ABS has decided to cut the Census 2011 program, in particular submissions for changes to it.
The ABS web site doesn’t seem to have a report about this, but the Census 2011 links have all disappeared.
I’m at a bit of a loss what to say or do. I may consider writing to the Federal Government expressing my concern that a valuable service such as the ABS has had its funding cut, but I don’t know if it’s worth the effort?