Editorial August 6th 2021

Welcome to this week’s editorial, In a normal year there might be discussion around the Australian Census. But 2021 is a long way from normal. Census 2021 night is August 10th. Every five years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics counts every person and household in Australia. They call this the Census of Population and Housing. Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us that:

“The Census is the most comprehensive snapshot of the country and tells the story of how we are changing.” They tell us that Governments and businesses use the information to make important decisions about transport, schools, health care, roads and buildings and to help plan local services for individuals, families and communities.

They say knowing the number of people living in regional and remote areas shows where doctors are needed and understanding how many babies are born in a local community links Australians to the community services they need. The Census is designed to compare apples with apples. But 2020/2021 is more of a lemon and the comparisons will mean little as we look at capturing the data of one of the biggest upsets the Australian Bureau of Statistics could imagine. As it is a Census of Population and Housing the numbers will hopefully measure the mass exodus from Metropolitan to Regional. It will provide evidence that the Eurobodalla has swollen over the last year. It will provide the figures to support the outcry that we have a population that is not being met by affordable housing, is not being met by health services, schools, transport and all the other measures that a census takes. The census might also document how many of our population are on fixed incomes, how many are living hand to mouth, how many are struggling with rent and utilities. It might also measure how many have left the area because of the financial struggles of bushfires, floods and Covid. Maybe the Census might provide evidence of how many babies are born in the area so that those who have decided to reduce maternity beds in the as yet to be built new hospital might reconsider. Maybe they might also reconsider the glaring need mental services. The figures might also allow us to lobby once again for the promised radiology service promised to the South East that has since been withdrawn because “we don’t have the population” and we can all drive to Canberra, Nowra or Goulburn. Be sure to do your Census. Tell THEM who you are. Tell THEM what you need and BE COUNTED. Remember that consultants told Council we don’t need a 50m pool because there aren’t enough of us and we are the wrong demographic and our Health providers have responded saying that we don’t yet meet their population matrix for local provision of care, suggesting we go elsewhere. Both use Census data. To them we are numbers. On August 10th make your voice count and remind them that YOU are not a NUMBER. Until next—lei

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