This is why the census matters

TONIGHT, more than nine million households across Australia will complete the 2016 Census, but the data is used for more than just counting population.

The data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics will be used by all levels of government to plan and coordinate future spending, from building new roads to planning healthcare spending.

Chair of the Grafton Base Hospital Medical Staff Council Dr Allan Tyson said information about the Clarence Valley's demographics, and how they are changing, are vital for the forward planning of the Northern NSW Local Health District.

"The information is put to use to point to areas of increased need," Dr Tyson said.

"In this district we have more older people over 65, a great Aboriginal population and our income statistics are at a relative disadvantage for our area, which often points to increased need.

"The Census data gives us the information to make the case for further government funding in the areas we need rather than just being pidgeon-holed as being the same as other districts.

"The differences in our district help point out if we need to be assisted in a different way."

Dr Tyson said at the Local Health District level, the more that is known about the population, the more effective their strategic plans for the future are.

An ABS spokesman said the Census will provide a vital snapshot in time that will guide the next half decade of planning in the Clarence Valley.

"By participating, you are being included in some of the biggest decisions in the Clarence Valley and right across the country over the next five years," he said.

"The Census also allows you so see how much the Clarence Valley has changed every five years in regards to population, the local workforce, how people get to work, average mortgages and rental prices."

A Department of Education spokesman said population and development trends are monitored so they can plan to meet the enrolment needs in schools across NSW.

"Some census information may be used by the Department of Planning and Environment to produce its detailed demographic data, which the Department of Education in turn uses in its enrolment projections," he said.

"The Department will continue to monitor demographic and development trends in the Clarence Valley to ensure that the educational requirements of the area continue to be met."

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