The conference was a great success that saw many great stories presented on how the Census has been used to provide and improve services to communities all over Australia. It also brought together people from all areas of policy and service providers including local, state and federal governments, businesses and academics and provided many networking opportunities for the 300+ attendees.
Bernard Salt gave the keynote presentation on Day One. During his presentation, Bernard discussed the changes in life cycles and retirement ages with the more recent inclusion of the 'lifestyle' and 'grey nomad' periods before settling into 'old age'; the skills shortages Australia is anticipated to encounter over the next decade; and his popular research into 'the man drought'. On Day Two, Dr Cassandra Goldie discussed closing the gender pay gap and issues faced by those of a diverse sexual orientation, and described how Census data can be used to provide evidence in determining policies created to address these issues.
Two panel discussions - on Homeless and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples - were held on Day One and addressed the different issues faced in regards to enumerating both these population counts and what can be done to improve the undercount as well as gaining the trust from both these groups. These panels generated much interest and discussion amongst delegates and were certainly a valuable component of the conference program.
During the Day Two plenary, Ivan Motley told us why he thinks 'Census is sexy', Catherine from IBM discussed how they are providing smart technology to run the eCensus, and Lara Wilde showed us how she uses the Census with local intelligence to match people to compatible rural towns.
The Connect with Census area was very popular as were the workshops, where delegates were able to learn more about the 2011 Census products as well as ask Census experts any questions that they had. Interest in the new statistical geography standard was particularly high, as was interest in the TableBuilder demonstration and discussion on what to expect for 2011.
The gala dinner held on Thursday night was a big hit. In keeping with the theme of 'a night in the lucky country', each table centrepiece represented an Australian location and was decorated with items provided by tourist centres from around the country - thank you to all the participating areas. These included Kentia Palms from Lord Howe Island; rough pearl shells, Zebra rock and sandalwood products from Broome; and Blue Lake lemonade from Mount Gambier. Dinner guests were joined on the night by some iconic Australian personalities - the Awful Umpires made sure that everyone was playing by the rules, while Dame Edna and Kath and Kim tribute artists provided entertainment. Everyone had a laugh and a good night, letting down their hair to dance to some great Aussie music.
The conference was rounded out by 'pecha kucha' session. The fast-paced pecha kucha format put some of our ABS staff to the test as they powered through 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each to tell their Census story.
Overall, Census | beyond the count provided a well-rounded balance of stories and information on many different topics, plus a bit of fun! Thank you to everyone who came along and made this conference a fantastic success.
Selected presentations from this event will be available shortly, as will some of the photos taken across the days. Check back here soon for more info.