CANBERRA: It’s a bit over 14 months away, but the Australian Bureau of Statistics is spreading the word ahead of Australia’s next census.

The census, which will be held on August 10, 2021 – a Tuesday, incidentally – will be the first since August 2016. It will measure the number of people in Australia and what Stats says are their key characteristics.

The 2016 census was something of a disaster for the Government, with the event overwhelmed by denial-of-service attacks and software failures. 

That saw the census-day service shut down and brought back a day later. Presumably the attackers may try again this year, but should face a better-prepared operation.

There will be a number of other changes from the 2016 shemozzle. For instance, there will be new questions on health conditions, and the Australian Defence Force will attend. 

Unlike 2016, questions on Internet access in households will not be asked, given the increased mobile Internet usage on personal devices outside the home, Stats adds.

Other changes will allow the census to collect data on long-term health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes. 

And information about Australian Defence Service veterans will hopefully provide a better understanding of the circumstances of Australia’s veteran community.