Census 2016: Maida Vale’s Colin covering big chunk of country


Colin Clarke manages the Census for the largest part of Australia by area, comprising about 3000 people.
Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d457544
Colin Clarke manages the Census for the largest part of Australia by area, comprising about 3000 people. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d457544

REMOTE Census district manager Colin Clarke is on the road again, this time responsible for the largest area workload in Australia.

The 56-year-old, of Maida Vale, is undertaking his fourth Census of Population and Housing and having what he describes as another enriching experience.

“For me personally, I feel it’s a privilege being part of something that can have such a positive impact on the future of Australia and its people, particularly Aboriginal communities, because it’s important to have accurate information to make sure people have adequate access to services such as health, education, water and power,” he said.

As a remote district manager, he is accountable for data collected from about 3000 people across a quarter of the world’s sixth largest country.

That is an area equivalent to about 29 Tasmanias or 140 times his native Northern Ireland, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Mr Clarke is undaunted by the scale of the task, for he was responsible for data collection from the same area in 2011.

“I’m looking after six remote area mobile teams of four people, covering an area that takes in many Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara, Mid-West and Goldfields regions.

“I would say we’re supporting Aboriginal communities more than ever, with considerable field work carried out early on.”

Advance preparations have involved creating a greater awareness of the Census and visiting Aboriginal schools in the communities to encourage ‘census advocates of the future’.

Indigenous people recruited for the teams include those living in the communities trained as facilitators and interviewers to assist with language, literacy and trust barriers.

“In my experience, people are willing to become part of the Census and we are made welcome by the communities,” Mr Clarke said.

“The last few years have really showed the importance of not just making sure these remote communities are counted, but also

The Census has been conducted in remote communities across the country during July and August.