Suspect Census

July 12, 2017

Census figures which show a decline in all basic statistics for the Jerilderie township are probably inaccurate, according to Murrumbidgee Council general manager Craig Moffitt.

Mr Moffitt says there is a belief locally that the statistics for Jerilderie are incomplete.

He said some local households have reported not receiving Census forms to fill in.

Mr Moffitt says it is the only logical explanation for the township reportedly experiencing a reduction in ‘private dwellings’ by 23, despite continual development applications and interest being received by the council.

The statistics released a fortnight ago also indicated a population decline of 41 people since the 2011 Census, to 1,029 people in August 2016 when the Census was held.

The data showed there were nine less families living in Jerilderie from 2011 to 2016, with 260 families at the most recent Census.

‘‘We know that some households did not receive Census documents, particularly in our rural areas,’’ Mr Moffitt said.

‘‘We haven’t come to any final conclusions as to why we would be seeing reductions in our statistics like that, but it just doesn’t add up that we’ve lost that many homes, particularly compared to the development applications and inquiries we’re receiving.

‘‘In Jerilderie we have a subdivision of 33 blocks with a third already sold, which is opposite to what we’re seeing in the statistics.

‘‘The results paint a picture we think is inaccurate, and we’ll be trying to do some of our own analysis to determine whether we can call for a review.’’

Murrumbidgee Council director of environmental services Susan Appleyard says it appears all residents with rural addresses across the entire shire were not counted in the Census.

‘‘Usually prior to the Census we are contacted for a rural addressing list, and we were not contacted last year,’’ she said.

‘‘As a result, we know there are whole sections that did not receive a form, and they are unlikely to have gone online to complete the Census either.

‘‘It seems if you live on a dirt road, you were missed.’’

Ms Appleyard said council’s own records show the former Jerilderie Shire region — before its merger with Murrumbidgee Shire to form the new entity in May last year — averaged five new dwelling development applications each year.

Using those figures as the basis for her estimate, she said she would have expected to see an increase of 23 houses and not a reduction. There were 539 private dwellings listed from last August’s Census.

Mr Moffitt said the seemingly incomplete Census data could be damaging to potential development in Jerilderie and the whole Murrumbidgee Council area.

‘‘It has an effect on people looking at us as a place of development or where they would relocate to,’’ Mr Moffitt said.

‘‘Our drive is to attract more people to Jerilderie and the council area, and these results negatively impact on that.’’

Census responses are used to formulate Australian Bureau of Statistics data, which is used in an official capacity by government in planning matters and decision making.

Census data for the whole Murrumbidgee Council area indicated a combined population of 3,836 people in August 2016.

It includes 952 families, with the median age in the council area being 41. The total number of private dwellings recorded for the council area was 1,888.

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