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Congrats to Oberon for doing the right thing
I've just finished the final drop off of reminders to places that haven't submitted a census form, either by post or online. Over 90% of my area in the town had either submitted a form, had notified me or someone else that nobody was there on census night, or were so obviously unoccupied that they could be crossed off.
Of the remainder some are probably people who refuse to do the census for some reason. Like people who choose not to vote and therefore have no say in what the government does, census refusers can never complain about the sort of things influenced by population numbers (school places, pre- and after- school care, public transport, health services, road conditions, …). There were houses where I saw residents coming and going as I've been going about town. They have all received an "obligation statement" which sets out the fines and it's up to the ABS to take any further action.
Of the remainder, some will have submitted their forms but a backlog at the ABS means that the fact hasn't filtered through. I met one resident in this situation today and was happy to cross them off my list.
The leftovers are probably weekenders or holiday homes where the owners are stuck elsewhere by COVID travel restrictions, and I'm sure the ABS will treat these cases leniently.
So, once again, congratulations to Oberon's citizens for doing the right thing. That's what being a citizen means.
This letter was published in the Oberon Review on September 23, 2021
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