Name-dropping Census caller leaves resident fuming

A LAKE Macdonald resident is worried that her name and personal details may have been passed on by an Australian Census worker to a "problem neighbour".

The woman contacted the Noosa News last Friday after she was informed that a man claiming to be from the Census had called while she was out. She was dumbfounded when told the caller had given out her full name and said that, according to his list, she had completed a paper form.

"He had no right to give out any of my details and he certainly should not be sharing that with anyone," the woman said.

She said the neighbour had created a range of problems including crank calls to various people who live in her street.

"She only knew me by my first name, but now she has my last name ... it's a bit of a worry," she said.

A Census spokeswoman at the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that workers were going around various locations checking to see if people had completed their Census forms online. She said they are clearly identified by the card around their necks.

"The ABS has 38,000 Census Field Officers now working across Australia to visit households," Census head Duncan Young said in a previous media release.

"They will remind people to complete their Census, and make sure they have the Census materials they need."

The Census website said: "The personal information you provide in your Census form is protected by the secrecy provisions of the Census and Statistics Act.

"These provisions legally bind all ABS staff (including temporary employees working during the Census) to protect your information.

"Under the Census and Statistics Act, the ABS must not disclose your personal information in a way that will enable you, or any other person, to be identified. It is an offence for any past or present ABS officer to divulge, either directly or indirectly, any information collected under the Census and Statistics Act.

Fines of up to $21,600 or imprisonment for up to two years apply.