For the first time, the National 2021 Census will refer to ‘Auslan’ as a language option and follows efforts by Deaf Australia who has been working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics since 2007 to address the issue.
Deaf Australia said previous data collection was not reflecting the actual number of Auslan users in Australia because many were unaware to write it as an ‘other’ language in the Census.
In the 2021 Census the prompt question in ‘the other language’ will state: “If other, for example, Auslan, please write here’.
Deaf Australia chair, Todd Wright, described the inclusion as a: “significant win for the deaf community”. He said it will make it easier to determine more accurately the number of Auslan users in Australia. “And, enable us to work more effectively towards greater participation, awareness and addressing community needs.”
According to the National Accreditation for Translators and Interpreting, Auslan interpreting is the third highest language provision behind Arabic and Mandarin in Australia. The most recent statistics show there has been a significant increase of Auslan users from 5,306 in 2001 to 11,682 in 2016.