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ABS hunts for digital support on 2026 Census

ABS hunts for digital support on 2026 Census

Using parts of the Census Digital Service from 2021.

Credit: Photo 130446018 © Nils Versemann |

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is hunting for a partner to help support the 2026 Census.

In a request for tender (RFT) document, the government agency said it is looking for a collaborative partner to support the Census Digital Service (CDS) in three years’ time.

The CDS was created for the previous 2021 Census by PwC and hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to avoid a repeat of the 2016 Census which experienced several distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. 

The end result for the 2021 Census saw over 78 per cent of households submitted digitally, with over 7.6 million forms submitted over the Census period. As a result, the agency said the next Census in 2026 will use the CDS as the default access point to the form.

To support the CDS, the ABS is looking for software design, development, maintenance and operational management services when the CDS is live.

The selected partner would not be starting from scratch, however, as the agency said it is looking to adapt elements of the CDS that were used in 2021.

“As the CDS worked very well in 2021, ABS intends to reuse substantial portions of that solution, updated for a 2026 context,” the ABS said.

“To help enable this, ABS wants to engage with a supplier who will work collaboratively to take the 2021 Census Digital Service forward for the 2026 Census. A central element of this collaboration will be providing the supplier with time and opportunity to understand the existing system, including working closely with ABS CDS specialist teams.”

The RFT document did not outline a reason why the ABS is not calling on PwC again. However if the federal government took up additional PwC services, it may be viewed negatively in light of the scandal that broke earlier this year surrounding PwC and its internal sharing of confidential government tax policies.

Interested partners have until 7 August to lodge a submission.

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Tags ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics

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