Mount Isa MP Robbie Katter has called on the Australian Bureau of Statistics to perform a census recount of the Mount Isa District after questions were raised with him by local Catholic parish priest Father Mick Lowcock.
“Father Mick has serious concerns about the accuracy of the census particularly Indigenous numbers in some of suburbs,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter said he obtained a breakdown of numbers in Mount Isa suburbs which he compared to the 2011 census.
“They just simply don’t look right, particularly in Pioneer, Sunset and Townview,” he said.
“Father Mick works extensively delivering social programs in the Indigenous community and he swears numbers have increased and not decreased during the period between census counts.
Father Mick said he had been working with the Indigenous community for a long time in Mount Isa and the demand for services has increased over the years.
“I can’t understand or believe that Indigenous numbers in Mount Isa have decreased since 2011,” he said.
“Robbie’s office have been great in getting me the statistical data including the Suburb boundary demarcations and I will be performing my own count in one of the suburbs to prove it as I believe the numbers are wrong.”
Mr Katter said this was a concern as the census was used in determining government level of service delivery funding and delivery of infrastructure funding and expenditure to Mount Isa.
“If our numbers are understated and incorrect then we will suffer because of it,” he said.
Mr Katter said there were a number of issues related to the August 2016 census including the wesbite crashing for two weeks and concerns about privacy in name and address data.
“Out here where every number counts and may affect whether our region can secure funding and business investment and development, its crucial,” he said.
“I have written to the ABS, outlining our concerns and requesting a full census recount in Mount Isa.”
I am working on evidence to prove the figures are incorrect. We need to get this right and forward the correct information to the ABS to ensure we have reliable data when determining funding and services delivery.”
Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch has also cast doubt on census reliability after it showed the city’s population wend down from 21,000 in 2011 to 18,000 in 2016.