The website hosting the first online version of the Australian census has gone down as thousands of people around the country attempted to complete the survey.
The Federal Government says work is underway to fix a major outage affecting the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website this evening.
The ABC was inundated with reports of the census website crashing or failing to load.
“The site just cannot be reached. The phones do not answer and neither does the online messaging,” one complainant wrote, while Twitter lit up with #CensusFail.
Attempts to access the ABS website by the ABC also failed and calls to the helpline were met with a recorded message stating that phone lines would not be answered until August 10.
A spokesman for Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said the Minister had been briefed on the issue by chief statistician David Kalisch.
The dedicated census Twitter account confirmed the outage and an error message appeared
A message posted to the Census Australia Twitter account confirmed the outage, and a message was posted to the website later advising visitors the system was very busy.
The ABS spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on load testing and said its servers could handle 1 million forms per hour.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted this morning that he had completed the census and that is was “easy to do”, but others were not so lucky.
Australian Bureau of Statistics boss Chris Libreri earlier said he was confident that the system could handle the increased traffic load expected on census night.
“We have load tested it at 150 per cent of the number of people we think are going to be on it on Tuesday for eight hours straight and it didn’t look like flinching,” Mr Libreri told News.com.
“We wouldn’t do it unless we were able to safely do it, we have evolved it and we are confident.”
The ABS said people would have until late September to complete the census and would not be fined if they did not do it tonight.