GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Social Statistics on your life in Wangaratta

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The Australian Local Government Association has recently updated its social statistics and gives us the opportunity to compare our local experience with other areas in the country. The starting point, of course, is to compare the Rural City of Wangaratta with the Australian average.

The first statistic shows that the RCoW has very few indigenous residents (0.6% v 2.2% Australia wide). That would support the premise that the North East aboriginees were rounded up and eliminated back in the time of Wangaratta’s founding father, George Faithful.

The age profile is pretty average with a variance of only 3% for the >65 group from the national average. That makes you wonder about the dire predictions of an excessive aged population in the municipality.

Our marital status is comparable with 4% fewer people never married and 4% more who are married.

We have a much higher proportion of Australian born residents at 90.9% compared to the national average of 76.9%. Our top 5 migration sources are 661 residents from the United Kingdon, 555 from Italy, 157 Germans, 137 New Zealanders and 136 Dutch people.

Migration is not one of our strengths with only 63 people arriving in the last 18 months. This represents 0.2% of our population compared to 1.3% nationally. With these figures, the current campaign by the RCoW to attract migrant workers may well be doomed. The Regional Migration Incentive Fund (RMIF) has provided funding and assistance for the Rural City of Wangaratta to develop and implement a three year Regional Migration Strategy. The strategy will be the basis for attracting skilled and business migrants and their families to settle and work in north east Victoria. Let’s hope it is effective.

With 94.6% of our residents speaking only English at home, it would be no surprise that most of the others speak Italian.

A higher proportion of Wangaratta residents completed year 10 or less (51% v 47%) which has resulted in a loss of $37 per week in disposable income. In the group of men aged 35 to 44 years, this differential blows out to $122 per week ($710 v $588).

These lower incomes might explain why only 32% of us access the Internet whilst the national average is 39%. Then again, it could be due to the degraded phonelines and shortage of broadband throughout the municipality.

The Moyhu sub-set of statistics shows some disturbing variations from the Wangaratta statistics. With 42% of the Moyhu people working as labourors/tradesmen compared to 25% for Wangaratta, it would appear that there is a large socio/economic variation at play. The incomes are also down by at least $30 a week in all categories. A higher proportion of the Moyhu sub-set completed year 10 or less, and fewer of them access the Internet.

If lower education and lower wages makes Wangaratta residents second class citizens, does that make rural residents third class citizens?

Now, while these may not be the statistics drawn upon by the RCoW and other government departments to sell their ideas to the community, they can all be verified by accessing the VLGA website by clicking the VLGA logo above.

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Written by Greg Naylor

27 January 2006 at 1:17 pm

Posted in social comment

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