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RCoW – still the centre of the Universe

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The following is taken from the Rural City of Wangaratta’s Business Papers for the May Council meeting and shows up the municipality as one of the more livable ruralcities in Victoria LOCAL GOVERNMENT TRENDS
Municipal Statistics 020.070.001

Figures recently released indicate that the Rural City of Wangaratta’s population growth is 1.6% per annum, the second highest of the twelve Councils that make up the Hume Region. Together with other recent reports, it paints a very positive picture of the Rural City.

Latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the Rural City of Wangaratta’s population increased from 27,679 to 28,117, a rise of 1.6% over the past twelve months. This continues an increasing trend and verifies Council’s own research based on dwelling approvals. It also supports the growth target underpinning the 2030 Community Vision.

The ABS figures also reveal that the Rural City of Wangaratta’s population growth rate is higher than the average for Regional Cities Victoria (RCV) and higher than all bar one of the twelve Council’s in the Hume Region, the exception being Mansfield. These results are tabulated and graphed in the attachment to this report.Analysis
The release of the latest ABS population figures continues a positive trend for the Rural City of Wangaratta.

A wellbeing index, conducted by Deakin University, identifies the Rural City of Wangaratta as being the most liveable municipality in North East Victoria. It also reveals the Rural City to be among the highest rated municipalities for liveability in the nation.

The wellbeing index rates the Rural City of Wangaratta as follows:

Overall Satisfaction Rating 78.57%

  • Health – 75%
  • Connectedness – 79.36%
  • Future Security – 75.11%
  • Living Standards – 79%
  • Safety – 85.96%
  • Relationships – 84.68%

The 2008 Community Satisfaction Survey for Local Government conducted
independently for Local Government Victoria again revealed a very satisfactory trend for the Rural City of Wangaratta.

These show the Rural City to be above the average for the Hume Region of Councils and Regional Cities Victoria in key categories as summarised below:

Overall Performance 67 64 64
Engagement in Decision Making 61 60 60
Advocacy 66 65 62

Finally, the Victorian Auditor-General’s most recent report on Local Government Finances (2008) gives Wangaratta a “green light” for its financial position. The report examines liquidity, indebtedness, self-financing and investment gap and ranks councils against traffic lights of green (low risk), amber (medium risk) and red (high risk).

The Rural City of Wangaratta scores a green light overall with no high risk factors.

The Rural City of Wangaratta’s claim of providing the ultimate in liveability is well placed. Independent reports indicate it is moving in the right direction with community endorsement and is being supported by strong population growth.

Moreover, it has the financial capacity to continue to invest in improving its liveability thus reinforcing this direction and drive.

I have lived in the municipality for ten years and whilst the council is deservedly proud of its achievements, those of us in the rural areas of the municipality continue to feel abandoned with the council’s city-centric approach to local government.

In that ten years, we have seen the loss of our mobile library service and a continuing neglect of our unmade roads.  Whilst they tell us that one third of rate income is from the rural areas, we see little of that money being spent where it was generated.

The planning policy of the RCoW is such a disincentive to the development of rural communities that it would appear that we are a burdon on our urbal colleagues.


Written by Greg Naylor

11 June 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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