LEADERS SLAM NEW REPORT CLAIMING WE’RE DISADVANTAGED
POOR REFLECTION ON PARADISE CITY
CITY leaders have slammed a new report which places Townsville among the most disadvantaged communities in the country.
The Dropping Off the Edge report – which looks at social indicators including long- term unemployment, housing stress, education standards and crime – showed just six of the city’s suburban areas were considered “advantaged” while the remaining 23 fell short.
Residents in Vincent, Garbutt, Heatley and Wulguru were ranked the “most disadvantaged”, where people were more likely to end up convicted criminals, unemployed and on low incomes.
The data, published by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia, also revealed that despite recording high NAPLAN results, Townsville’s overall education standards were not translating into high rates of skilled workers and employment.
However, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said despite stating obvious social challenges, the report did not accurately reflect the state of the city’s economy.
“All this report is saying is that despite the work that was being done in the past in some areas, there has been no change for the severely disadvantaged,” Cr Hill said.
“There are worse areas … that I know of in Sydney and Melbourne compared to Townsville so I don’t believe it’s a good snapshot.”
Cr Hill said it was clear from the report that more state and federal government intervention was needed to deliver better social outcomes for people living the North.
“I will continue to advocate for our community … and the report may provide information where the governments can go back and look to ensure any programs being run are achieving sults,” Cr Hill said.
“Ultimately if you want to change people’s lives; one is through education and one is through jobs in regional areas.”
Regional economist Colin Dwyer said while the report
There are worse areas … that
I know of in Sydney and Melbourne compared to Townsville so don’t believe it’s a good snapshot
TOWNSVILLE MAYOR JENNY HILL
did recognise key challenges, it ignored the hard work local organisations had put in to try and change the social outcomes of people in the “disadvantaged” suburbs.
“I’m cranky at the report being shallow but on the other side we do need to raise the standards of our fellow Townsvillians,” he said.
“It would be nice to have this homogenous society, but it’s not like that, and by pointing the disadvantages out it does potentially more harm than good.
“There are challenges in the economy we know of that we are working on and so long as people have positive attitude to getting better skills we will be in a much better position to create jobs.”
Catholic Social Services Australia CEO Marcelle Mogg said the most dominant factors in disadvantaged Queensland communities included youth disengagement, long- term unemployment, prison admissions, low income and no internet access.
“These communities are not failing – Australia is failing these communities,” Ms Mogg said.
“To provide better opportunities to these communities will take sustained effort and commitment on behalf of government, business, the community sector and the communities themselves.”
Federal Herbert MP Ewen Jones said as Chair of the House Standing Committee for Education and Employment inquiry, he was pushing new policies to help turn social outcomes around.’’
How Townsville suburbs rated in the Dropping Off The Edge report: MOST DISADVANTAGED Garbutt, Heatley, Vincent, Wulguru. DISADVANTAGED Townsville City, Railway Estate, Rowes Bay- Belgian Gardens, South Townsville, West End, WoodstockCleveland- Ross, Kelso, Rosslea, Currajong, Gulliver, Hermit Park, Hyde Park- Mysterton, Mundingburra, Pimlico, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Condon- Rasmussen- Bohle, Northern Beaches- Pinnacles, Magnetic Island. ADVANTAGED North Ward- Castle Hill, Murray, Oonoonba- Idalia- Cluden, StuartRoseneath, Douglas, Kirwan, Mt Louisa- Mt St John- Bohle. MOST ADVANTAGED None