Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

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


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

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