Sus­pect Cen­sus

Coun­cil GM ques­tions Jer­ilderie dwelling data

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

Cen­sus fig­ures which show a de­cline in all ba­sic sta­tis­tics for the Jer­ilderie town­ship are prob­a­bly in­ac­cu­rate, ac­cord­ing to Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager Craig Mof­fitt.

Mr Mof­fitt says there is a be­lief lo­cally that the sta­tis­tics for Jer­ilderie are in­com­plete.

He said some lo­cal house­holds have re­ported not re­ceiv­ing Cen­sus forms to fill in.

Mr Mof­fitt says it is the only log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion for the town­ship re­port­edly ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­duc­tion in ‘pri­vate dwellings’ by 23, de­spite con­tin­ual de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions and in­ter­est be­ing re­ceived by the coun­cil.

The sta­tis­tics re­leased a fort­night ago also in­di­cated a pop­u­la­tion de­cline of 41 peo­ple since the 2011 Cen­sus, to 1,029 peo­ple in Au­gust 2016 when the Cen­sus was held.

The data showed there were nine less fam­i­lies liv­ing in Jer­ilderie from 2011 to 2016, with 260 fam­i­lies at the most re­cent Cen­sus.

‘‘We know that some house­holds did not re­ceive Cen­sus doc­u­ments, par­tic­u­larly in our ru­ral ar­eas,’’ Mr Mof­fitt said.

‘‘We haven’t come to any fi­nal con­clu­sions as to why we would be see­ing re­duc­tions in our sta­tis­tics like that, but it just doesn’t add up that we’ve lost that many homes, par­tic­u­larly com­pared to the de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions and in­quiries we’re re­ceiv­ing.

‘‘In Jer­ilderie we have a sub­di­vi­sion of 33 blocks with a third al­ready sold, which is op­po­site to what we’re see­ing in the sta­tis­tics.

‘‘The re­sults paint a pic­ture we think is in­ac­cu­rate, and we’ll be try­ing to do some of our own anal­y­sis to de­ter­mine whether we can call for a re­view.’’

Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil di­rec­tor of en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices Su­san Ap­p­le­yard says it ap­pears all res­i­dents with ru­ral ad­dresses across the en­tire shire were not counted in the Cen­sus.

‘‘Usu­ally prior to the Cen­sus we are con­tacted for a ru­ral ad­dress­ing list, and we were not con­tacted last year,’’ she said.

‘‘As a re­sult, we know there are whole sec­tions that did not re­ceive a form, and they are un­likely to have gone on­line to com­plete the Cen­sus ei­ther.

‘‘It seems if you live on a dirt road, you were missed.’’

Ms Ap­p­le­yard said coun­cil’s own records show the former Jer­ilderie Shire re­gion — be­fore its merger with Mur­rumbidgee Shire to form the new en­tity in May last year — av­er­aged five new dwelling de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions each year.

Us­ing those fig­ures as the ba­sis for her es­ti­mate, she said she would have ex­pected to see an in­crease of 23 houses and not a re­duc­tion. There were 539 pri­vate dwellings listed from last Au­gust’s Cen­sus.

Mr Mof­fitt said the seem­ingly in­com­plete Cen­sus data could be dam­ag­ing to po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment in Jer­ilderie and the whole Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil area.

‘‘It has an ef­fect on peo­ple look­ing at us as a place of de­vel­op­ment or where they would re­lo­cate to,’’ Mr Mof­fitt said.

‘‘Our drive is to at­tract more peo­ple to Jer­ilderie and the coun­cil area, and these re­sults neg­a­tively im­pact on that.’’

Cen­sus re­sponses are used to for­mu­late Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics data, which is used in an of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity by gov­ern­ment in plan­ning mat­ters and de­ci­sion mak­ing.

Cen­sus data for the whole Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil area in­di­cated a com­bined pop­u­la­tion of 3,836 peo­ple in Au­gust 2016.

It in­cludes 952 fam­i­lies, with the me­dian age in the coun­cil area be­ing 41. The to­tal num­ber of pri­vate dwellings recorded for the coun­cil area was 1,888.

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