Local government is about the most diverse and complex business around. I take my hat off to any local government CEO – their Board is the elected council members and their shareholders are the community. They are answerable to the most diverse range of stakeholders including state government. At the forefront of their daily tasks are incredible pressures around the provision of housing, dealing with the impacts of climate change and population change, not to mention their important role in economic development, while the whole time keeping an eye on the issues of social cohesion. Oh, and local government plays a huge advocacy role in our communities.
The council collective is also incredibly diverse. There are CBD councils, inner city councils, middle ring councils, fringe suburb councils, rapid growth area councils, regional centres, rural councils – each with their own unique issues and pressures. There is certainly no one-size fits all approach to planning and decision making in local government.
In our work with 220 councils across Australia, I’ve observed time and again, that access to hard evidence about places and how they are changing provides enormous relief to decision makers. The richest source of this knowledge is the Census. Once analysed and converted into knowledge it enables them to understand places today and forms the basis for forecasting what will happen in the future.
This knowledge is a pretty handy thing to have when you are planning facilities worth millions of dollars. The problem with Census data is that it is complex and is often poorly analysed, which leaves this rich resource underutilised.
.id (Informed Decisions), a team of demographers, forecasters and Census data experts with a keen interest in cities and the way they grow and change, has combined their extensive urban planning and geography backgrounds to come up with a solution to some of complexity and analysis issues resulting from underutilized census data. The team has developed planner’s toolkit mean to support local government planners to make evidence-based decisions and build a strong case for funding and advocacy.
Stonnington City is known predominantly as an affluent part of inner-city Melbourne, but is also home to a large community housed in 60s-style public housing towers. Using their online social atlas they were able to identify this community within a community, show that it has one of the highest levels of disadvantage in Melbourne, and present the case for funding in a powerful way.
Surf Coast Shire Council in Victoria is experiencing rapid growth and the population is forecast to grow nearly 60% by 2031 (who wouldn’t want to move to somewhere called the Surf Coast!) Demographic evidence helped the Council to lobby for a Primary to Year 9 High School in the Shire. By understanding local development, migration patterns and demographic change, they could quantify the number of school aged children that would be living in the Shire each year to support their advocacy efforts. Their online population forecastshelped them to make their case in a compelling way.
Penrith City Council is a large suburban Council on the outskirts of Sydney. Analysis of census data helped Penrith to roll out a three-bin waste system. Home to large numbers of young families, Penrith needed to know the number of households containing children with nappies and where they were located. They could then decide the frequency of pickup, where peak areas would be and how many properties may need a bigger bin or more frequent service to keep them sweet smelling... www.id.com.au/penrith