Consensus on the Census – we’re older, but growing
West Wyalong was the backdrop for the release of the much-anticipated 2016 Census, with Minister for Small Business and Nationals Member for the Riverina Michael McCormack launching Round One of the data last week.
Despite some online teething issues, the Census was an overwhelming success with over 95 per cent of households completing their Census, providing invaluable data to inform future planning decisions.
With 68 million facts and 2.8 million tables, the Census is the largest logistical exercise undertaken by the Government in peacetime.
As the first Small Business Minister from regional Australia, Michael McCormack was keen to highlight the importance of Census for all areas including small towns, with decision makers relying on data to make equitable funding decisions from infrastructure to health funding, with Government’s at all levels utilising the data when developing fiscal strategy.
“The Census is a vital resource, which will help Governments, business big and small and communities shape the future of our nation and our regions over the next five years,” he said.
Viewing the data from its widest point, the ‘typical’ Australians are a 37 year-old male and 38 year-old female, who is married, native English speaker with two children, they own two cars and a three bedroom home with a mortgage. However the closer you look, the more diverse the picture becomes. For example, in NSW the typical person is still a 38-year-old female with the same house and family, but chances are one of her parents was born overseas. In fact, 22 per cent of Australians now speaking a second language at home.
Australia’s population has grown to 24,401,892 people with NSW home to seven million people – two-thirds of which choose to live in the Greater Sydney area and earn on average $662 a week. A third of NSW residents own their own home, another third have a mortgage, while the remaining third rent. Over half the population identifies as either Catholic or Anglican but those who identify as having no religion has jumped to an all-time high of 29.6 per cent.
You can check out statistics for your local area on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
“Australians will have free access to a number of simple, easy-to-use products, including more than 80,000 QuickStats, which provide local area data summaries and more than 30,000 community profiles providing detailed data workbooks for local areas,” Michael said.
“The ABS is also holding free data seminars – open to everyone – right across Australia from July, including in many regional areas.”
The Census data has been independently evaluated in light of the online teething issues and was found by the Independent Assurance Panel to be fit for purpose. Over 60 per cent of households utilised the online Census portal, saving the taxpayers $100 million in print and postage.
Minister McCormack highlighted the growth of regional areas and lower house prices and encouraged city-dwellers to think outside the city perimeters and consider a regional lifestyle.
“As a National Party politician, as a regional Member of Parliament, I have been saying for quite some time that there are jobs out in the regions. There are very affordable homes out in the regions. So when you combine those, there are great opportunities for the regions,” he said.
Home ownership in the regions is now easier for first-home buyers thanks to the NSW Government’s stamp duty tax cut, with many regional areas already seeing the benefits of strong job growth, infrastructure expansion and forward planning.
Here is a snapshot of life in the regions, with towns selected at random from our 13 NSW Nationals seats.
|Age||Difference from National Age||Morgage Repayments||Differnce from National Averrage||Medium Weekly Rent|
|South West Rocks||53||15||$1,495||$491||$225|