Study shows adults older, poorer
THE Clarence Valley can have a long, hard look at itself via a 144-page draft social plan 2010-2014 released by Clarence Valley Council.
Key statistics show the Valley’s adult population to be older, poorer and less qualified than the state average, with annual births at Grafton Base Hospital fluctuating around the 400 mark and the birth rate decreasing.
CVC’s community development officer Carolyn Wilkes said council officers used information from 212 individual questionnaires, plus community meetings with almost all community agency networks, to gather the data.
Ms Wilkes said the plan, which would go to council’s June meeting for adoption, would be used by groups applying for government grants as evidence in establishing ‘need’. The document builds on the first Social Plan 2006-2010, which was produced to satisfy NSW Government requirements.
The report outlines major issues facing people in the Valley include: a lack of GPs and availability of bulk billing; expensive dental care, and; the lack of outreach services to outlying areas.
Compared with NSW as a whole, the Clarence Valley population was markedly under-qualified, the plan reveals, with 59.7 per cent of residents having no qualification compared with 51.5 per cent across the state. The plan is split into three parts: Community and Social Issues; Action Plan, and; Supporting Information. Each section evaluates achievements and failures since the earlier 2006-2010 Social Plan.
Clarence Valley Snapshot
• A total population of 50,596 in 2006;
• The second most populous LGA in the Northern Rivers;
• Significantly higher proportion of the population in the 60-84 years age group (19.3%) compared with NSW (13.8%);
• As at June 2006, the Clarence Valley unemployment rate was 8.4% compared to NSW at 5.3%.
• Higher proportion of population in the 5-14 years age group (19.8%) compared to NSW (13.4%);
• Low labour-force participation rate at 50.6%, well below the state average of 60.8%;
• The population is markedly under-qualified compared to NSW, Mid North Coast and the Northern Rivers, with low completion of Year 12 schooling and low attainment of non-school qualifications;
• A high proportion (17.2%) of one-parent families with children less than 15 years compared to NSW (16.1%);
• A significantly higher percentage of the population identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander at 4.8%, compared to NSW at 2.1%;
• A high proportion (25.2%) of one-person households compared to NSW (22.8%), particularly in the Greater Grafton area (26.6%);
• A high (70.5%) home ownership rate compared to NSW (63.4%);
• A significantly smaller percentage of the population were born in non-English speaking countries at 8.3% compared to 25.7% for NSW;
Information from the Clarence Valley Council Draft Social Plan 2010-2014