The Inner Gippsland Area Partnership stretches from the stunning beaches of the Bass Coast and South Gippsland to its rich and beautiful agricultural hinterland and includes four local government areas:
- Bass Coast Shire Council
- Baw Baw Shire Council
- Latrobe City Council
- South Gippsland Shire Council
Natural resources, including forestry and energy generation, and agriculture and tourism have underpinned growth in Inner Gippsland to date.
The area produces around 90 per cent of Victoria’s electricity but a global shift towards a low-carbon economy my have created challenges for the energy sector and the area’s economy.
The Inner Gippsland Area is home to about 179,160 people. The annual population increase in the Inner Gippsland area from 2004-2014 was 1.2%, below the state average of 1.7%. The projected annual population growth for 2014-2024 is 1.6% with a projected population for 2024 of 209,465.
Almost one third (30.3%) of people in Inner Gippsland Area are aged between 0-24 and about one in five people are aged 0-14 (18.6%). The area has over 25,800 families and 65.8% of these families have children aged under 15 years. About 10.9% of families with children have a low income, above the state average of 8.7%.
The percentage of people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin is relatively high, with 1.3 % of the total population being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, compared to the state average of 0.9%. In 2011, there were 824 Aboriginal children in the area, making up 2.1% of the total Inner Gippsland child population, compared to the Victorian average of 1.3%.
Volunteering rates in Inner Gippsland are high with one in four people contributing to the community in an unpaid capacity.
The vast majority of children in Inner Gippsland Area are healthy and well (96.6%) . A child’s health in their early years has a positive influence on how they develop, grow and learn. About two thirds (64.5%) of children in Inner Gippsland Area attend their 3.5 year old maternal and child health check in Victoria, compared to the state average of 66.1%. Attendance rates are lowest in Bass Coast where only about half of children make it to this appointment (51.2%). Over nine out of ten children (92.4%) are fully immunised by 27 months of age.
The Inner Gippsland Area offers a safe environment for most children with 97.4% of parents with children aged under 13 years of age saying their neighbourhood is safe.1 However, family violence is a serious issue in the Inner Gippsland Area. In 2013/2014 there were 1042.8 incidents per 100,000 population. Children were present in more than one third (36.5%) of these incidents.
Access to early learning plays a crucial role in supporting children's development and getting them ready for primary school. In the Inner Gippsland Area more than two thirds of children (71.9%) have an adult in their life who reads to them every day. In 2015, 97% of eligible children in the area participated in kindergarten.
Children’s developmental vulnerability when they start school is a real challenge in the Inner Gippsland Area. In 2012, the Latrobe LGA had the highest percentage of children who were vulnerable in two or more domains at 15.3%. This was 50% higher than the Victorian average. Bass Coast LGA was also above both the Victorian and Australian averages. The area also has a high number of children with emotional or behavioral problems at school entry (7.8% compared with state average 4.6%).
In 2014, 85.3% of people 19 years or older had completed Year 12 in the Inner Gippsland Area versus the state average of 88.2%. Most children in grade 5 and 6 (83.5%) report feeling connected to their school - slightly below the state average, and 59.1% students in year 7 to 9 say they feel connected to school. In Latrobe this number is only 47.5%.
Data sources include:
1 Victorian Child Health and Wellbeing Survey: Number of children aged 0 to 13 years of age who are reported to have ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ health.