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Understanding the community’s views on the natural environment for the Sunshine Coast Regional Council
When you think of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast what comes to mind? While the name kind of gives it away, it’s fair to say that most people would associate the Sunshine Coast with the great outdoors – beaches, warm weather, rainforests, mountains – pretty much all things “natural environment”.
Through its Environment and Liveability Strategy, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council recognises that the natural environment is part of the Region’s DNA; the contribution it makes to the Sunshine Coast community’s way of life, and how Council will work in partnership with the natural environment to ensure a prosperous longer term.
While this strategy guides planning, action and advocacy, Council also needed a robust way to understand the community’s views regarding the natural environment to help ensure that decisions are made in the residents’ best interests. Specifically, Council wanted to understand the value the community places on the natural environment, how important this item is to them in concert with a diverse set of other liveability attributes, how residents experienced the natural environment within their local areas, and the contribution it makes to the LGA’s overall liveability.
The .id solution
To help meet these needs, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council engaged .id to deliver our new Living in Place offer. We surveyed n=1628 residents across the LGA in March 2021, with the responses analysed and reported on our leading online platform, views.id. Key findings were also described in a narrative based views report and an insights workshop with council officers brought the results to life in the local policy context. In the time since, .id has delivered additional workshops and support to help local government professionals, councillors and other parties understand how they can use views.id as an evidence base to better understand and integrate residents’ perspectives into a diverse range of planning, placemaking and advocacy activities.
What was learned
Council learned that ‘access to the natural environment’ is both a critically important and unique feature of the Sunshine Coast.
Residents of the Sunshine Coast nominated ‘access to the natural environment’ as the liveability attribute that contributes most towards making somewhere a good place (68% of residents selected it among their 5 most important liveability attributes from the complete list of 16) and the aspect that was most positively experienced across the community’s local areas (residents rated their local area and average of 8.2/10). While this combination of high importance and exceptional local area experiences demands that future planning and advocacy related to or impacting on the community’s ability to ‘access the natural environment’ must be done with a full and considered consciousness as to how it will affect the community’s lived-experience, it also creates a platform through which Council can communicate one of the Region’s positive points of difference. In relative terms, while the average Australian also places a lot of stock in their ability to ‘access to the natural environment’ when they are thinking about what makes somewhere a good place to live, their local area lived experiences are not as positive as those who make their home on the Sunshine Coast.
Beyond the natural environment, Council also learned a lot more about what their residents value, the local area experiences, which specific liveability attributes need to be maintained and improved to advance quality of life, how the Sunshine Coast compares to other benchmarked areas, and the role that sub-LGA geography, demography and life-stage play in informing residents’ perspectives and needs.
What will be done
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council will use the Living in Place findings to bring a credible resident lens to their Environment and Liveability Strategy, Corporate Plan, other strategic policy areas and advocacy efforts.
Looking for a better way to represent your community’s best interests in strategic planning and advocacy?
Living in Place is an independent, robust and repeatable community survey that not only seeks to understand but aims to help advance the liveability of Australians’ local areas. It provides participating councils with a deep and representative understanding of their community’s values, experiences and needs and creates a resident centric evidence base to inform, monitor and evaluate strategic planning and advocacy. Join other leading councils by learning more here.
The Northern Beaches is a large coastal suburban area with an economy built on tourism and hospitality as well as population based industries that service the 274,000 people. There is a large educated professional resident workforce that regularly commute into Sydney’s CBD and the North Shore everyday earning higher incomes than what the local employment opportunities can provide. Recent economic growth has been lower than the metropolitan average and the gap between the number of local jobs and residents working in Professional Services has not closed, reaching over 13,000 in 2020. The onset of COVID restrictions in 2020 hit the tourism and creative industries hard and there was uncertainty about the scale of impacts.
Council were interested in exploring a number of economic forces impacting the Northern Beaches economy. .id prepared a comprehensive Economic Health Check that not only identified the localised impacts of COVID restrictions but also analysed other recent trends in competitive industries. The scale and location of working from home and home based businesses in the region was also analysed to understand the potential opportunity going forward.
The outcome for Council was a strong evidence base to support stakeholder discussions and action plans being prepared for their economic development strategy. Key opportunities for sustained growth were detailed as well as challenges that may continue to inhibit growth if not addressed.
- Lower GRP growth in recent years as a result of a decrease in construction activity following the completion of Northern Beaches Hospital
- Productivity per worker has declined as less productive industries (e.g. health, retail) grow their share of employment
- Strong growth in residential building approvals could help boost local construction industry but a higher than average share are renovations, not new builds.
- Domestic and international visitation (pre-COVID) had grown strongly since 2015
Need an economic health check for your region or municipality?
Our Economic Health Check report provides you with a comprehensive analysis of the local economy. This report and presentation covers current economic position, recent trends, drivers of recent change, strategic sectors and localised SWOT. It is great for assessing the current state of play in the economy and crucial first step in the development of a long term economic development strategy. Learn more here.
Please contact us if you need more information.
Cairns Regional Council needed an up-to-date understanding of the economic recovery underway from COVID-19 to help inform and monitor economic development initiatives.
Council engaged .id to assess the economic recovery underway and the emerging opportunities and challenges. This included analysis of recent growth, industry performance, spending patterns and tourism visitation.
The outcome for Council is an up-to-date evidence base to support advocacy efforts for a range of business survival and stimulus initiatives to support Cairns’ economic recovery.
Key findings relevant to similar regions
This case study will be relevant to Regional Cities, particularly those with a tourism focus.
Cairns is a major regional city located in Far North Queensland. The Cairns economy was one of the most severely affected regions from COVID-19 in Australia due to the reliance on tourism and other export sectors. In March 2020, air travel ground to a halt, hotel occupancy rates collapsed and nine out of 10 businesses were impacted. The economic recovery was faster than expected with strong growth in the second half of 2020. But, risks remain and the industry recovery is uneven.
The four key findings from the Cairns analysis relevant to other regional cities include:
- The local economy rebounded quicker and faster than expected
- Jobs vacancies are surging, but filling positions is hard
- Regional Cities have become more important since the COVID pandemic
- Headwinds will impact speed of recovery, especially for regions with a reliance on international tourism and/or overseas migration.
In 2021, Rockhampton Regional Council embarked on a process of developing a new Economic Development Plan. As an early step in this process, the City was looking to establish a strong evidence base that could inform community discussions before launching into vision setting and action planning.
Council engaged .id to assess the current economic drivers and challenges facing the Rockhampton economy. This included analysis of recent trends, benchmarking assessment, industry evaluation and the development of economic forecasts.
The outcome for Council is a robust economic evidence base that will underpin the preparation of Rockhampton’s next Economic Development Strategy. This evidence base means that Council can make confident, informed decisions about the long term actions that can help drive more sustainable growth.
The second outcome for Council is a pack of presentation material that can be used to guide investment attraction and advocacy efforts. Investment attraction activities were identified as one crucial opportunity to make the most of the next wave of construction and renewable energy projects.
Key findings relevant to similar regions
This case study will be relevant to Regional Cities, particularly those who have experienced volatile economic growth.
Rockhampton is a major regional city located in Central Queensland. Like many regional cities across Australia, Rockhampton has become increasingly important to their surrounding region as a major service hub. Sustainable economic growth has been a challenge however, with Rockhampton experiencing the ups and downs that come with major construction projects and mining activity.
- Sustained economic and job growth is a challenge
- Jobs ads are surging but attracting workers is hard
- Short term forecast is positive – but need to convert opportunities into sustained growth
- Less exposed to COVID-19 means council can focus on expansion strategies
The City of Ipswich needed to understand their community on a deeper level to help inform, monitor and ultimately evaluate the focus areas for their 2021-26 Corporate Plan.
The organisational challenge
Despite immense variation in size, composition and character, local governments share one common responsibility – to act in the best interests of the community they are entrusted to represent. In pursuit of this goal, all local governments need to understand their community’s current and future needs to inform planning, monitor project delivery and identify areas for advocacy. The City of Ipswich is no different and, as such, decided it wanted to understand its residents on a deeper level to make certain that their 2021-26 Corporate Plan not only responded to the community’s needs of today, but that it was focussed on setting the course for a more prosperous longer term.
The critical questions without answers were…
1. What do our residents believe makes somewhere a good place to live, and how do they experience their local area in that regard?
2. How liveable is the City of Ipswich currently, and what needs to happen to advance quality of life?
3. What role does our residents’ demography, life-stage and location play inform their views, and how do we compare to others?
The .id solution
To assist with this process, the City engaged .id to deliver our new Living in Place offer. Living in Place is an independent, robust and repeatable community survey that aims to understand and advance the liveability of Australians’ local areas. It provides participating councils with a deep and representative understanding of their community’s values, experiences and needs and creates a resident centric evidence base to inform, monitor and evaluate strategic planning and advocacy.
In addition to asking about the community’s values and local area experiences, we sought information regarding residents’ health & wellbeing, financial circumstances, local area concerns and ideas for improving quality of life. The results were analysed and reported via our best-in-class online reporting platform, views.id, key findings were described in a narrative based views report and an insights workshop with council officers brought the results to life in the local policy context.
What was learned
Living in Ipswich provided the City with a baseline understanding as to the community’s values, experiences, the City’s current overall liveability, and, most importantly, advice as to which specific attributes the residents believe need to be maintained and improved to advance quality of life. The top five key findings from Living in Ipswich 2021 were:
1. How safe the community feels in their local area is critical to informing the City’s overall liveability.
2. Improving local area transport experiences (reducing road congestion, the provision of reliable and efficient public transport) are crucial to advancing quality of life in the longer term.
3. Affordable decent housing is one of Ipswich’s absolute and relative strengths.
4. The community reported varying levels of mental health and social wellbeing.
5. While overall liveability was relatively consistent across Ipswich, local areas have different future needs.
The City will deploy Living in Ipswich annually to monitor how and where their community’s views are changing in response to council’s strategic policy agenda, advocacy efforts and external factors.
The City of Ipswich Corporate Plan 2021-26 can be found here.
Visit our dedicated Living in Place website to learn more about the offer, where you can take a guided video tour of our best-in-class online reporting and exploratory platform, views.id. Check out articles from our Community Views team here, or feel free to book a meeting if you would like to learn more.
Albury City and the City of Wodonga approached .id to help them understand the demographic characteristics of residents who live outside public transport catchments without reliable access to transport in their households. By conducting this analysis, the two councils could understand how the demographic differences of residents living outside public transport catchments and where councils would need to place their efforts to improve services and advocate for improvement.
This type of catchment analysis can be applied to a variety of service coverage assessments, such as understanding demand, usage and service coverage of parks and gardens, playgrounds and skateparks, sports grounds, swimming pool centres or community halls.
We obtained public transport information from the two councils, geocoded the information then used network analysis to create public transport walking catchments (i.e. 400m walking catchments to bus stops). Once the isochrones are created, inverse spatial selections allowed for obtaining demographic information about those residents who live outside of the catchment areas. Different demographic datasets are obtained for those areas outside catchments and comparisons were made to illustrate how the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of residents living outside public transport catchments compare to that of the entire LGA population in both Albury and Wodonga.
Firstly, the analysis produced a visual understanding of which parts of the two LGAs are not well serviced by public transport. This is information the councils can use to advocate for coverage improvements. Secondly, comparing the demographic characteristics of residents outside of public transport catchments to the entire LGA population revealed some interesting differences. We found these residents to be younger, with lower levels of university attendance and full-time employment than the LGAs as a whole. The analysis also found that residents living outside public transport catchments had lower household incomes, were more ethnically diverse and had a higher need for assistance due to disability than all residents in the two respective LGAs.
Demographics / Forecasting
Murray Shire engaged .id’s demographic experts to help understand future population change in a local growth area what this would mean in terms of demand for primary schools.
A key question identified was around the demand for new primary schools. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage/WA Planning Commission recommends development of one primary school for every 1,500 dwellings. We wanted to establish a more specific view on this based on the area’s likely demographic characteristics (in this case, the likely primary-school–age population) over time.
We reviewed the development of comparable areas, including greenfield growth areas, medium-density neighbourhoods and urban infill areas, creating 18 case studies of population, household composition, age structure and dwelling size. This analysis resulted in a clear picture of how an area’s dwelling stock, likely housing market take-up and its role and function influences demographic characteristics.
Murray Shire were already subscribing to our Population Forecast, which was revised in light of the development plans for the area. This included analysis of:
- net migration by age
- household composition
- primary school-aged population (2020–2051)
Combining the population forecasts with likely scenarios based on our analysis of comparable areas development allowed us to create a clear view of the development of this area over time and a better understanding of likely demand for primary schools.
This project established a clear, data-led view of the likely demographic composition of the area over time. It also demonstrated how expected future housing stock and likely household types would influence demand for primary school facilities. Included was a detailed view of primary school demand from 2020–2051 (the expected development period) and beyond.
This, in turn, resulted in recommendations regarding the total number of new primary schools required for the anticipated population, allowing Council to plan for allocation of land and other associated resources.
We were very pleased to collaborate with Blacktown City Council and produce their first “Living in Place” report which is named “Living in Blacktown”. Blacktown City is located in Sydney’s western suburbs and has a population of almost 375,000. Blacktown City has a young, diverse, multicultural population and like many large inner-city municipalities, encounters different challenges and opportunities.
“Living in Blacktown” provides new insight into Blacktown’s communities by discovering what quality of life means to residents, what aspects of living in Blacktown are important and how quality of life attributes perform across the municipality.
The Living in Blacktown survey was conducted in 2019. It captured an adequate sample size and demographic spread across the City. For the first time, lived experience survey information could be benchmarked to the region, Greater Sydney and New South Wales.
Alongside some demographic questions about age, gender and diversity, respondents were asked two main questions which referred to a list of quality of life attributes:
- Which quality of life attributes are most important to you?
- How do you rate the performance of quality of life attributes in your community?
These quality of life attributes are listed here.
Living in Place results clearly outline which quality of life attributes are important to communities and perform well, which ones are important but do not perform well and also which ones are neither important nor performing well. This offers an informed focus on action and prioritising, especially if resources are scarce.
A council can further investigate results of Living in Place to understand why some aspects of community sentiment are more important to residents than others and why some perform better than others. Living in Place provides the ability to understand the community, dispel any preconceived ideas which may be incorrect and strengthen the confidence in investment of effort and resources.
What we discovered from Living in Blacktown was that it is a place where residents place most importance on feeling safe, as is also the case in Greater Sydney and New South Wales. Blacktown residents also value having affordable decent housing and a reliable public transport system.
Social cohesion is the best performing quality of life attribute in Blacktown. It performs better here than in any of the benchmark areas, including Australia. This is a real strength of Blacktown City and the council recognises social cohesion as vital to how communities cooperate and unite.
Compared to Greater Sydney, Blacktown City places more importance on safety, affordable housing and connectivity. On the other hand, Greater Sydney places more importance on access to high quality education and good job prospects than Blacktown.
As a result of this survey, we also have an understanding of how female residents’ quality of life experiences differ to males, how younger residents differ to older ones and how residents who speak another language at home experience living in Blacktown compared to English-only speakers.
Difference in responses by location provide valuable insight into the dynamics and spatial differences of the Blacktown City lived experience. Established suburbs such as Mount Druitt or Blacktown have vastly different quality of life responses than the more newly developed suburbs in the north such as Marsden Park, Shanes Park or Riverstone.
Using the results in decision making
Different segments of the results and findings from Living in Blacktown provide council staff with a multifaceted view of their communities. As Living in Blacktown was being conducted, the council was undertaking their own community engagement survey and were pleased to be able to strengthen some of the findings from their own research with that of Living in Blacktown.
The results from this project can be used to inform Blacktown City’s local planning priorities (as stated in the Draft Blacktown Local Strategic Planning Statement), to assist in making Blacktown a place with sustainable growth, supported by essential infrastructure, efficient transport, a prosperous economy and equitable access to a vibrant lifestyle. It can help inform the Community Strategic Plan by helping define the community vision, measure progress, inform the council’s “Control-Influence-Concern” model and assess residents’ quality of life.
Finally, on a more regional scale, results from Living in Blacktown, especially once repeated over several years, can be directly implemented in “A Plan for Growing Sydney”, the NSW State Government Planning and Environment Department’s strategy for Sydney to be a great place to live with communities that are strong, healthy and connected.
If you need help understanding social cohesion in your area, contact our demographic consulting team here to discuss your project.
Social cohesion is the act of fighting exclusion, marginalisation and discrimination by actively supporting enablers (employment, population stability, housing, sports, music, good living environment, chances for social mobility) and discouraging disablers (racial tensions, deprivation and disadvantage, language barriers, stereotyping and emphasis on cultural differences, population turnover, fear of crime and racial harassment) of social cohesion (Moreland Social Cohesion Plan 2018-2020).
Prioritising effort to enhance social cohesion is an imperative of the vision of the Council Plan 2017-2021 for Moreland City Council. They have developed a series of social indicators linked to their social cohesion policy. These will be used to measure outcomes of Moreland’s Social Cohesion Plan and related components of Moreland’s Human Rights Policy implementation. There is an intention to monitor these indicators moving forward.
The population experts at .id focused on interrogating relevant ABS datasets – the Census and Survey of Disability, Ageing and Caring (SDAC) and compiled them into communicable statistics and trends, as well as providing a brief interpretation of this in a communicable format, suitable for council policy offers.
Social cohesion, in this context, was defined as being a shared community vision and a process viewed not simply as an outcome but as a continuous process of achieving social harmony within Moreland. With years of experience of working with ABS data, we identified which available datasets could adequately and accurately describe “social cohesion” across the municipality and how this information could help us ascertain whether social cohesion was performing well or not. If you would like more information about measures we included, or you need a similar piece of analysis for your council, please contact us here.
Spatial analysis of data allowed us to illustrate different levels of social cohesion across the City of Moreland. Key analysis techniques which we often employ to describe trends and change were used here too – analysis of change over time, spatial patterns and benchmarking to other areas.
We also employed our own technique for modelling propensity for disability from the ABS Survey of Disability, Aging and Caring (SDAC) and other sources to build identify populations with an increased level of disability down to small geographic areas. For more on how we’ve used this modelling technique, see this case study, see this case study.
Our in-depth analysis looked at socioeconomic and demographic information such as:
- Unemployment (spatial analysis, change over time and a look into unemployment of priority groups)
- Low income households
- Population migration and recent arrivals from overseas
- Population diversity (need for assistance, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, overseas born, English language proficiency, religion)
Our report consisted of dataset interpretation, spatial illustrations of diversity and change, and narrative summary. It tells the story of social cohesion in different communities within Moreland, specifically linking each to the Council’s social indicators. Council decision makers were able to utilise the findings to support and improve their approach to encouraging and monitoring enhancing social cohesion.
Gold Coast City Council engaged .id to find out more about their vulnerable communities. Their goal was to highlight areas that might be particularly vulnerable in times of disaster and understand where they may need to target specialised approaches to support people in preparing for, and in times of, disaster. Defining these communities required .id’s extensive demographic expertise and knowledge of available datasets. By interrogating these datasets, we could tell them where vulnerable communities are located and how different vulnerability indicators are spatially distributed.
Prior to commencing analysis, we identified which demographic indicators would be best used to describe vulnerability within a community. Once the indicators were established, information was obtained at Statistical Area 2 (SA2) level, which roughly related to suburbs. With the available information, analysis was done to assess where each vulnerability indicator is most prominent. As more indicators were examined, we began to see patterns emerging and some parts of Gold Coast City would appear as vulnerable multiple times.
Some of the data which was used to develop a view of vulnerability in Gold Coast City was:
- Homeless population
- People aged 65+
- Lone person households & lone person households aged 65+
- People with a disability
- Disengaged youth
- People in low income households
- People with poor English proficiency
- People with no internet access at home and/or no motor vehicle at household
- Visitors away from home staying in area on Census night.
A full demographic picture of vulnerable communities was developed and assessed. This allowed for us to pinpoint which SA2s/suburbs were most vulnerable, which ones featured as vulnerable in multiple datasets and which ones had specific challenges which made them vulnerable. The same areas tend to appear as hotspots for vulnerable populations across many measures. There were three main groups:
- High density areas with high visitor population
- Medium-high density, lower socioeconomic areas with many renters and culturally diverse populations
- Retirement communities
Any strategies to support vulnerable populations will need to focus on these specific areas.
In order to develop local economic strategies, Fairfield City Council engaged .id to explore local economic drivers and competitive advantages influencing growth.
We developed a slide-deck report that delivered at-a-glance, economic analysis about the LGA’s key economic indicators including:
- Economic growth
- Economic drivers (population, participation, productivity)
- Job growth and labour force performance
- Industry and business activity
- Socio-economic changes
This information was then used by the economics team to identify the main opportunities and challenges facing the local economy. Some of the opportunities and challenges included:
- High unemployment rate and has remained elevated despite recent economic growth
- Skill profile is lower, with barriers like low English language proficiency impacting labour force outcomes
- Strong growth recently in key industry sectors – Manufacturing; Wholesale Trade; and Transport, Postal and Warehousing.
- Its multicultural community provides opportunities for growth (e.g. niche local markets, exports)
This information will help inform Council economic planning, allowing them to make confident decisions about what strategies are required to influence growth.
Bega Valley Council engaged .id to undertake an economic analysis to support the development of the Economic Development Vision Platform. The Economic Development Vision Platform aims to become a blue print for the Bega Valley Shire that outlines the region’s natural advantages, industry strengths, emerging opportunities, existing clusters and expertise, future economic challenges and future potential.
We developed a slide-deck report that delivered at-a-glance, economic analysis about the LGA’s key economic indicators including:
- Economic growth
- Economic drivers (population, participation, productivity)
- Job growth and labour force performance
- Industry and business activity
- Socio-economic changes
This information was then used by the economics team to identify the main opportunities and challenges facing the local economy. Some of the challenges included:
- Competition for tourism experiences (regional, domestic, international)
- Increasing adaption of digital technology and automation, with impacts on agriculture and manufacturing.
- Under-investment in regional infrastructure
- Spatial implications of a growing service sector and knowledge economy
- Attracting and keeping skilled workers, especially in light of an ageing population
Our insights were then presented to the economic development working group and provided an opportunity to answer questions and discuss actions to progress the development of the Economic Development Vision Platform.
The insights from our economic health check have been used to inform consultation with key businesses, industry, organisations and community to develop the Bega Valley through Regional Economic Development Strategy 2021-2031.
Armidale Regional Council engaged .id to develop a profile of the local economy. The objective was to present a clear, consistent and concise story about the Armidale Regional economy that can be used to target investment attraction and support the economic development strategy.
The report presented an overview of the Armidale economy with focussed analysis on the region’s key competitive advantages. This was followed by profiling of strategic industries and how they leveraged the region’s advantages. Local businesses and new projects were highlighted to support the narrative and provide examples for investors.
The report also included a mapping of economic and industry strengths and weaknesses to inform future economic development planning.
.id prepared a story about the Armidale economy that is being used to inform economic development plans and guide investment attraction. Our slide deck based approach allowed Council to tailor their investment attraction activities to different industry sectors.
The City of Ryde required a detailed profile of their largest economic node – Macquarie Park. This analysis aimed to provide key highlights of the tech park, competitive advantages and benchmarking analysis that could be used to target investment attraction and support economic development strategies.
We decided a PowerPoint slide deck would be the best way to present engaging content that can be tailored to different needs e.g. marketing or planning purposes. A semi-prospectus style report was developed to help decision makers understand the competitive strengths of Macquarie Park and the range of opportunities it presents.
The report also included highlighting major businesses and cluster relationships, mapping infrastructure, identifying major projects, and developing economic projections to showcase future growth potential.
.id prepared a powerful story about one of Australia’s largest innovation hubs. Our slide deck based approach allowed Council to pull out key information for presentations to investors or to be used in marketing material.
Maribyrnong City Council engaged .id to develop a profile of the local economy with a particular emphasis on analysing workforce and employed resident trends, especially the change from being a net job provider to being more a place of residence for inner city employees. The objective was to create a clear story about the region and its economy that articulates the transition occurring and helps future planning.
Our approach involved delivering analysis in two ways.
The first involved an economic slide deck that provided a concise overview of trends related to jobs and resident labour force outcomes in Maribyrnong. We used charts, mapping and case studies to highlight workforce patterns and how different locations within the region have changed over time.
The second step incorporated developing a more comprehensive profile that explores other aspects of the economy (e.g. industry value added analysis, impact of macro forces) and builds a story of economic change that can be communicated to a wider audience.
Maribyrnong now has a clear understanding of how gentrification and industry transition has influenced the changing role of the region over the last two decades. The economic profile is also being used to inform economic development strategies and discussions with State Government regarding key land assets in the Council.
In 2018, Canterbury Bankstown Council engaged .id to develop a profile of the local economy. The objective was to present a clear, consistent and concise story about the Canterbury Bankstown economy that can be used to inform development of economic strategies and investment material.
The report presented a comprehensive analysis of Canterbury Bankstown’s economy, exploring some of the key forces influencing growth in NSW’s largest council by population. These forces include the transition of Manufacturing, growth of population servicing sectors and logistics.
The report also explored spatial resident and workforce differences between the Canterbury and Bankstown ends of the region. Cultural factors and their employment impacts were also covered, highly relevant for one of Australia’s most culturally diverse areas.
We then looked at what might happen going forward. This stage incorporated analysing the employment implications of forecast population growth, major projects, and macro trends
The report’s narrative and analysis has served as a direct input to economic development and land use planning in the Canterbury Bankstown Council.
Monash City Council engaged .id to develop a profile of the local economy. The objective was to present a clear, consistent and concise story about the Monash economy that could be used to develop an economic vision and an Economic Development Strategy.
The report presented a comprehensive analysis of Monash’s current strategic strengths as one of Australia’s most prominent centres for innovation and how its economic and residential diversity is a key platform for historical and future prosperity.
Monash City Council subsequently adopted our report’s key narrative and messages for their draft Economic Development Strategy, which is available along with our report here.
Wollongong City Council engaged .id to explore the local economy from a jobs and resident employment perspective. They were particularly after an analysis of the likely future trajectory of the economy and an identification of what job targets would be required to achieve desired labour market outcomes.
.id adopted a strategic methodology to meet the council’s needs.
We identified where the Wollongong economy is now and what has been influencing change over time. This included exploring worker versus employed resident differences, dominant / emerging industry analysis, and journey to work patterns of strategic industries.
We then looked at what might happen going forward. This stage incorporated analysing the employment implications of forecast population growth, forecast jobs growth, major projects, and macro trends.
The final stage involved identifying what growth targets (above business as usual) would be needed to meet Council’s chosen desired outcomes and evaluating the feasibility of these targets.
.id prepared a story about the City of Wollongong economy that has been used to directly inform strategic planning, investment priorities and ultimately the development of interventions to leverage opportunities and address challenges. Our recommended targets were presented to Council and subsequently adopted.
.id undertook a detailed economic analysis of the Launceston and Northern Tasmania economy to support the development of the Economic Development Strategy. Our involvement helped identify the opportunities, trends and drivers of future economic growth.
Our involvement included a dominant/emerging industry analysis, skills gap analysis, supply-chain analysis, tourism and agriculture analysis and spatial analysis.
The profile highlighted that the City of Launceston and Northern Tasmania Region face a number of challenges that need to be addressed. That said, this profile points to a number of emerging opportunities and drivers of growth and these are the focus of this profile. Four major opportunities were identified:
- Growing importance as a Regional City
- Leverage off economic development potential of Northern Tasmania
- Add value to traditional strengths in agriculture through actions that increase its knowledge-intensity
- Gateway for an expanded Tourism offer
.id prepared a story about the City of Launceston economy that has been used to directly inform strategic planning, and ultimately the development of an Economic Development Plan.
Gunnedah Shire Council engaged .id to explore the local economy with an emphasis on analysing workforce and industry trends. They were particularly after an analysis of what this meant for future workforce requirements in the Gunnedah Shire community, especially given the major projects proposed for the region. This evidence base was required to help inform the development of a Community Workforce Plan.
.id adopted a strategic methodology to meet the council’s needs.
We identified where the Gunnedah Shire economy is now and what has been influencing change over time. This included exploring recent economic performance, drivers of growth, dominant / emerging industry analysis and skills gap analysis.
We then looked at what might happen going forward. This stage incorporated analysing the employment implications of major projects proposed for the region such as a major health facility, food product manufacturing facility, and tourism assets.
The final stage involved identifying actions to take advantage of opportunities and address barriers to growth. Some of the challenges included:
- Slowdown in economic growth is impacting on employment generation
- Drought conditions in 2018 and 2019 may continue to impact economic conditions over the short term
- Emerging skill shortages may impact potential to support business growth
- Attracting and developing skilled workers
In this stage, there was a strong focus on developing actions around the education and skill level requirements for future workers in the Gunnedah Shire community.
.id prepared an economic health check and strategic opportunity analysis that has been used to directly inform the development of the Community Workforce Plan and ultimately the development of interventions to leverage opportunities and address challenges. Our analysis and findings were presented to Council.
“As part of a Community Workforce Plan Idprofile performed an Economic Health Check for us. We were really pleased with the outcome, they were quick and provided some fantastic data and cut it into a very manageable usable way. Providing data in this way has met that we have been able to set a check action plan to help us to move in the right direction”.
Manager, Economic Development
Gunnedah Shire Council
Campbelltown City Council asked .id to analyse the economic drivers of the local economy. The objective of this study was to build an evidence base that could set the strategic direction for economic development strategies and investment attraction material. We were also asked to evaluate the economic impacts of several interventions including the Western Sydney Airport.
To meet this objective, .id provided Council with an economic story about Campbelltown and its place in the regional and larger macro environment. Our approach was designed to better inform Council about the locations strategic strengths, weaknesses and gaps and how these have developed overtime, rather than repeating factual statements and presenting data.
We also developed an Economic Development Prioritisation Framework to help Council make strategic decisions about alternative options.
Our report covered the following:
- Economic role and function
- Local economic trends
- Industry sector analysis and competitive advantages
- Spatial economic form and implications
- Macro economic forces influencing growth
- Challenges and opportunities
- Evaluation of economic development options
Based on this work, our evidence base is now being used by Council to inform economic development plans, advocacy and investment priorities.
The City of Knox, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs was looking for a set of housing indicators for their State of Knox report, a visual, data-driven summary to inform decision makers and community consultation leading into the creation of the city’s community plan.
Every 5 years, the City Research and Mapping team creates the State of Knox report by drawing together and analysing a set of headline indicators across the facets covering Social, Economic, Environmental and Cultural characteristics of the city.
Approaching the next report in 2020, the team realised they had a gap in their housing indicators, and were on the hunt for datasets which they could confidently use and rely on through future 5-year cycles of monitoring the city.
A gap in housing indicators
The big gaps for the team were:
- Measuring housing affordability. Tracking private rentals and sales and what’s affordable by households on lower incomes.
- Data about households in income bands prescribed in the Victorian Government’s Planning Scheme (very low, low and moderate households)
The solution for Knox was housing.id, .id’s new online housing monitor. Delivered as a website alongside the City of Knox’s other .id tools, it could provide an easy-to-use, visual set of housing indicators that quickly bring people up to speed on the housing story of the area.
Through 34 indicators over 4 easy to use ‘lenses’, the housing monitor has delivered the City of Knox the indicators they need to inform their State of Knox report now and into the future.
Private rental affordability
The housing monitor delivers more precise measures of affordability, calculated using up-to-date housing market prices against what is affordable by households on different income bands. Delivered as LGA and small area figures enables deeper, local level analysis of affordability.
Housing stress by the income bands prescribed in the Victorian Government’s Planning Scheme (very low, low and moderate households), presented as LGA and small areas.
Meeting Knox’s requirements
The housing monitor meets the City’s principles for their indicators:
- Reliable source in another 5 years
- See change over time
- Benchmarked to the region
- Small area data
- Visual – easy for people to see the story quickly
- Trustworthy – transparent and from trusted sources
- Reduce the burden of data collection
New housing indicators for the City
The City Research and Mapping team are now using the housing monitor to create their new set of indicators, and will be going out to the community with the State of Knox report in 2020.
Using housing.id, Darlene Swan, Acting Coordinator of City Research and Mapping, says that housing.id provides ‘very strong’ datasets for their new sets of indicators, and for ongoing work monitoring their housing story.
Reduced burden of data collection
Having a subscription to housing.id enables the City Research and Mapping team to confidently update their set of headline indicators without the added burdens of data collection. “We’re collecting data right across everything, it’s very useful to have a source that’s already done” says Swan.
“And the fact that it’s on a public website too is fantastic. The data is there for everyone to see and use. Our partners, our community.” The result, says Swan, is that the team can spend less time finding data and fulfilling small requests, and spend more time looking at the trends and identifying the issues that might need addressing in City of Knox.
Informing the city’s housing work
Housing.id has been a strategic investment for the City of Knox, as a part of a strong emphasis on housing – especially housing affordability – driven by the community. The housing monitor is already being used in other projects, including the city’s social and affordable housing strategy.
For Swan, investing in the tool has been crucial to having access to the right information that her team, the city and it’s partners need to make informed decisions about housing “I would recommend housing.id if you’re wanting to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening locally with housing.”
If you’re interested in hearing how our housing team could assist your council, book a web meeting to chat with us.
It is widely acknowledged that cultural facilities such as museums, art galleries, theatres and their related activities generate a number of social and cultural benefits to regional towns and cities such as community cohesion, sense of identity, health and improved educational outcomes.
And while these facilities often have a positive economic impact on the local economy (from the operations of the facilities, the capital expenditure related to the facilities and the non-local (tourist) visitation), valuing the social impacts presents a challenge, because it is often difficult to assign a market price to them.
The .id solution
To capture the wider benefits of this project, our economics team undertook a cost-benefit analysis and economic impact analysis. Our analysis demonstrated that the benefits of the project were well above costs and would represent a significant return on investment for the government.
The following benefits and impacts were quantified in our analysis:
- Additional revenue for the Arts and Recreation sector
- Additional tourism visitation
- Induced tourism expenditure
- Community benefits (e.g. value of leisure, satisfaction, personal development and social interaction)
- Volunteering benefits
- Direct and indirect employment generated during the construction and operation phase (using the impact model developed specifically by NIEIR for the Clarence Valley economy).
Our CBA was undertaken in accordance with the guidelines prescribed by the Australian Government and NSW Government. The outputs from our work also directly responded to the economic criteria outlined in the grant applications guidelines (e.g. Net Present Value and Benefit Cost Ratio).
Demonstrating the impact of social benefits
As part of this project, we undertook a literature review to help support our claims about the economic and social benefits of cultural facilities. This included:
- Huxley, M. for Museums and Galleries of NSW, 2014, ADDING VALUE – A report on the economic impact of the cultural infrastructure of the Evocities of NSW
- Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre, Melbourne Business School, 2013, Demonstrating impact in Public Arts Museums
- Pew Research Center, 2014, Younger Americans and Public Libraries
By using both traditional market and non-market valuation techniques, we were able to develop a compelling case about the wider economic and social benefits of the proposed revitalisation of the Grafton Regional Gallery.
It’s a familiar planning conundrum – how can councils meet State Government housing targets in an environment where many local residents want to maintain their neighbourhood’s character?
This is of particular concern to councils in established parts of major Australian cities, where development opportunities are generally confined to strategic sites (for example, brownfield) or incremental infill housing.
The Town of Victoria Park, in Perth’s inner-southern suburbs, was looking for an evidence base to support an update to their local housing strategy.
The Town does have strategic development areas such as the Burswood Peninsula, but at the same time opportunities for infill development were becoming exhausted, particularly in suburbs east of the Albany Highway.
So how could the Town demonstrate they could meet housing targets given these constraints?
housing.id is a tailored housing opportunity and affordability analysis that uses an established methodology to consider major forms of future housing supply within activity centres, outside activity centres and within designated development sites.
At the beginning of a housing.id process, we conduct a housing workshop with council to develop and vet the assumptions are applied to each form of housing supply. The model used to calculate housing opportunity can be adjusted to reflect different policy settings but is deliberately conservative for the purposes of the report.
The housing opportunity analysis for the Town of Victoria Park indicated an opportunity for more than 24,000 dwellings, which at 2006-2011 rates of development represented 89 years of supply. The overwhelming majority of this opportunity was identified within activity centres, particularly the Burswood Peninsula.
Housing.id also includes an analysis of housing consumption trends, which mainly uses data from the Census of Population and Housing. This considers the period 2001-2011, which was a period of rapid growth in metropolitan Perth.
Many parts of the urban area grew rapidly, and within the Town, the first high-density developments on the Burswood Peninsula were completed. At the same time, the analysis showed that parts of the Town were moving through the suburban lifecycle, with younger households gradually replacing older, smaller households. These shifts are important to understand, as many council services are age based and therefore are impacted by shifts in the age structure.
.id was engaged by Blacktown City Council to analyse tourism and visitation trends in Blacktown. Yes, you read correctly, tourism in Blacktown!
While Blacktown does not feature in TripAdvisors Best of 2016 list, our analysis revealed that Blacktown is not a traditional holidaying destination but instead plays a different role in the visitor economy.
What did the data show?
Blacktown’s primary tourism function is that of a visitation hub, attracting friends and relatives both domestically and internationally.
Blacktown’s role as a visitation hub: Visiting relatives and friends to Blacktown LGA, 2008 – 2016 (3 year moving average ‘000)
This chart illustrates that Visiting Friends and Relatives is a dominant market for Blacktown which has experienced strong growth over the past five years. The figures published by Tourism Research Australia, show that there was an average of 476,000 visiting friends and relative visitors to Blacktown in the 3 years to 2015/16. This represents 51% of all visitation and an increase of 37% on 2007/08 levels.
What is driving growth?
Rather than go through all the drivers (including exchange rates), I would like to draw your attention to the importance of Blacktown’s demographic past in driving this growth in visitation. I identify three below.
- The Return of NSW – Net Overseas Migration
NSW and Sydney are once again attracting a high share of net overseas migration (NOM). This growth in NOM appears to have supported strong international visitation to NSW (and Blacktown) over the last five years.
Net Overseas Migration, New South Wales
- Population born overseas
Analysis from profile.id shows that Blacktown’s community is characterised by a relatively high share of residents born in Philippines, India, New Zealand and Fiji. Blacktown actually has the largest Filipino community in Australia (see this blog).
Blacktown City – Persons born in NZ, Philippines, India and Fiji are dominant groups
And when you look at the Tourism Research Australia data, there has been strong international visitation from these overseas markets to Blacktown. Blacktown’s demographic profile supports a strong foundation to drive future growth in the visitor economy.
International Visitors: Where they came from by region, 2015/16 (5 year average)
- Migration profile
The TRA research also showed stronger visitation growth from Queensland and Victoria. This can be partly explained by historical out-migration trends in Blacktown. As illustrated in the image below from forecast.id, between 2006 and 2011, a large number of former Blacktown residents moved to Queensland and Victoria. The good news for tourism (and the Blacktown economy) is that they appear to return to visit friends and relatives.
The bigger picture
At the local government level, the visitor economy is significant because it is an export sector. Exports are sales of goods and services to non-resident households, businesses and other organisations, outside the LGA boundaries (e.g. for Blacktown this includes international visitors; inter-state visitors and intra-state visitors such as regional NSW, Penrith, Blue Mountains and Parramatta, etc).
As illustrated in the figure below, export-led growth is important as it brings external earnings into the local area. By doing so, exports increase demand for local services through multiplier effects, creating a virtuous cycle of economic growth. This means the economy can grow without the constraint of population growth.
Our analysis for Blacktown also showed that while the Visiting Friends and Relatives market are not big spenders, the size of the Visiting Friends and Relatives market makes it a major contributor to the economy. Almost 50% of tourism expenditure in Blacktown is due to visiting family and friends.
While Blacktown is the focus of this case study, this story is relevant to many Councils across Australia who have a high share of overseas-born population. The research shows the importance of our diverse communities as an economic asset. This diversity helps our local communities tap into the global economy, creating relationships, providing business opportunities and sharing knowledge.
But the message in our local economy needs to be right. Let’s talk more about the visitor economy rather than tourism which evokes images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Bondi Beach. And if your visitor economy is driven by Visiting Friends and Relatives, then this visitation role should be reflected in the development of economic strategies and marketing efforts.
One strategy could be to empower local residents to become ambassadors for the visitor economy. This could include local databases, marketing material, leader groups, niche events, etc. These strategies could be further informed by better understanding your community. Using .id’s Social Atlas for Blacktown can show you clusters of different ethnicity groups. In the map below we highlight the hot spots for where the Filipino community live. Your next visitor economy ambassador may well live here.
Want to know more about your tourism and visitor economy?
Information about the tourism and hospitality sector, as well as visitation levels is available in economy.id. This information is vital for understanding tourism and visitation trends and developing strategies that make the most out of your visitor economy. .id can work with you to help build a high-quality evidence base to support your strategy. The result? More insight, informed decisions, and a strategy that works.
Tourism represented 13.6% of employment and 11.8% of value added in Coffs Harbour in 2014/15, double the NSW average. In this case study, we profile the local tourism and hospitality sector to identify market importance and key trends impacting Coffs Harbour’s growth.
Coffs Harbour City Council was interested in exploring the importance of tourism and hospitality to the local economy and what trends were evident in the flow and characteristics of the different visitor markets.
The .id solution
.id prepared a detailed report that profiled:
- The value of the tourism to the local economy and changes in its contribution over time
- Trends and characteristics of the domestic daytrip and overnight visitor market
- Trends and characteristics of the international visitor market
- Estimated economic impacts of major tourism events.
Our analysis utilised economic modellling by National Economics (NIEIR) to explore the output, value add and employment generated by the sector. We also drew on detailed Tourism Research Australia data to analyse key questions such as: who is coming to the region? where from?, and what for?
Benchmarking was a crucial component of the report to illustrate how Coffs Harbour has performed in comparison to nearby competitor visitation markets on the north coast and broader state-wide trends.
The tourism profile found that Coffs Harbour has experienced an increase in daytrips over the last decade. Its role as a regional service centre has become more pronounced with an increased share of day trippers coming for shopping, health and business related activities rather than holidaying.
The area experienced a decline in domestic overnight visitation in the latter half of the 2000s, driven mainly be a reduction in trips from Greater Sydney residents. This was influenced by a higher Australian dollar and cheaper international flights that led many Sydney residents to travel abroad rather than within the state. This situation has reversed somewhat in recent years but Coffs Harbour hasn’t rebounded as much as some other locations on the north coast.
One possible reason for this identified by our analysis was that there is a slight mismatch between activities offered by the Coffs Harbour region and what Sydney travelers are becoming more interested in (reflected by growth in specific activities engaged in while on holiday). Our analysis also identified that while the area has an existing abundance of large budget accommodation facilities, most of the existing stock is somewhat dated when compared to other locations on the north coast. Recent accommodation building approvals have been very low.
Through our discussion with the council it became clear that the current joint tourism strategy being pursued between Coffs Harbour and the neighboring Shire of Bellingen could be a strong avenue to help address the activity mismatch. Coffs Harbour has the key transport infrastructure and coastal assets that Bellingen lacks, and Bellingen provides additional opportunities for visitors to pursue arts and cultural event based activities beyond what Coffs Harbour offers. The council could also investigate mechanisms to support the development of new luxury accommodation facilities that make the most of the coastal location, addressing the current market shortfall.
Economics / Housing
A changing age structure can pose important challenges to the housing stock of a local area. This is demonstrated in the Shire of Nillumbik, where a more diverse supply of housing is required to meet the demands of its ageing population.
Nillumbik Shire Council was interested to understand the current and future housing needs of Nillumbik’s ageing population. The aim of this analysis was to inform the Council’s housing policy and provision of aged-care services for an increasingly significant section of the community.
The .id solution
.id’s evaluation consisted of four related components
- demographic and socio-economic analysis of Nillumbik’s older population
- housing stock analysis
- drivers of change
- forecasts of future housing needs (total dwellings, dwellings by number of bedrooms, retirement living units and aged care beds).
The number of persons aged 55 years and over is forecast to increase from 16,732 in 2015 to 21,361 by 2036. By 2036, one in three residents in Nillumbik will be aged 55+, up from one in four in 2015.
As illustrated in the figure below, Nillumbik is on the cusp of a major transition in its housing lifecycle from mature families to empty nesters and retirees. This shift to smaller and older households will have major implications for housing option in Nillumbik over the next twenty years.
While 94% of the growth of households with persons aged 55+ will be empty nesters and lone person households, many of these residents will continue to occupy large separate houses with four or more bedrooms. An important factor is the tendency for Nillumbik residents to age in place, with the majority of those aged 55+ opting to remain in their family homes rather than relocating outside the LGA.
The low level of dwelling diversity in Nillumbik runs counter to the housing preferences of retirees. The 2015 Nillumbik Health and Wellbeing Survey found that 43.5% of 56-75 year-olds would like more housing choices to downsize in the local area. This finding was one of many that highlighted a mismatch between future housing demand and supply.
The challenge for local council is to implement measures to diversify the housing options (existing stock and new development) available to older residents in Nillumbik. This includes increasing the supply of 2-3 bedroom townhouses located in close proximity to services and amenities. The report also identified future demand for retirement villages and aged care facilities based on .id’s 55+ housing forecast model.
The strong pattern of ageing in place in Nillumbik looks unlikely to decrease in the coming decades. Future generations of retirees will be similarly motivated to relocate to smaller houses around existing social networks.
To accommodate this demand, the report recommends a number of strategies. The report recommends: changes to future policy direction; strategic planning activities; promotion of housing needs for older residents; actions to support for ageing in place; and economic development initiatives.
Measures to diversify the local housing stock will help to curb the out-migration of ageing residents. Many persons aged 55+ who do move have tended to seek retirement housing options in neighbouring LGAs, in particular Banyule, Whittlesea and Manningham. In addition to recapturing this migratory group, an increase in the supply of 2-3 bedroom medium density housing options may also attract younger age groups to the Shire. This strategy would help smooth out the housing lifecycle issues of one dominant group.
Alongside the increased delivery of suitable housing, further planning and policy approaches to support Nillumbik’s ageing population include promoting mixed-use developments that strengthen facilities and services relevant to older people. Moreover, urban and housing design policies can play an important role in improving the capacity of residents to age in place, while appropriate transport infrastructure can enhance safety and accessibility.
The relationship between demographic information and employment statistics can be ambiguous and not immediately clear – How does population growth affect employment projections? And how can this information help us plan for the future?
Western Sydney University engaged .id to develop small area population, labour force and employment projections for the Greater Western Sydney region, to understand the impact of different urban forms (i.e. distribution of population and jobs) on the performance of the transport network in 2040+.
The .id solution
To examine population and economic development in Western Sydney, .id developed an analysis of population and dwelling growth rates, spatial employment trends and labour force participation rates.
The analysis was underpinned by .id’s independent state-wide population forecasts, called Small Area Forecast information (SAFi). These forecasts provide extremely granular information to show exactly where growth is occurring, from regional level to suburbs and neighbourhoods and even right down to city blocks.
This locational analysis was combined this an understanding of urban economic issues including agglomeration, spatial inequality pressures, strength in densification and the importance of investment in place and complementary infrastructure on the economic performance of regions.
The resulting job intensity analysis summarised in the chart below reveals what we call the ‘witch’s broom’.
This highlights the job deficit challenge for Western Sydney, showing the difference between the number of local jobs and the number of resident workers.
Three scenarios are presented:
- The bottom branch uses historical employment trends and extrapolates these forward to 2036. If these business-as-usual trends continue, Western Sydney will have a jobs deficit of 306,063.
- The middle branch uses the ratio of 0.84 jobs per resident worker (the ratio estimated at 2014) to estimate the future deficit. Under this scenario, the region’s job deficit surpasses 200,000 by 2036.
- The upper branch is based on the aspirational ratio of 0.94, based on employment forecasts produced by the NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics. This is the only branch where new jobs growth claws back the region’s jobs deficit.
.id’s projections demonstrate that if business-as-usual continues for the next twenty years, Western Sydney will face a jobs deficit of 306,063 and a daily worker outflow of 492,521.
To achieve stronger employment outcomes, major investment is required to ease the pressure on the transport network, and provide opportunities for residents to work closer to home. The analysis clearly demonstrates the need to reverse the gap between jobs and employed residents in Western Sydney which has grown significantly over the last decade. The findings have been presented in the report ‘Addressing Western Sydney’s Job Slide’ authored by Professor Phillip O’Neill, Director of the Centre for Western Sydney, Western Sydney University.
A prominent retirement living provider was looking to invest some hundreds of millions of dollars into retirement villages across Australia. They needed a robust assessment of potential demand so that they could invest with confidence.
Working collaboratively with the client, .id developed reliable and transparent predictions of future retirement living demand, as well as robust models of client catchment and take-up. The visualisation tools built into .id Placemaker also enabled the client to communicate clearly the basis of their investment decisions to relevant stakeholders.
The client was looking to make a major investment (some hundreds of millions of dollars) into retirement villages across Australia. They needed a robust assessment of potential demand, as well as an evidence-base for planning their supply response.
At the time, little modelling had been done of aged care demand, especially spatially, as it is effectively a niche, age-and-background specific segment of the housing market. Yet the business was planning to make serious investment decisions.
The .id solution
Using the location analysis application, .idPlacemaker, coupled with .id’s population forecasts, demographic analysis and data from the client, .id was able to construct a detailed picture of both current and future demand, keying off not just population by age, but detailed target market criteria, as well as demographic indicators for propensity to choose a retirement village, current penetration rates, ability to pay and site desirability.
.id was able to model catchment areas for retirement living villages, enabling the client to test existing rules of thumb – that people wouldn’t travel more than 15km to a retirement village, or that people were prepared to relocate further when moving to coastal villages, for example.
.id also helped the client identify areas where the current take-up of retirement living was low, potentially pointing to a lack of supply in the area. This also helped rule out areas with high demand but which were already well serviced by existing supply.
Through .idPlacemaker, the client was able to layer existing supply onto detailed maps of potential target markets, enabling them to make evidence-based investment – now and in the future.
The client said,
“They are passionate people focused on one specialist area – demographics. The result was a highly focused piece of work which provided us with the evidence-base to make rational, confident and consistent investment decisions.”
This utility is the principal supplier of water, wastewater and drainage services to hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and farms. They use .id’s Small Area Forecast information (SAFi) and Residential development forecasts of population and dwelling growth to help determine the timing, size and location of future infrastructure investments. They need reliable, complete and easy-to-use forecasts that support their analysis, and allows them to understand the dynamics of growth.
The utility engaged .id to provide consistent long-run population, and residential development forecasts, specifically tailored to the small areas within the utility’s service region. A single-source data strategy, together with the functionality of the .id Placemaker spatial application, greatly increased the usability of their population and dwelling forecasts.
The business challenge
The utility manages billions of dollars of assets that deliver water services across an expanse of millions of square kilometres. Planning across such a large network, accurately forecasting future system demand, and the optimal timing, size and location of future network infrastructure investment becomes a major challenge. Precise and timely predictions of both population and dwelling growth are essential.
In that context, the utility was concerned that a ‘patchwork’ approach to data was holding them back. Their models relied on a variety of (often conflicting) data sources, none of which were up to the task of helping them accurately predict demand at the geographic level they required. With information from state and local government sources, as well as anecdotal information from developers and the community, painting a consistent picture of the future was a substantial challenge.
A patchwork of methodological methods also ends up hiding a variety of assumptions beneath the output data. When making investment decisions in an area, they were unsure what developments had been assumed to come online and when. This decreases the usefulness of the ultimate forecasts and impeded the utility’s ability to stress test their demand models themselves.
The .id solution
To help solve this problem, the utility has used .id SAFi population forecasts.
Leveraging the SAFi (Small Area Forecast information) dataset, .id were able to construct independent and consistent forecasts for dwelling and population growth, specifically matched to the utility’s service area and the individual water and wastewater catchments.
The utility later took advantage of .id’s residential development forecasts , which captures all major development sites (10 dwellings or more) in an accessible GIS layer. This provided the utility with the precise timing, sequencing, and ultimate capacity of each development site within their service area. With clear data about the ultimate capacity of a given site, the utility could make an informed decision about the size and type of infrastructure required to meet the needs of a future community. This has helped avoid costly future upgrades to infrastructure and allowed the utility to invest with confidence.
Access to this information also saved the planning team time. Rather than pulling data together from multiple sources, they have one single point of truth for people across the business to refer back to and ground truth the information they were receiving from local developers. When researching a single site or estate it’s easy to miss the big picture. As demographic forecasters, .id assess the timing of future development based on both supply and demand for housing across a region. This results in more realistic forecasts of the timing of residential development in a given area (i.e. if overall demand is lower than the supply in the development pipeline, not all developments may come online at the pace at which developers may have planned).
The utility also regularly draws on .id’s expert opinion as a sounding board and to help understand the implications of changing demographics within their service area. E.g. the impact of in-fill development and how the Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) would develop. This gives the planners and analysts confidence in the decisions they are making using the .id datasets.
With .id SAFi, Residential Development Forecasts and the .id Placemaker application, the utility was able to construct an entirely new corporate resource – a set of high-quality, independent forecasts for both population and dwelling growth, specifically tailored to their market.
These forecasts offered unprecedented definition, detailing over 3,000 small areas within the broader service region, and allowed the utility to push their forecast horizon out to 2041.
What’s more, with a single consistent source behind the data, and the functionality of the .id Placemaker application, the utility’s analysts were able to ‘get under the hood’ and understand for themselves where the top-line forecasts were coming from.
Using .id data, already well respected in the public service, further cemented the credibility of their analysis. This meant less time defending the data and more time using it to make good quality evidence-based decisions.
In the last five years, Richmond has been the most successful club in the AFL at building membership. Unfortunately for Richmond this hasn’t been driven by on-field finals success. So what is their secret?
The Business Challenge
Football in Australia is not a typical sports market. It’s not like in the USA where each elite team “owns” the fan base for a whole state. In Victoria there are ten clubs in one state all competing for fans.
This is a strategic challenge for the AFL. How do they grow the total membership pie, rather than taking fans from each other?
It’s a strategic challenge for each club. They have to decide where to build their fan base in this highly competitive landscape. Do they focus on areas where support for the AFL and their club is strong? Or do they look for areas where AFL is not strongly supported, and build a new fan base – a longer term strategy?
The location of a club’s training ground is an important part of this strategy as it provides an opportunity to engage with people in a new location. In 2008 Richmond began out-of-season training at Craigieburn in Melbourne’s northern growth corridor, where they hoped to tap into the rapidly growing population of young families and a brand new facility provided by the council and property developers. At first glance this seems like a good decision, but several years on and this decision was not bearing fruit. Membership growth was very slow, and it was disheartening and expensive to take a full, elite football department out to training for only 300 people to turn up to watch.
The .id Solution
The club engaged .id to see if underlying demographic patterns could explain the poor result and point the club to a better location.
We were immediately struck by the Craigieburn decision. Why would Richmond, a club with a long history in the inner southeast, go north? To a demographer it was clear why Richmond were struggling to gain traction there. But unless you had demographic expertise, it would be an easy mistake to make.
Football is generational. You tend to support the team your parent’s supported. To build membership, low hanging fruit are the children of past and current members. So the question is, where are they?
We started by mapping the location of current and past Richmond members. It showed a clear spatial pattern with membership strongest in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs, fanning out from the club’s heartland in Richmond (the red areas on the map below).
Then the demography comes in. We know that when the children of current Richmond supporters grow up and leave home, we can predict with some confidence where they will move to. In Melbourne there is a clear northwest and southeast divide. People that grew up in the southeast have a strong tendency to move further southeast to a suburb they can afford when they buy their family home. Demographers call this outward sectoral migration.
You can clearly see people who live in Richmond strongholds fanning out across the east and southeastern suburbs (the yellow arrows on the map below).
Craigieburn is in Melbourne’s north, and people moving there are less likely to have a strong connection with a club based in the southeast. It would be a long, slow burn to build membership there.
We recommendeded the club move their training ground to Cardinia, in Melbourne’s southeastern growth corridor. It has a strong connection to Richmond’s heartland, strong migration from the southeast, rapid population growth, young families with kids the right age to make their allegiance to a football team, low numbers of overseas born (who take longer to bring into the football fold) and sufficient income to pay for membership.
The evidence was clear and compelling. The biggest future opportunity to attract fans and revenue were in and around Cardinia.
This strong narrative, supported by demographic evidence, enabled Richmond’s management team to quickly get the Richmond Board, AFL and Cardinia Shire council behind the decision and the Club announced the move to Cardinia in 2012. The hardest thing was convincing the players to make a 50km journey on a bus to go to training!
The club has broken membership records every year for the last five years (2010-2015) growing 9% per annum.
In Cardinia membership has grown 26% per annum since 2012.
As a result, membership doubled from 36,000 in 2010 to 72,000 in 2015.
Richmond is now the third largest club behind Collingwood and Hawthorn, despite not having finals success (fingers crossed for the 2016 season…).
First year member retention is the highest in the league and overall retention ranks consistently in the top three.
The community is right behind them. And the players are happy. When the team goes out to Cardinia for training, 4000 people show up to watch. Which makes the 50km bus trip all worthwhile.
By understanding local demographic patterns, as they relate to their business, Richmond ensured that their effort was being channeled into the right place.
Organisations are often looking for technology or innovation to deliver the big win. Richmond got a 100% upswing from understanding patterns of population change.
You can find a detailed set of slides about this case study here.
You might like to watch a 2 minute video about how demographics can help your business.
The challenge facing Claire Lindsay-Johns was immense: enrol people on low incomes, from locations all over Australia, in a program to help them develop healthy savings habits.
With limited resources and a modest promotional budget, she knew her team would need to be very targeted in their approach.
Today, the Saver Plus program is a celebrated success. Running in 60 communities across Australia, it has helped nearly 15,000 people put away over $13.5 million in personal savings through a program of financial education, where savings over $500 were matched dollar-for-dollar by the ANZ bank.
We worked with the Saver Plus team to help them choose these 60 communities and target their promotional activities, by identifying the locations with the highest concentrations of people who met their enrollment criteria.
Demographic maps and location data was shared with the entire Saver Plus team in a customised version our demographic mapping tool.
We’ve since been approached by a number of other Community Services and Not-for-profit groups with similar problems, which led us to develop a simple version of this tool called Census Explorer, which helps these organisations target services by mapping standard demographic data from the Census, showing clusters of people based on characteristics such as income, ethnicity, education and more.
“The move to .id Placemaker has been very positive. The visual way that the information is presented enables users to easily pinpoint locations with the greatest need for Saver Plus services,” Claire said.
Developed in 2003 by ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Saver Plus is the longest running and largest matched-savings and financial education program in the world. Delivered by community organisations in 60 communities across Australia, the program is designed to help people on low incomes build their financial skills, knowledge and confidence.
The 10-month program requires participants to identify and save towards an eligible education-related savings goal and participate in at least 10 hours of the MoneyMinded financial education program offered as part of Saver Plus. Participants are supported by a Saver Plus Coordinator. At the successful completion of the program, ANZ provides the participant with $1 for every $1 saved (up to $500) for the nominated educational expense for the participant or their children.
The Business Challenge
Saver Plus is the product of a successful long-term partnership between the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ. Together they designed and implemented the program and continue to co-manage its operations through the Saver Plus National Office, housed within the Brotherhood of St Laurence. National Manager, Claire Lindsay-Johns explained that, like many not-for-profit programs, Saver Plus is operating in an environment where costs are increasing and access to funding is competitive. Consequently, in order to be more effective and efficient, strategic promotion of the program is a key focus.
When Saver Plus first approached .id, they wanted to know which communities they should target – i.e. which locations has the highest proportions of people who met the program eligibility criteria. Later, they also wanted to understand if their promotional activities were effective.
The .id Solution
.id has had a long relationship with Saver Plus, providing analytics to inform the selection of the 60 Saver Plus communities (‘sites’) and then creating a visual representation of each site in 2009, 2011 and 2013. This included developing maps that showed which areas within a site had the highest proportion of potential participants as well as plotting the locations of past participants – essentially, a guide for where to focus their promotions.
Claire says the maps were used extensively. They were printed, hung on office walls and annotated to include current information like the locations of ANZ branches and schools involved in the Saver Plus program.
“The maps were incredibly helpful, however, we were keen to have them updated to ensure our activities kept up with changing trends and eligible populations,” said Claire.
Rather than update the static maps .id built a customised .id Placemaker application for Saver Plus to deliver a more responsive mapping system that brought all of the information into a dynamic environment that could be explored and analysed. The information included program office locations, catchments, participants, penetration rates, target market locations, ANZ branches and schools.
.id Placemaker was rolled out to program staff in 2015, and included tailored training from .id to kick-start takeup and maximise efficiency gains as quickly as possible.
The managers have used this as an opportunity to sit down with their team and review promotion plans and activities. Using the information presented in .id Placemaker as an evidence base, each site coordinator is developing a targeted promotion plan.
“At an operational level, .id Placemaker has been a really good tool to guide discussions between management and site coordinators. It has also reduced the time that it takes for my national office team to respond to requests for data and analysis. The .id Placemaker application puts the information directly into the hands of those who need it to increase efficiency and add value to our planning.” Claire said.
If you found this article interesting, you may also like to read about our work with another Not-for-Profit, the Cancer Council. Here we helped build an evidence base to focus training and marketing efforts as well as inform site selection and network planning decisions.
The Australian Football League (AFL) consists of 18 teams spread over five states of Australia. The League needs to pursue a coordinated approach to fan engagement so that the marketing activities of individual clubs expands the total AFL membership base, rather than each club competing for a larger slice of the existing pie. This is especially important in Melbourne where there are 10 teams competing for members.
To develop efficient and coordinated strategies, the AFL required a well-designed evidence-base that showed relevant demographic patterns and trends across metropolitan Melbourne and how they are changing. When combined with AFL membership data, and presented spatially, .id Placemaker provides the AFL and each club with strategic insights into the distribution of current members and where else they might effectively attract new members – now and in the future
In particular .id’s knowledge about historical and future migration flows across Melbourne provided the AFL with a framework for locating club-based activities. For example, Richmond Football Club had its second training ground based in Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north, but were struggling to gain traction with the community there. To a demographer, it is clear why they would find this difficult ground to sow. Richmond’s natural supporter base is close to its home ground in Melbourne’s inner southeast. As the children of these supporters grow up, leave home and create families of their own, they are more likely to migrate to areas further out in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne than make a move to the north. The demographic evidence showed that Richmond would find it far easier to establish a second presence in the southeast than the north. This insight has lead them to develop a strong relationship with Cardinia Shire Council and they are now reaping the rewards. Their membership numbers in the southeast have grown three times as fast as overall AFL membership in the last three years.
Demographics / Forecasting
Quantified the number of people in Melbourne’s City of Wyndham who will require aged and disability care services in the future, so the council can plan their service response and provide information to external providers about the likely demand for these services.
One of the most common questions we are asked is “Do you have any information on the number of people with a disability?” There is some information in the Census, but it’s fairly basic, just a Yes/No response designed to measure severe or profound disability.
The City of Wyndham approached .id to do some modelling, to estimate the likely current demand for aged and disability services in their municipality, and importantly the likely future need. What the council really wanted to know is, “What will our future rate of need for assistance be?”
.id developed a model for more accurately quantifying this important population. Using three data sources – The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Census, and .id’s suburb-level population, .id was able to model the demand for disability services from now until 2034 for the City of Wyndham.
Due to the substantial population growth expected in Wyndham, and the considerable ageing that goes with it, most forms of disability are expected to more than double in 20 years, with the largest increase being among those needing help with their Household Chores or Property Maintenance.
|City of Wyndham||
|Modelled propensity for need for assistance by forecast year||
|Self Care or Health Care||
|Oral Communication or Cognitive tasks||
|Household Chores or Property Maintenance||
|Reading or writing||
|Total need for assistance (includes multiples)||
|No need for assistance||
|Total forecast population||
The modelling shows that over 17,000 people currently need assistance. This is much higher than the Census count, partly due to a difference in scope (the survey includes all need for assistance, while the Census is designed to measure those with a severe or profound disability), and partly due to a net under count from the Census question.
This growth is not evenly spread through the City of Wyndham. Areas which developed through the 1970s and 1980s are currently ageing rapidly and have the largest proportion of need for assistance now. But current growth areas which are just finishing up, like Point Cook, currently full of families, will have the largest increase in those aged 65+ over the next 20 years, and as a result, the largest increase in people with a need for assistance.
This analysis can be done for any area in Australia, and can logically be extended to any survey data where detailed demographic data is included. This could include rates of dementia or other specific diseases, participation in sport and leisure activities, or even crime victimisation rates.
Urbis is a professional services firm that invests in .id’s small area forecasts (SAFi) because population trends are a key input in many of their projects. The firm advises on the use, development, investment and governance of property, cities and communities. In Australia, they have offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and work in a range of areas, from major CBDs to small rural towns.
The SAFi forecast data is mostly used by their Economics and Market Research (EMR) team, which includes property and retail economists and consumer researchers.
Their work requires an understanding of local demand drivers, including when particular population levels are likely to be reached in the future. Urbis sees a number of benefits to incorporating .id’s knowledge and expertise in this regard:
- Their key clients include major shopping centre owners, managers and retailers across the country. The SAFi data covers many of these markets and provides a clear and consistent evidence base when we provide advice on multiple client assets.
- They also provide advice to residential developers, investors and funders; small area information and intelligence is important to understanding the local markets for individual projects.
- The forecasts are based on an extensive range of small area data that is generally not available elsewhere.
- Many of Urbis’s clients are familiar with .id and their reputation as population and demography experts.
- The forecasts are independent, which is consistent with their own philosophy for professional advice and services.
Western Sydney is growing rapidly and the urban landscape is evolving quickly. In this context, the Campbelltown Anglican Schools Council (CASC) found producing reasonable forecasts of student demand to be a challenge – a task further complicated by the emergence of competitor schools.
At .id we were able to ‘firm up’ the schools’ projections of student demand. We mapped out the existing catchment area to see exactly where students were coming from. We were then able to combine forecasts of future growth with estimates of market share within the identified catchment, giving the CASC the tools it needed to develop targeted marketing strategies and a blueprint for future growth.
The Campbelltown Anglican Schools Council (CASC) is the governing body for two independent schools – St Peter’s Anglican Primary School (St Peter’s) and Broughton Anglican College (Broughton). Both schools are located in Campbelltown and service the Macarthur region.
St Peter’s has over 550 students from pre-kindergarten to year 6. Broughton offers education from pre-kindergarten to year 12 for around 950 students.
The schools are located in an area of rapidly developing residential estates and have experienced increasing enrolments. With this has also come increased competition via the development of new schools. The CASC came to .id with both strategic and operational questions.
The .id solution
At .id’s consulting team were able to help the CASC identify the gaps in their knowledge, and start building a solid evidence base to work from. This work involved three stages:
1. Mapping the location of current students to determine the existing catchment areas.
2. Identifying the target market and assessing current market share each school was achieving.
3. Investigating key growth areas for school aged children across the region in the short-to-medium term.
Outcomes – data driven success
Based on the results of the .id modelling, the CASC has already refocused their marketing resources around the key growth segments. The information has also augmented the schools’ annual strategic planning processes, and provided the CASC with the confidence they needed to proceed with strategic initiatives
The community around Willoughby Public School in Sydney were concerned that the NSW Department of Education were underestimating population pressures the school faced. They sought out .id for an independent assessment and help in understanding the forecasting process. Ultimately, .id found that the Department of Education’s projections were reasonable, allowing the community and department to work together to tackle over-crowding concerns in the present day, including the potential requirement for an additional school in the local area.
Willoughby Public School Parents and Citizens Association (WPSPCA) recently contacted .id regarding mounting concerns of the growth pressure being felt at Willoughby Primary School. WPS believe that the school is overcrowded (with over 1,000 students) and this is only set to worsen based on anecdotal evidence in the community regarding population growth.
In particular, WPS had questions regarding the validity of the Department of Education NSW projected student numbers within their catchment and were seeking an independent assessment as to the validity of the forecasts.
WPSPCA had been accessing forecast.id population forecasts for Willoughby Council. However, the geographic granularity and detail of the data was not enough to meet their needs. They also required some assistance in interpreting the numbers.
The .id solution
.id’s consulting team agreed to take on this work pro-bono and provide an independent view as whether we felt the Department of Education’s projections for growth in student numbers at WPS were realistic based on our forecast population growth in the area.
To do this, .id accessed its small area forecasts (SAFi) which are micro geography based forecasts designed to be built up into specific catchment areas, including school catchments. SAFi forecasts are also produced by single year of age which allows organisations to plan for specific age based services.
Using SAFi and .id’s spatial analysis application (Placemaker), .id were able to work with WPSPCA to define the schools catchment area and provide an assessment of the total demand for primary school education (i.e. 5-11 year olds) within the catchment going forward.
What .id found was that the number of primary school age children (persons aged 5-11 years) is forecast to increase modestly over time. In 2011, there were estimated to be 1,887 5-11 year olds in the catchment. By 2021 this figure is estimated to be 2,133 (representing an average annual growth of 25 children or 1.2% pa). According to .id’s SAFi forecasts this rate of growth is forecast to slow further over the medium to longer term with an additional 15 primary school age children forecast to be added into the catchment annually in the five years to 2026 and a further 3 per annum in the five years from 2026 to 2031 (this represents an average annual growth rate of 0.7% and 0.1% respectively).
.id’s assessment of these figures was that the school age population within the catchment is ageing and the growth pressure that has been felt on the school will slow as the primary school age population ages and moves into secondary school. That being said, there is still forecast to be a critical mass of primary school age children, yet the levels of growth are forecast to subdue.
Of course, in this case, .id’s analysis only considered total demand. When planning for schools and school enrolments however, the Department of Education need to take into account a number of other factors and make assumptions, such as:
- Yield rates – the proportion of 5 year olds who attend school (versus pre-school).
- Market share – the proportion of total students who attend a public/private/Catholic school and how this share is forecast to change over time.
- Competitor landscape – the relative attractiveness of one school over another may mean in some cases students will travel further than their closest school to attend a school deemed to have a better reputation. In the case of WPS however, enrolments are restricted to those students who live within the designated catchment area.
Although in this case, .id only provided an assessment of total demand within the catchment, .id’s rate of growth forecast among the primary school age population was found to be lower than that forecast by the Department of Education. Based on this simplistic assessment .id concluded that the enrolment forecasts for WPS appeared reasonable and adequate.
This assessment provided WPS with the evidence base required to feel comfort in the enrolment numbers forecast by the Department of Education. The question for WPS and the wider community now becomes one of whether the school itself is suffering from overcrowding (i.e. too many students) and if there may be a requirement for an additional school site in the local area in order to reduce class sizes.
Coburg in Melbourne’s north, lost its high school in the Kennett era, when the population was aging and the number of school aged children was in decline. Since then, things have changed dramatically, and the suburb has regenerated with new families. The community group High School for Coburg (HSC), with full support from the Moreland City Council, had been actively pushing for a junior high school in this rapidly growing area since 2008.
Using .id’s small area forecasts to project school age populations forward over the coming 20 years, HSC was able to show very strong growth in school-aged persons. In fact, the data showed that the suburb of Coburg would have the fastest growing high school-aged population in the City of Moreland, although it had no junior high to service this population.
In HSC’s report More Local Primary School – Fewer Secondary Options, it revealed that birthrates had been steadily going up in the last decade with very big increases in primary school enrolments within the suburb of Coburg. For example, there was a 50% increase in Prep enrolments in the four years leading up to 2012.
HSC argued that the one fundamental missing institution within Coburg was a high school which is essential for the economic viability of urban renewal in this designated activity area.
Of all morning peak hour car trips, 17% were parents taking children to school, contributing to road-congestion and heavy traffic. HSC recognised that a local high school would reduce this traffic and increase active transport options for children. More importantly, it would cater to the demand of the growing population.
However, they were having trouble convincing the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development of the need for a school.
The HSC approached .id to better understand the demand for a high school within the area to build a formal case for the new school.
The .id solution
.id provided HSC with small area forecasts to project school age populations over the coming 20 years. These suburb-by-suburb forecasts showed that there would be very strong growth in school-aged persons in the coming years.
In fact, the data showed that the suburb of Coburg would have the fastest growing high school-aged population in the City of Moreland.
With .id forecasts and data, the HSC was able to present a formal case to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The Coburg community secured $3.5m funding from the Victorian government for a junior high school. Coburg Junior opened for year 7 students in 2015 and will grow to accept year 8 enrolments in 2016 and year 9 in 2017.
A national Australian charity was looking for ways to increase donation rates. In particular, they wanted to know where their donation centres should be located, now and in the future. Here’s how we built a powerful spatial evidence base to support their network planning.
Working with .id, the charity was able to determine the catchment area for permanent, mobile and new donation centres, quantify the potential donation population in each catchment and compare that to the centre’s performance. With access to .id’s population forecasts, they could also identify strategically important new sites and time their introduction.
Using the visualisation tools built into .id’s geo-spatial application .idPlacemaker they were able to overlay demographic and population data onto maps showing the catchment areas of individual donation centres. An ability to account for demographic differences showed that proximity to donation centres mattered less than expected in determining donation rates, which in turn suggested that education-based strategies may be more effective than access-based strategies in some areas.
Their network planning is now supported by a strong evidence base and narrative that everyone can understand which makes it easier to gain support for change.
The charity operates from over 80 permanent sites, as well as from 35 mobile units, which visit over 1,000 locations around the country. The charity required a well-designed evidence-base that could support network planning decisions about when and where to locate both permanent and mobile collection sites and target marketing activities.
However, ‘performance’ was not as easy to measure as hoped. The charity’s initial assumption was that penetration rates within catchments would give a clear signal as to which sites were under or over-performing. However, it was shown that catchments built on geographical proximity were too simplistic to capture actual donor behaviour, and there was significant competition between sites, especially between permanent and mobile sites.
The charity knew where their existing donor base was, but they didn’t know where potential donors were being missed and where they were leaving good will untapped within the community. Hence the need for a strategic review of their network planning.
They also wanted to know more about what was driving donation results. Was it access to a donation centre? Or was it the quality of information and level of service provided by different centres? Was it demographic drivers? They needed to understand the complexity of what motivates someone to donate and then find a way to measure that and turn it into meaningful numbers at the local geography.
The biggest challenge was forecasting demand (quantifying the size of the potential market in any geographic location). What constituted the available population? Was it the people who lived in the area or worked in the area or a combination of both? How do you quantify the size of a catchment for a donor centre given that people may live locally, or work locally but live far from their place of donation?
To make things more difficult, there was incomplete data internally for answering these questions as the charity only collected their donors’ residential address but not their work address.
The charity had used mapping software in the past, but did not have enough in-house skill with either GIS or Census data. They decided it would be more effective to engage external people with the expertise in applying spatial data to business problems.
The .id solution
Once .id’s consultants were engaged, we refocused the question of performance along geo-spatial and demographic lines. That is, “What are the characteristics of communities with a high or low donation rate?” “Where can we find other communities with these characteristics that we are not currently investing in?” Are there areas where we are currently investing that do not have good potential based on their underlying demographic characteristics?”
Ultimately, we brought it back to the charity’s objective – how to increase donations.
First we geo-coded donor information and calculated penetration rates within the population. We could then present heat maps showing where donations were higher and lower, and overlay this with demographic characteristics to make statements about the characteristics of communities with higher than average donation rates within the population.
Next we used our expertise in querying Census data to come up with an appropriate measure of the available population that took into account people living, working and/or studying in each geographic location during daytime hours when the donation centres are operating.
The last step was to overlay the collection site locations to see what the relationship was between site locations, penetration rates and available population.
We then used our expertise with analysing and presenting journey to work data, overlayed with data identifying the residential address of donors to map catchment geographies for each collection site that took into account both people’s living and working locations. Knowing how to use Census data this way, enabled us to resolve the problem that only the residential address of donors had been collected.
We presented the information in .idPlacemaker as a series of interactive heat maps, overlayed with site, donor and catchment data that enabled us to visualise and explore where demand was in relation to collection centres.
The results were surprising. Firstly, we discovered that access to a donation centre may not be the best indicator of donation behaviour. For example, Perth and Brisbane had similar donor penetration rates, but Brisbane has six times the number of donation points. In fact the underlying demographics of the community were shown to be a better indicator of donation behaviour than the location of collection sites.
It became clear that the leading indicator of a community’s propensity to donate was the proportion of people of non-English speaking backgrounds there were in that community. Once this was accounted for, donation rates across different cities were almost identical, regardless of the level of access. This indicated that increasing donation rates may require an education-based approach rather than an access-based approach.
The charity also identified that there was a significant overlap between mobile and static sites, and that they could redeploy their mobile collection sites more effectively based on the demand and catchment models developed.
Finally, based on .id’s population forecasts, the charity was also able to identify several additional areas of high population growth where they needed to establish a presence.
Learn more about how .id puts a consulting project together that combines our knowledge of place with spatial technology to answer your location questions.
Relay for Life is one of the Cancer Council’s flagship fundraising campaigns. We worked with them to develop a rigorous strategy for increasing both participation and funds raised.
With over 200 individual events around the country, they were also looking for a method to identify promising areas and communities in which to focus the development of new events.
Deploying an .id Placemaker application specifically tailored to Cancer Council’s needs, .id were able to help Relay for Life construct a methodology for comparing the success of individual events, and identifying communities with favourable demographic characteristics. The ability to compare ‘like with like’ also helped focus training and development efforts across events.
Relay For Life began in Australia in 1999, when the Victorian community of Murrumbeena raised over $75,000 for the Cancer Council. Relay For Life is now run in every state and territory and raises over $24 million each year for cancer research.
Although Relay For Life runs in some 6000 communities across 24 countries around the world, it remains a not-for-profit event and is primarily operated by volunteers.
Taking charge of the newly formed Relay for Life Business Unit, Mr Rick Willis became responsible for overseeing fundraising growth in Australia, with an aim of increasing donations to $36 million in the next 3-5 years, as well as raising participation from 140,000 to 240,000 people.
However, prior to the creation of the national business unit, each state had managed and recorded the performance of its events differently, and there was no consistent evidence base upon which to make investment and resource allocation decisions.
Mr Willis needed a consistent way of benchmarking the performance of individual events across the country. He also needed a mechanism for identifying under-performing events and untapped geographic areas of potential and promise for new Relay for Life events.
The .id solution
.id’s spatial consultants ran a workshop with Mr Willis and his team to agree on benchmark KPIs and to carefully select which spatial and demographic data would be loaded into the .idPlacemaker application.
Mr Willis reports that ‘the consultation process with .id was priceless,’ and enabled the Relay for Life team to understand and engage with the results of the modelling effectively, and ultimately, to invest with confidence.
Custom-built around Relay for Life’s needs, the .id Placemaker application initially mapped the performance data for each of the 200+ events around the country. This was then overlayed with heat maps showing the socio-demographic data of the underlying population.
This process has helped Cancer Council understand the profile of the communities they operate in, and given them the ability to model event performance against underlying demographic characteristics. They now have the ability to categorise existing and potential event communities, work out what they can learn from events that perform well, and understand the potential of those events that are underperforming.
As Mr Willis says:
“We’ve never had ability to compare like with like. Now we can do that and expand.”
Mr Willis also reports that the custom-built reports have been “pivotal” in understanding event performance. For example, they have given staff the tools they need to have objective goal-setting conversations with their volunteer committees.
The insights gained from the .idPlacemaker project have also led to an evidence-based strategy for allocating training resources to thousands of volunteers, as well as a way in which to measure the success of these efforts.
.idPlacemaker has now become an essential component of Relay for Life’s vision for growth. In Mr Willis’ words,
“.idPlacemaker enables you to make intelligent, evidence-based decisions to help grow your business.”
The Beverley Community Resource Centre will provide a revitalised, stable and integral hub for the Beverley Community.
.id provided Beverley Shire with a firm evidence base and economic modelling tools to make confident decisions about infrastructure investments in projects like the Multipurpose Community Centre.
What are the economic impacts that could be generated by a $4 million Multipurpose Community Centre? What are the construction and ongoing impacts of the proposed project?
The .id solution
.id used the tools available in economy.id to add value to Beverley Council’s funding application to the National Stronger Region Fund.
We used the Economic Impact Model to estimate construction expenditure impacts and the flow on impacts from the new jobs that would be supported at the facility. The economy.id Event Impact Calculator was used to estimate the potential impacts from additional tourism visitation as a result of attracting new events to the facility.
The models are tailored to the Beverley Region’s economy based on an input-output model which is derived from the local economy micro-simulation model by National Economics (NIEIR).
The vision for Melbourne is to be a global city of opportunity and choice. It is important to maintain Melbourne’s competitiveness by creating a city structure that creates more jobs, drives productivity and supports investment.
Does Greater Melbourne need an alternative employment projection scenario? What are the risks of only one employment projection scenario for Melbourne? What are the ‘known unknowns’? How can we proactively reduce risk by looking at alternatives? How can we use policy intent to create an alternative employment projection scenario?
The .id solution
.id’s alternative employment projection scenario analysed the implications of existing employment projections for Greater Melbourne, including inequality and productivity. We then assessed the potential risks of diminishing returns to agglomeration to Melbourne’s Central Region by presenting information about:
- a more competitive Sydney economy
- competition from residential development
- land supply constraints.
To highlight the possibilities of an alternative future, .id presented a case study analysis of successful suburban employment precincts.
Outcomes – data driven success
id’s alternative employment projection scenario sets out an approach for strategic planners to test their employment projections for economic uncertainty.
.id also provided a matrix to highlight the outcome and risks of different scenarios so that strategic planners can explore how actions by government can influence future growth, reduce risk and open up possibilities.
Strategic planners can then respond to different economic conditions with a transport plan and an economic development strategy that has been rigorously tested.
.id’s assessment highlights that projects like a sports hub or community facilities can generate important social and community benefits in addition to the economic impacts. Importantly, it demonstrates that the social benefits can be quantified.
.id’s economic appraisal of the Narellan Sports Hub found that the new facilities were needed to cater for the growth and that Narellan was an ideal location as it was centrally located in Camden local government area
The sports hub includes a 44-court netball complex, athletics facilities, sports grounds capable of being used by a variety of sporting codes and about 1000 car spaces. It will be located next to the existing sporting facilities at Narellan Park.
What are the economic benefits and economic impacts that could be generated by a $15 million upgrade to the Narellan Sports Hub? How does this project contribute to economic growth in the region? How does the project support disadvantage in the region?
The .id solution
.id’s undertook economic and socio-demographic analysis to demonstrate the need for the project. Profile.id was used to apply a model of sport and physical recreation participation rates by age and by sex for NSW (sourced from the ABS) to the Camden LGA population.
.id also developed a methodology to evaluate the economic and wider benefits of the proposed expansion to the Narellan Sports Hub, including:
- Visitation Analysis
- Benefit Cost Assessment
- Economic Impact Assessment
- Social Impact/Disadvantage Assessment.
The benefit cost framework is consistent with Treasury guidelines for the evaluation of capital projects. The benefit cost assessment estimated benefits and costs over a 20-year period and included Sensitivity Analysis to test the robustness of the framework
The key benefits quantified included:
- Increased Revenue from Non-Local Visitation
- User and Community Benefits
- Productivity Benefits from reduced absenteeism
- Avoided Health Costs
Outcomes – data driven success
The Narellan Sports Hub is expected to be a major economic and social driver for the local economy to:
- generate economic output
- diversify the economic base
- attract new major events and tourists
- respond to disadvantage in job access
- encourage sports participation
- enhance healthy lifestyles
.id’s economic appraisal of upgrades to the Bathurst Regional Airport helped Bathurst Regional Council to secure $2.5m in funding from the National Stronger Region Fund.
The airport contributes to long-term economic development, attracts new businesses and allows for continued growth of the region’s visitor economy. The national funding will be matched dollar for dollar by Bathurst Regional Council.
What are the economic benefits and economic impacts that could be generated by a $5 million upgrade to the Bathurst Regional Airport? How does this project contribute to economic growth in the region? How does the project support disadvantage in the region?
The .id solution
.id developed a methodology to evaluate the economic and wider benefits of the proposed upgrades to the Bathurst Regional Airport.
To capture the full benefits of the project .id undertook:
- Benefit Cost Assessment
- Economic Impact Assessment
- Social Impact and Disadvantage Assessment
- Economic Analysis to highlight the need for the project
The framework that .id developed to quantify the benefits and costs of the upgrades is consistent with Treasury guidelines for the evaluation of capital projects. The benefit cost assessment estimated benefits and costs over a 20-year period and included Sensitivity Analysis to test the robustness of the framework.
The key benefits quantified included:
- Net Present Value
- Benefit Cost Ratio
- Lease Revenue
- Aircraft Movement Revenue
- Cost Savings
- Induced Revenue Opportunities
- Residual Value
Outcomes – data driven success
The economic appraisal found that the proposed upgrades would make a valuable contribution to the Bathurst regional economy. The upgrades allow the airport to continue to grow, meet legislative requirements and deliver community benefits such as:
- generate economic output
- diversify the economic base
- attract new private investment
- increase council revenue
- create new jobs
- create cost savings for airport users (e.g. Rex Airlines and Australian Air Force Cadets)
- support tourism visitation due to increased efficiency at the airport
.id’s economic analysis of Parramatta’s key workers highlights the relationship between housing affordability and economic growth.
The productivity of a place is adversely affected when housing is no longer affordable for the key workers* that enable the local economy to function.
How important are key workers to the local economy? How many key workers currently work in Parramatta and how much are they forecast to grow? What is the demographic profile of key workers? Are key workers facing housing affordability pressure?
The .id solution
.id developed a methodology to assess key worker issues and future demand in the Parramatta City. The report analyses the importance of key workers to the economy and identifies key drivers of future growth. Key Worker Profiles are also provided alongside a Rental Affordability Analysis to help understand the nature of this growth, particularly in terms of housing needs. We prepared Employment Forecast Scenarios to estimate key worker employment growth over the next 20 years.
Outcomes – data driven success
.id found that key workers play a valuable economic and social role in the Parramatta economy. In 2014 there were an estimated 17,360 key workers in the City of Parramatta. This represents 14.6% of all workers and 97 key workers for every 1,000 people in Parramatta. As a group, there are as many key workers as there are people employed in the Public Administration and Safety Industry which is Parramatta’s second largest industry. The economic role of key workers is set to become even more important over the next 15 years. This will be due to strong forecast population growth, a younger demographic, and robust employment growth driven by service sector industries.
This report provides important context for the development of future housing and economic development strategies in the City of Parramatta. These observations point to the conclusion that sustainable economic growth needs to be underpinned by an urban renewal plan to grow housing stock.
* we defined key workers as school teachers; midwifery and nursing professionals; defence force members, fire fighters and police; health and welfare support workers; hospitality workers; child carers; cleaners and laundry workers; and automobile, bus and rail drivers.
The Toowoomba Economic Profile, combined with economy.id, provides a great resource for prospective investors and sets the foundation for future economic strategies, council policy, community development, and land-use strategies.
What is the economic story of Toowoomba? What are its traditional strengths? What are its bold ambitions? How do we promote our economy? How do we plan for growth?
The .id solution
.id took a different approach to previous economic profiles by developing an economic story for Toowoomba.
This approach is designed to promote the region to investors by telling the economic story rather than repeating factual statements and presenting data. Instead, we tailored the story to the audience and effectively used charts, tables and maps to complement a narrative that identifies the unique characteristics of the local area.
Outcomes – data-driven success
Over its rich history, the Toowoomba region has transformed into a diverse economy, offering a range of business, investment and employment opportunities.
The economic profile highlights the economic strengths of the region and how it is changing to identify future opportunities for growth.
Links are provided in the report to the suite of .id tools for readers who require additional information.
Most topics can be monitored annually using the .id suite of online tools. This approach informs decision makers and engages stakeholders in a more meaningful way.
.id prepared an economic and employment precinct profile of the Brooklyn Industrial Precinct, which plays an important economic and employment role in Melbourne’s west.
The precinct’s strategic location close to the Melbourne CBD, major transport links and Port of Melbourne are key strengths.
How many workers currently work in the Brooklyn Industrial Precinct? What are the key industry sectors? What is the economic and demographic profile of workers? What are the future employment opportunities and future employment yields? How does a successful precinct help meet the future needs of Melbourne’s Western Region?
The .id solution
Matching the labour force with jobs is critical to the success of this innovative industrial precinct.
id. assessed the land use vision outlined in the Brooklyn Evolution Strategy and identified potential benchmarks consistent with the vision. We also assessed the current mismatch between local labour force and jobs available, as well as forecast population growth in the Western sub region.
The Brooklyn Industrial Precinct profile includes an analysis of:
- Employment Mix
- Economic Output
- Strategic Industry Analysis
- Cluster Analysis and Worker Profile (e.g. occupations, qualifications, hours worked, age)
Outcomes – data driven success
Brooklyn Industrial Precinct profile highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the precinct and identifies future opportunities for growth. The profile will be used as an evidence base for Brimbank City Council’s planning and economic development activities.
.id undertook an economic appraisal of a $1.6 million upgrade to the Bathurst Bike Park.
The appraisal was used to support the City of Bathurst’s funding application to the National Stronger Region Fund (NSRF).
What are the economic impacts that could be generated by the upgrade to the Bathurst Bike Park? What are the construction and ongoing impacts of the proposed project? How can the project address disadvantage in the region?
The .id solution
.id used the Economic Impact Model and Event Impact Calculator tools available in economy.id for the appraisal.
The tools enabled us to estimate construction expenditure impacts and the potential impacts from additional tourism visitation as a result of attracting a major sport event such as the BMX National Championships.
Both models were tailored to the Bathurst Region’s economy based on an input-output model which is derived from the local economy microsimulation model by National Economics (NIEIR).
Outcomes – data driven success
.id’s Economic Impact Assessment found that major sport hubs, such as the proposed expansion to the Bathurst Bike Park, can act as a significant economic and social driver for the regional economy and attract sports players, visitors, spectators and major events each year.
Sport hubs have the ability to generate economic output, increase tourism expenditure, encourage sports participation and enhance healthy lifestyles.
Kempsey Shire Council received a $2m grant from the National Stronger Regions Fund for development of a cinema complex in the Kempsey CBD.
The successful funding application was evidence-based using economic modelling provided by .id’s consulting team and socio-demographic data from economy.id.
The cinema complex is expected to play an important role in responding to Kempsey’s economic volatility and high unemployment rates.
What are the economic benefits and economic impacts that could be generated by a $6 million cinema development in the Kempsey CBD?
How does this project contribute to economic growth in the region?
The .id solution
.id established an assessment framework and used its economy.id Economic Impact Assessment tool to model the economic and wider benefits of the proposed cinema located in the Kempsey CBD, NSW.
The framework assessed estimated benefits and costs over a 20-year period, consistent with Treasury guidelines for the evaluation of capital projects.
The framework included estimates of:
- increased revenue from cinema ticket sales
- increased tourism expenditure from non-cinema sales
- potential need for a cinema
The modelling included:
- Benefit Cost Assessment
- Economic Impact Assessment
- Net Present Value
- Benefit Cost Ratio
Outcomes – data driven success
A strong and diverse CBD is becoming an increasingly strategic advantage for regions. CBD’s are critical in terms of responding to growth in the service sector economy and leveraging off the benefits of agglomeration. A cinema is considered an essential building block for a successful CBD by driving visitation, length of visit, multi-purpose visits and expenditure. Cinemas also play an important role in the night time and tourism economy, increasing the hours of trading and extending the regional catchment of the CBD.
The Melbourne Innovation Centre is a business incubator for small businesses, indigenous Australian businesses and creative and digital arts-based businesses. In the last 18 years, over 300 new business have graduated from the incubation program, with 86% still operating successfully three years after leaving. Around 1,350 jobs have been created on graduation from the facility.
.id worked with the City of Darebin to answer the following strategic questions:
What economic benefits and impacts can be generated by a $10+ million redevelopment of the Melbourne Innovation Centre business incubator into a modern hub for entrepreneurship and accelerated business development?
How can this project contribute to specific economic development needs in the region?
The .id solution
.id’s framework for economic evaluation consisted of three components:
- Strategic context
- Rapid benefit assessment
- Economic impact assessment.
The strategic context considered the economic profile of the City of Darebin and evaluated how the project would influence current specific needs within the region, such as addressing a significant decline in manufacturing and a desire to create new knowledge-intensive jobs.
The benefit-cost assessment was used to quantify employment and revenue generated from the development of the incubator over a 20 year period above the current situation (base case). This was compared to the overall estimated costs of the project and subjected to a sensitivity analysis.
The economic impact assessment used an economic impact model to identify the wider economic benefits for the City of Darebin and the broader region from both the construction and ongoing operations of the incubator.
The economic assessment revealed that the proposed redevelopment would make a valuable contribution to the City of Darebin and regional economy, generating a positive (and very high) benefit-cost ratio and contributing to the area’s strategic needs. Further benefits included:
- A substantial number of construction jobs generated during the development phase of the incubator.
- Flow on output and employment from business activity generated by graduated businesses.
- Labour productivity benefits through networking and collaboration.
- Transport and environmental benefits from the agglomeration of business activities.
- Tourism benefits through the use of proposed event space.
Demographics / Forecasting
While there are well documented links between health behaviours (risks) – sedentary lifestyles/poor diet; and health outcomes – obesity/diabetes/heart disease, there is also a growing body of work suggesting that the way we are designing and building our suburbs can have a significant impact on the health outcomes of our communities. We know that where people live should not limit what opportunities they have. But in many cases, it does.
.id undertook a project for the City of Geelong to explore links between local prevalence of chronic disease, unhealthy lifestyle conditions and built form.
This project was challenging, not the least because comprehensive and regularly updated health data is difficult to obtain at the small area level (LGA and suburb).
The .id solution
Fortunately, some data on health behaviours and health outcomes for the City of Geelong and most of its suburbs was made available through the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS) 2014. Together with information from the City of Geelong’s social-demographic profiles and forecasts, .id put together a project framework in order to structure, understand and communicate the data. The thinking underlying the structure for this project was guided by the following assumptions:
- Health behaviours lead to health outcomes;
- Health behaviours have a strong relationship to socio-economic status;
- Health outcomes have a strong relationship to age; and
- The built environment has an impact on the access to opportunities that people have to engage in certain health behaviours
Based on the GOS data, Geelong’s community health challenges include:
- More than a quarter of Geelong’s adult population (26%) is obese, which is comparable to the obesity rate for Victoria as a whole;
- Eight percent of Geelong’s adult population suffers from diabetes, twice the state of Victoria rate;
- Nearly one-third (29%) of Geelong’s adult population suffers from some form of cardiovascular disease, more than twice the state of Victoria rate;
- 59% of the adult population suffers from some form of hypertensive disease;
- 9% of the adult population currently smokes;
- 28% of the adult population is sedentary and does not exercise;
- 18% of the adult population consumes either junk food or dietary fat regularly; and
- Based on future population growth in Greater Geelong and current age-specific prevalence rates, by 2031, the obese population will grow by over 12,100, the population with diabetes will increase by 3,300 and the population suffering from cardiovascular disease will grow by an additional 20,700 people.
With regard to the relationship between health outcomes and built from of each suburb and township, there is evidence of an association between higher density and higher levels of mixed use of the built environment and higher levels of physical activity, walking and active transport.
The built form characteristics of our cities and towns provide the opportunity for people to gain access to things that will improve their health. Nevertheless this must be accompanied with access to education, information and knowledge about how to live a healthy life.
Through using a series of demographic statistics and population forecasts, .id was able to provide the City of Geelong with evidence upon which to base their planning and investment decisions, empowering them to make better decisions and be more influential regarding the design of our cities for a healthier future for our communities.
“What emerged as valuable for local government officers was the ability to apply population forecasts to project chronic disease prevalence by suburbs out to 2031; and what those projections then mean for informing planning and decision making with regard to infrastructure and service provision. Having access to this extra layer of information for communities like Drysdale can actually trigger a review of scheduled infrastructure works.”
One of the project team members, City of Greater Geelong
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