Bowraville, Kempsey, Nambucca Heads and Dorrigo among the state’s 40 most disadvantaged postcodes.
Bowraville, Kempsey, Nambucca Heads and Dorrigo among the state’s 40 most disadvantaged postcodes. Claudia Baxter

Study shows social disadvantage on the Coffs Coast

FOUR Coffs Coast towns have been ranked among the most disadvantaged communities in New South Wales, according to a national report.

The Dropping off the Edge report, published by Catholic Social Services and Jesuit Social Services, named Bowraville, Kempsey, Nambucca Heads and Dorrigo among the state's 40 most disadvantaged postcodes.

The report, by Sydney University professors Tony Vinson and Margot Rawsthorne, measured the disadvantage of 621 NSW suburbs and ranked them on 21 indicators, including income, education level, literacy and numeracy, long-term unemployment, juvenile offending and criminal convictions.

Bowraville was ranked among the worst 5% in the state, a repeat of the town's performance in the previous report released in 2007.

Figures show the town had a high percentage of its workforce in long term unemployment, a high proportion of people on Newstart, a large number of students not meeting the minimum maths and reading standards and a large number of residents who left school before 15.

In Kempsey, prison and psychiatric admissions and long-term unemployment are the biggest issues, while in Nambucca Heads, the proportion of people in need of rental assistance was the third highest in the state.

"These communities are not failing - Australia is failing these communities," Catholic Social Services Australia chief executive Marcelle Mogg said.

"To provide better opportunities to these communities will take sustained effort and commitment on behalf of the government, business, the community sector and the communities themselves."

The community sector has used the report to draw attention to "entrenched disadvantage" in particular areas of Australia, with the Australian Council of Social Services calling for a long-term jobs plan to reduce poverty and inequality.

For more information on the report visit http://www.dote.org.au/map.



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