Social and community

Thinking Regional and Rural is designed to assist you to identify, monitor and assess the potential impacts of policy and legislative proposals upon regional and rural Victoria. It comprises five high-level considerations: Economy, Accessibility, Social and Community, Environment and Equity.

Information to assist you assess your proposal against each consideration is available by following the tabs above.

What does this mean?

Under this consideration, social and community refers to any group of people in a geographic location who share a degree of cohesiveness, identity, resources, preferences and values.

Why is this important?

The demographic profile of many rural communities is skewed towards an older population, with a 'demographic pinch' between the ages of 15 and 30, as younger people have often moved elsewhere for education and work. Some parts of regional Victoria have significant migrant populations, and major regional centres tend to have a demographic profile similar to Melbourne's.

Regional and rural communities can have strong rates of volunteering or distinct community identity. Some policy decisions can affect this positively, such as increasing government support for sporting groups or community associations. Conversely, increasing regulation and reporting requirements on volunteer groups could impact these groups negatively.

There is a particularly strong link between employment and population mobility among smaller communities. Skilled workers can move around and between metropolitan and larger regional centres, where they can expect that a job will be available at some point. However, it is less likely for people to move into a small, rural community unless they have a job waiting for them. The smaller a community is, the more a reduction in employment is likely to lead to a decline in population.

Questions to consider

  • Have you considered the unique social characteristics of rural and regional communities?
  • Could implementation of the new policy or legislation have unintended impacts on social capital, such as a reduction in volunteering?
  • What are the opportunities to capitalise on or strengthen the positive characteristics of regional communities through your proposal?
  • Will the new policy or legislation affect employment in regional areas, which may in turn impact on the demographic trends within these areas?
  • What measures have you identified to manage negative employment impacts?