AN economic analysis of data from the 2021 census highlights the stark socio-economic differences between towns across the Mornington Peninsula.
The socio-economic rankings from one – most disadvantaged – to 10 – most advantaged – are based on income, occupation, employment status and education.
Australian Bureau of Statistics rankings based on the latest Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) released last week show towns across the peninsula vary from being most advantaged to most disadvantaged.
Towns categorised as being most disadvantaged, or those having the lowest scores, are Hastings (1) and Capel Sound (1).
Towns with a score of two, the second lowest, are Rosebud, Tootgarook and Crib Point.
At the other end of the scale, with a 10-point ranking, are Mount Eliza, Mount Martha, Red Hill, Somers, HMAS Cerberus, Balnarring, Flinders and Sorrento.
Climbing back up the “advantaged” ladder are Dromana (4), Bittern (5), Mornington, Safety Beach, Somerville and Tyabb (6) and McCrae (7).
Neighbouring Frankston has one suburb in the most disadvantaged category, Frankston North.
The ABS says that the SEIFA statistics are used by governments, industry and researchers to identify areas that need funding or services, business opportunities, the relationship between socio-economic disadvantage and health or educational outcomes.
The release of the latest data coincides with Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors being asked to urge the federal government to declare a housing crisis, putting “a spotlight on the unaffordability of housing across Australia”. Cr David Gill says it is “more expensive to live on the peninsula than in Melbourne”, with increasing numbers being added to waiting lists for social housing (2934 on the Port Phillip side of the peninsula and 970 households on the Western Port side).
Gill told council’s Tuesday (2 May) meeting that low income residents were being forced to leave the peninsula while tourism and hospitality businesses were struggling to find staff because of a lack of affordable accommodation.
Houses can be bought in Hastings and Crib Point for prices being asked for beach boxes at Portsea and several other beaches.
The advantaged and most disadvantaged areas would not be apparent to visitors who flock to the peninsula to enjoy its beaches, restaurants, wineries and golf courses.
But what the ABS figures do not reveal is the number of people on the peninsula experiencing homelessness and the number who regularly need assistance with food and clothing.
An estimated 1000 people search for somewhere safe to sleep on the peninsula each night (“Peninsula ‘needs more crisis support’” The News 3/4/23).