Joint report measures local livability

Community livability has been the focus of a research report from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) and Penrith City Council.

The report prepared by Net Balance titled Options for a Local Government Framework for Measuring Livability contains research finding quality of life issues can “fall beyond” the influence of councils.

It notes that community indicators are increasingly used to report on the interconnected nature of social, economic and environmental aspects of society.

According to the report, community indicators provide a means to engage communities, inform improvements in service delivery and governance, inform policy and planning development, and facilitate more meaningful performance reporting at the local government level.

As the first part of a long term project from Penrith City Council aimed at simplifying the introduction of community indicators for its next Community Strategic Plan, the report will be followed by a second mapping stage due later in 2012.

This second stage will be a set of core and supplementary indicators that will address the needs of Penrith City Council, assisting more consistent community indicator reporting for the broader local government sector, focusing on metropolitan growth areas.

Mayor Greg Davies said growth will be planned and managed so that it builds on existing urban areas and infrastructure with more job creation.

“More local jobs are vital, meaning residents have to spend less time commuting, so they can enjoy a better lifestyle and have more quality time for their family, health and community,” Mr Davies said.

He said getting the right information and being able to track the impact of what council does over time is critical if it is to plan properly.

ACELG program manager for research, Stefanie Pillora said the research aims to provide a comprehensive ‘snapshot’ of publicly available information and build on existing research, rather than replicate previous work.

She said the research is intended to assist councils across Australia.

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