Issue: Community wellbeing
The community's sense of wellbeing is related to factors that range from the quality of their natural and urban surroundings to their socio-economic position, the availability of services and their perceptions of safety. Ideally, the community feels secure in, and has a positive outlook about, the place in which they reside.
Under NSW law, each council is required to produce a social plan for its local government area. Because the social plans prepared by council now cover many of the indicators used to assess Community Wellbeing for previous Australian Capital Region state of the environment reports, many of these State of the Environment indicators have not been assessed in detail for this report. However, the most important aspects of each indicator—things that enhanced community wellbeing as well as issues warranting attention—are summarised below. Noise and heritage are reported in more detail because of the requirements of the NSW Local Government Act 1993.
What helped to enhance community wellbeing during the reporting period?
- Drinking water quality was of a high overall standard.
- Palerang residents live in a relatively safe community that enjoys comparatively low crime rates.
- There were no major noise problems.
- The total number of employed persons in the council area grew, particularly from strong growth in part-time employment.
- One hundred and fifty nine places are listed on various heritage registers, the majority of them of cultural or historic significance.
- The council area's population continued to grow in number and age.
- Private vehicles continued to be the most favoured form of transport, and ownership of motor vehicles continued to climb.
Issues for community wellbeing during the reporting period
- Council's population is aging, with a median age in 2004 of 39 years. About 95% of residential accommodation is confined to single dwellings. Demand for medium density dwellings has never been historically strong.
- Water and sewage assets at Braidwood are in need of replacement.
- Limited public transport is available to many residents in the council area.
- Education is limited for secondary students and no post secondary education is available.
Noise and Heritage
Under the requirements of the NSW Local Government Act 1993, reporting of heritage (both aboriginal and non-aboriginal) and noise is a mandatory requirement in each local government's State of the Environment report.
Although no complaint data were available, noise appears to have been a minor issue for the council area during the reporting period. Recent anecdotal evidence suggests that noise from motorbikes is the main issue in rural residential areas, while barking dogs attract the most complaints in the villages. Council is in the process of formulating policies and guidelines for recording and acting on noise complaints, including producing education material for new ratepayers and staff compliance training.
One hundred and fifty nine places were listed on various heritage registers at the end of the reporting period, the majority of them of cultural or historic significance. No new places were listed for the first time during the reporting period. Council allocated $8000 annually during the reporting period to access the services of a Heritage Adviser. A heritage study will be undertaken to update the heritage listings as part of the process of preparing an integrated local environment plan for Palerang.