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Suburbanizing Disadvantage in Australian Cities: Sociospatial Change in an Era of Neoliberalism


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This article analyses the shifting locations of social disadvantage in Australian cities based on data from the 1986 and 2006 censuses with Sydney as a case example. This 20-year period is highly significant because it represents the period over which the impacts of neoliberal economic policies introduced by the Federal Labor government in 1986, and maintained by successive Australian governments regardless of party, have fed through the Australian economy with a resulting increase in socioeconomic restructuring, including increased income polarization. This in turn has been reflected in a highly distinctive locational shift in concentrations of disadvantage in Australian cities as housing markets, largely left to their own devices (albeit supported by taxation and subsidy arrangements), have acted to realign the social structure of the city. The net result has been a marked suburbanization of the locations of disadvantage away from the “traditional” inner cities and into the middle, and in some cases outer, suburbs. In many respects, the locations identified are analogous to the first suburbs of U.S. cities that are now the focus of urban policy concerns. The article explores the impact of the “neoliberal turn” on the changing spatial structure of the Australian city and provides evidence of the changing nature of urban disadvantage in the postindustrial and increasingly fragmenting Australian city. In doing so, the article touches on the emergence of new geographies of underprivilege.
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Urban Policy and Research
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Relocating Disadvantage in Five Australian Cities:
Socio-spatial Polarisation under Neo-liberalism
Bill Randolph & Andrew Tice
To cite this article: Bill Randolph & Andrew Tice (2016): Relocating Disadvantage in Five
Australian Cities: Socio-spatial Polarisation under Neo-liberalism, Urban Policy and Research, DOI:
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Relocating Disadvantage in Five Australian Cities: Socio-spatial
Polarisation under Neo-liberalism
Bill Randolpha and Andrew Ticeb
aFaculty of the Built Environment, City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia;
bDemography and Economics, NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Sydney, Australia
During the mid-1980s, the Australian political discourse shifted decisively
towards a neo-liberal political agenda that has remained the dominant policy
paradigm ever since. Arguably, a key outcome of this has been an increase
in social inequality. However, there has been little acknowledgement of this
process in Australian urban policy debates. Yet these social outcomes have
been accompanied by distinctive impacts on the socio-spatial structure of
the Australian city. Using Census data over a 25year period between 1986
and 2011, this paper analyses the trend towards a marked suburbanisation
of the most disadvantaged households in the ve major Australian cities. Its
conclusions have relevance for current metropolitan planning strategies and
their capacity to address what is emerging as Australia’s version of the now
more widely recognised “urban inversion of the last quarter of a century.
1980 年代中期, 新自由主义政治议程决定了澳大利亚政治话语, 并自此一
直保持统治地 位。这一转向导致了社会不平等日益加剧。然而, 尽管这样
的后果明显影响了澳大利亚城 市的社会-空间结构, 澳大利亚城市政策争
论中却很少涉及这一过程。本文利用1986 - 2011 年这25 年间的人口普
查数据, 分析澳大利亚五大城市中最低收入家庭的郊区化趋势。 文章的
结论有助于目前的都市规划策略, 及其应对澳大利亚近25 年来出现的“
城市逆转” 现象的能力。
1. Introduction
What do the Pope, the President of the United States and the head of the IMF have in common? ey
have all recently spoken out against rising inequality which has now become a widely recognised global
trend over the last thirty years (OECD 2011, e Economist 2012). With Oxfam (2016) reporting that
the richest 62 people in the world had accumulated wealth equal to that of the poorest half of the worlds
population, and the top 1% being worth more than the rest of the worlds population combined, the
emergence of levels of inequality not seen since before the 1st World War has clearly started to penetrate
political discourse. Australia has a long history of egalitarianism, based on a popularly held belief in,
if not equality per se, a more diuse equality of opportunity based on a shared common experience
and aspiration. But even this may be breaking down. e Oxfam report showed Australia to be only
second to America in terms of the percentage increase in the share of national income received by
© 2016 Editorial Board, Urban Policy and Research
Suburbanisation; social
disadvantage; inequality;
spatial polarisation;
Australian cities
Received 8 September 2014
Accepted 1 June 2016
CONTACT Bill Randolph
The authors are indebted to the comments of two anonymous reviewers whose valuable and thoughtful comments have hopefully
improved the paper. As always, all remaining errors of fact and judgement remain the responsibility of the authors.
the richest 1% of its citizens. e post-war egalitarian ethos that pervaded much of Australian public
and cultural life is in danger of becoming a folk memory.
Rising inequality therefore appears to be a fact of life in Australia (Commonwealth of Australia
2014, Australian Council of Social Services 2015). is paper deals with one facet of this process: its
association with a restructuring of the socio-economic space in Australia’s major cities—specically
the changing geography of more socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods. e paper does not set out
to explore the complex interplay of income and wealth in generating inequality, or to establish any
causal link between inequality and social disadvantage more generally (see McLachlan et al. 2013,
Dabla-Norris et al. 2015). Its objective is much simpler. While the links between changes in income
and wealth and the locational aspects of social disadvantage remain to be better understood, the
paper draws attention to the coincident relationship between documented increased income (and
by implication, wealth) inequality over the past several decades in Australia and distinctive shis in
the location of urban social disadvantage, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Before discussing this outcome, the paper commences with a short review of the context which
has generated the changes described here and its continued importance in scholarly conjecture about
the evolution of contemporary urban spaces. e paper then reviews the evidence for socio-spatial
restructuring of Australia’s ve major cities over the last three decades. It concludes with some reec-
tions on the broader signicance of these ndings and their implications for current debates on the
future metropolitan policy in Australia.
2. The Neo-liberal Ascendancy and its Impact on Australian Social Equity
is paper focuses on the outcomes of this realignment of the socio-spatial structure of Australian
cities that has accompanied the last 30years of restructuring of Australian society. e backdrop to
these changes lies in the neo-liberal political ascendancy which came to the fore during the 1980s.
Since that time, a range of socio-economic changes have worked their way through Australian society
which have been broadly accompanied by a widely recognised trend towards increased socio-economic
polarisation and income inequality (Pusey 2003, Berry 2013). Income polarisation—specically the
stretching out of the income continuum towards those on highest incomes—has meant that, as a
whole, Australia has become less equal in recent years (Leigh 2013).
e shi to “economic rationalism” as the basis for macro-economic and social policy settings has
had a long term impact on the structure of socio-economic opportunities for Australians. Paralleling
comparable changes in other countries such as the USA and New Zealand (Schwartz 2000, Peck
2012), these policy reforms were intended to turn the Australian economy into one based on the
newly emerging political consensus of open markets, trade liberalisation, labour market exibility,
lower company and personal taxation, tari reduction, privatisation and nancial deregulation, albeit
cushioned by an enhanced social welfare transfer safety net (Kelly 1992).
ese trends have not been as extreme as those in other jurisdictions, in large part due to a
social welfare support framework which, though much reduced in recent years, has remained to
support those on lowest incomes. Nevertheless, the impact of these polices was certainly uneven.
As Cox (2011) has pointed out, the emergence of neo-liberalism marked a turning point when tax
reduction became a “right” for the better o (along with a wide range of “middle class welfare” tax
and subsidy benets), while the receipt of welfare benets became an increasingly circumscribed
“privilege” for the low paid or non-working. Even by the early 1990s there was evidence of an
increase in income inequality, largely as wealthier households pulled away from those on lower
incomes (Connell 1991).
Quiggin (1999) argued that labour market policies increase inequality through two key “reforms.
Firstly, they improved the income potential of managers and highly-skilled workers but reduced the
measures that protected incomes for the less skilled. Secondly, these policies also increased the level
of employment insecurity for all which, together with the rise of part-time employment and short
term or temporary contracts, contributed to the rise of employment uncertainty. ese measures have
penalised the lower skilled more than those on higher incomes. In a similar vein, Self (2000) stressed
the impact of neo-liberalism in driving up levels of social and economic inequality.
In a recent review of the evidence for income inequality in Australia, Whiteford (2013) explored
in detail the evidence for changing trends in inequality over the last four decades. e conclusion
was that, with some uctuations, income inequality had indeed increased over this period. Figure 1
summarises Whiteford’s ndings. e paradox of these trends is that they have occurred during a
period of substantial overall income growth and a signicant fall in the level of poverty in real terms
(Fletcher and Guttman 2013).
Aer comparing previous research and labour market trends across the OECD countries,
Whiteford (2013) argued that it was jobless families that had contributed most to the rise in ine-
quality of earnings. While the tax and transfer system has played a role in reducing the income ine-
quality eects of changing labour market trends in recent years, it has done little to stop those in the
higher income groups increasingly stretching their income growth, aided by taxation concessions.
As Whiteford concludes:
It can be calculated that the richest 20 per cent of the Australian population gained 44 per cent of all the income
growth between 1994–95 and 2009–10, while the poorest 20 per cent gained 6.4 per cent. (Whiteford 2013, p. 70)
is outcome is graphically illustrated in Figure 2 which shows the way the gross household income
distribution of Australian households has shied rmly towards the higher end (beyond $2000 per
week), while those in the middle have lost out (Greenville et al. 2013).
While not as extreme as the highly contested concept of the “underclass” (Wilson 1987, Gans 1995),
the recent identication in the UK of the so called “precariat” as a growing cohort of people “[in] pre-
carious jobs … and [with] a limited and precarious range of rights” (Standing 2012, p. 591), is a more
nuanced expression of this shi to an increasingly marginalised workforce (also Shildrick et al. 2012).
e net outcome of this 30year shi in the global political consensus has been a widespread and well
documented increase in income and wealth inequality across the major developed countries (OECD
2011, Keeley 2015). ere is now a veritable academic industry focusing on criticisms and causes of,
and potential cures for, the growing inequality that neo-liberalism has generated. In the US, Stiglitz
(2012) has skewered the concept with a formidable critique, as have Hutton (2011) and Lansley (2012)
in the UK and Piketty (2014) in France. Leigh (2013) oers an empirically robust explanation of the
rise of inequality in the Australian context, while Australian Council of Social Services (2015) has
more recently still presented clear evidence of the growing inequality in terms of income and wealth
in Australia. However, income inequality does not happen in a spatial vacuum. e trend towards
greater income inequality in recent decades has been accompanied by a marked spatial redistribution
Figure 1.Longer run trends in income inequality in Australia, 1981–1982 to 2009–2010. Source: Whiteford (2013) Figure 2.
of income and wealth, and associated patterns of social disadvantage, in our cities. It is to this issue
that the paper now turns.
3. Inequality and Urban Space
As Brenner and eodore (2002) have argued, the impacts of neo-liberalism are arguably most evident
in cities, as the location of most major economic and social activity. In the US, the literature on the
spatial impacts of neo-liberalism has grown signicantly in recent years as a result (e.g. Peck and Tickell
2002, Leitner et al. 2007). Until relatively recently, the inner city was viewed as the critical spatial focus
of social disadvantage (Wilson 1987) and the struggle between Keynesian interventionist policies and
their nemesis in the form of neo-liberal marketisation (Hackworth 2007). More recently, however, it
has become clear that the locus of urban disadvantage has shied signicantly. Indeed, it can be argued
that the ongoing clash of political cultures is now also expressed spatially in the changing nature of the
suburbs and the wider patterns of urban socio-spatial polarisation in income and wealth distribution.
is shi has changed the nature of the debates on urban socio-spatial inequality, especially in
the US, where the emergence of suburban poverty (Kneebone and Berube 2013, Semuels 2015) has
been associated with a strong local political response from the “First Suburb” coalition of nancially
challenged suburban local authorities in many American cities (Lucy and Phillips 2000, Puentes and
Oreld 2002). Similar trends have been identied in Canada (Hulchanski et al. 2010) and the UK
(Lupton 2011, Hunter 2014). While the specic geographies of these locations and the spatial termi-
nology may vary (terms include “inner suburban” or “middle ring suburb”) and are indeed contested
(see Leigh and Lee 2005), there seems to be strong indication that they are focused on those places
which developed in the period shortly before or in the three decades aer the Second World War (for
more developed discussion of this, see Randolph and Freestone 2012).
e academic debate on intra-urban social polarisation in Australia can be traced back to at least
the 1970s, when concerns surfaced over the then “crisis of the inner city” (Troy 1981, Stimson 1982,
O’Connor et al. 2001). By the 1990s, debates began to refocus on the suburbs, largely as a result of the
development of large scale public housing estates in these areas in the previous 30years. e evidence
was confusing at rst. e contested ndings of research into urban poverty in the early 1990s, sug-
gesting that Australian suburbs were in fact evolving into more variegated regions with examples of
moderately high incomes as well as more disadvantaged places, was perhaps the last time a scholarly
debate on this issue surfaced (Maher et al. 1992).
Figure 2.Distribution of gross household income, Australia, 1988–1989 and 2009–2010 (adjusted to 2011–2012 $$). Source: Greenville
et al. (2013) Figure 4.
In fact, the emerging patterns of suburban disadvantage have been evident for some time. In the
Australian geographical literature Badcock (1997) asserted that the period since the 1980s has seen
an eective relocation of the epicentres of urban social disadvantage away from Sydney’s inner city
and into these middle suburban locations. Randolph (2004) amplied this observation, noting the
emergence of a distinct band of social disadvantage in what had become the middle suburbia of
Australian cities. Baum et al.’s (2005) analysis of socio-economic divisions across Australia makes a
similar point. More recently, Pawson et al. (2015) have documented this shi more extensively and
identied both the housing and labour market drivers of this process.
It is also clear that this spatial income inequality has been compounded by dierential access to
wealth accumulation. e latter feature has been driven by a number of interrelated factors, but prin-
cipally though spatially dierential access to wealth generated by home ownership (Daley and Wood
2014, Johnstone 2014). is in turn has been reected in a highly distinctive locational shi in the
socio-spatial structure of Australian cites, as private housing markets, under the strong inuence of
regressive taxation and subsidy arrangements, have acted to realign the social composition of the city.
e net result has been a reversal of prevailing socio-spatial outcomes through a marked suburban-
isation of the locations of disadvantage away from the traditionally impoverished inner cities which
have been overwhelmingly gentried and/or redeveloped.
is paper does not pursue the reasons for the emerging trend towards the suburbanisation of
disadvantage in the ve main Australian cities. Here we simply focus on the evidence of disadvantage
suburbanising over the last three decades or so, the period that coincides with the dominance of
neo-liberal policies and the increasing reliance on the market to deliver housing opportunities for all
households. While the processes leading to these trends are complex and as yet not well documented in
contemporary Australian urban studies literature, the trends are nevertheless clear. It is to an empirical
examination of these trends that we now turn.
4. Approach and Data
In order to establish the detailed trends in the location of disadvantage, we have used the Australian
Bureau of Statistics Censuses for 1986 and 2011 to analyse the relative movement of concentrations of
disadvantage using the Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) in Sydney. In particular, we use the
Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage, one of the indicators in the SEIFA suite (ABS 2013).
e year 1986 represents the eective middle of the decade when the transition to neo-liberal policy
took hold in Australia, as noted above.
As observed in the introduction, aspects of low income and disadvantage are not conceptually
mutually exclusive. However, there are limited data available at the detailed local level from which
to analyse the changes in specic income distributions. Particular problems were encountered by
the researchers when trying to access Collector District (CD) Census information for the entirety
of Australia for the 1986 period. For this reason, the ABS’s widely used SEIFA index was utilised.
e SEIFA index combines Census variables that, conceptually, build a prole of a disadvantaged
community. e Index is created using a Principle Components Analysis using 16 census variables
which together provide information on aspects of disadvantage. Signicantly, of the sixteen variables,
low income has the greatest variable loading (i.e. has the most signicant inuence on the results)
with other associated variables (such as “joblessness” and lower cost housing) also ranking highly.
us, whilst the analysis presented here is not reporting specically on income distributions across
the dierent cities, the implicit outcomes and formative drivers of income distribution are eectively
captured through the use of the SEIFA Index.
is analysis adapts and extends the approach used by Randolph and Holloway (2005) and Randolph
and Tice (2014), but in this case extending the analysis to the ve major Australian cities over the
1986–2011 period. e 1986 analysis is based on the CD geography while the analysis for 2011 uses
the comparable Statistical Area 1 (SA1) geography. e ABS changed its system of census geographies
in 2011 with a new spatial entity, the Statistical Area, replacing the previous area divisions. In broad
term the CD and SA1 represent comparable spatial scales, with around 250 households per area in
both cases. For ease of reference, in the following we will refer to these dierent geographies simply as
census “tracts” in both years. While the exact boundaries of small area census tracts will have changed
between census years, due to local population changes (largely though new or re-development) as well
as the move to SA1 geographies, previous analysis of 2001 and 2006 Census CD data have shown the
approach to be robust at the aggregate scale appropriate to the present analysis (Randolph and Tice
2014). In addition, to facilitate temporal comparability, the analysis focuses on the relevant denition
of “urban” tracts, as dened by the ABS in both years.
e rst step of the analysis was to identify those tracts lying at or beyond one standard deviation
below the mean Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage score in each year. ese were taken
to represent the most highly disadvantaged tracts in the city and together accounted for approximately
15% of all tracts in each year. e following analysis focuses on these highly disadvantaged tracts. e
urban area of each city was then segmented into concentric 10km bands radiating out from the city
centre (traditionally dened as the location of the city’s central Post Oce) for 50km. is 50km
denition has been applied equally to each city and in each time period in order to (as best as possible)
render each city, its suburban structure and outlying communities comparable.
e analysis rst considers the changing numbers and proportion of each city’s populations living in
these highly disadvantaged locations. e analysis then uses correlation analysis to assess the changing
relationship over time between the location of the highly disadvantaged tracts and distance from the
various city centres. Location quotients are then used to assess the importance of absolute population
changes in these tracts in each distance band. Finally, an analysis of the distribution of highly disad-
vantaged tracts in 1km bands from the centre of each city graphically illustrates the relative spatial
change in the locus of disadvantage for each city. A set of maps accompanies this graphical analysis.
5. Suburban Disadvantage in Five Cities
5.1. The Changing Distribution of Disadvantaged Populations
In order to place the changing geography of disadvantage in context, we rst need to consider the
overall changes in population distribution across the ve cities as a contextual backdrop.
During the period 1986–2011 the population of the ve Australia major cities, Sydney, Melbourne,
Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, grew by 38%, from a little over 9–12.5m persons. In the same period
the population living in locations characterised as being highly disadvantaged in these cities increased
by a comparable amount, 39%, from 1 to 1.4m persons. However, as we shall see, the relative spatial
location of disadvantage compared to the city populations as a whole has changed signicantly.
Table 1 presents the distribution of population living in highly disadvantaged census tracts in each
of the 10km bands in 1986 and 2011 for each city. Most notable are the substantial levels of decline
within the 10km band in all ve cities, with an average loss of 67% in numbers, while the 20–29km
band witnessed both the largest proportional (+174%) as well as absolute (+281k) growth. Overall, the
proportional increase in populations in disadvantaged tracts increased by over 100% in each of the outer
three 10km bands, with the largest absolute and proportional increases in the 10–19 and 20–29km
bands. e high proportional rates of increase in the outer 40–49km band, which in many cases represent
outlying semi-rural fringe communities, are from relatively low population bases. ey nevertheless
indicate the role such locations have increasingly played in providing housing for disadvantage popu-
lations, adding a further dynamic to the overall processes shaping the suburbanisation of disadvantage.
Turning to the individual cities, while the overall pattern of outward displacement is common
to all, there are notable dierences. e relative suburban shi in the location of disadvantage in
Sydney was less pronounced than in the other cities, but the absolute numbers were more substantial
with growth focusing the 20–29km band. Melbourne recorded a doubling of the number of its pop-
ulation living in disadvantaged tracts, by far the most signicant increase of all ve cities, with the
focus of absolute growth in the 10–19km band. In Adelaide the legacy of previous South Australian
governments’ provision of social housing at signicantly higher levels acted to reduce the loss of dis-
advantaged populations from inner areas, but nevertheless, the suburban shi was still pronounced.
Perth was the only city to record an overall loss in the total population living in disadvantaged areas,
a reection of both the policy of redevelopment of public housing estates in these areas over the last
twenty years as well as a relatively strong economy based on the mining boom. Here, losses were
recorded up to 19km from the city centre, resulting in a 30% reduction in the number of people living
in disadvantaged areas by 2011. e proportional loss of disadvantaged populations from the inner
city was greatest in Brisbane, with a progressive increase in the proportional shi of this population
towards the urban fringe.
To elaborate on the changing relationships between the distribution of disadvantage and the overall
social structure of each of the ve cities, Table 2 provides the general correlations between the location
of disadvantaged tracts and distance from the city centre. To generate this each location has been
attributed with a linear (“as the crow ies”) distance. Data from the 2006 SEIFA, analysed in the same
manner as for 1986 and 2011, is provided to demonstrate that the processes driving the suburbanisa-
tion of disadvantage have been ongoing.
Table 1.Population change in disadvantaged locations in 10km bands for the five cities (1986 and 2011).
Source: 1986 and 2011 ABS Censuses.
Distance band Adelaide Brisbane Melbourne Perth Sydney Total
<10km 55,603 56,546 122,745 48,732 156,842 463,787
10–19km 33,936 27,228 35,519 50,561 98,424 260,113
20–29km 36,953 29,669 11,647 2773 79,648 161,571
30–39km 1661 13,004 6392 7525 43,703 72,285
40–49km 361 4315 1162 1033 54,321 61,761
128,514 130,762 177,465 110,624 432,938 1019,517
<10km 45,390 7023 36,822 10,500 27,518 151,768
10–19km 49,078 35,824 191,150 40,446 176,765 510,953
20–29km 65,392 74,600 93,833 12,258 190,225 442,581
30–39km 7716 36,695 45,711 8067 84,909 183,789
40–49km 3434 29,178 12,551 6318 74,871 128,763
171,010 183,320 380,067 77,589 554,288 1417,854
<10km −10,213 −49,523 −85,923 −38,232 −129,324 −312,019
10–19km 15,142 8596 155,631 −10,115 78,341 250,840
20–29km 28,439 44,931 82,186 9485 110,577 281,010
30–39km 6055 23,691 39,319 542 41,206 111,504
40–49km 3073 24,863 11,389 5285 20,550 67,002
42,496 52,558 202,602 -33,035 121,350 398,337
<10km −18 −88 −70 −78 −82 −67
10–19km 45 32 438 −20 80 96
20–29km 77 151 706 342 139 174
30–39km 365 182 615 7 94 154
40–49km 851 576 980 512 38 108
33 40 114 −30 28 39
Table 2.Distance correlations of disadvantaged tracts for the five cities (1986, 2006 and 2011).
aDenotes significant at the 1% level.
Source: 1986, 2006 and 2011 ABS Censuses.
Adelaide Brisbane Melbourne Perth Sydney Total
1986 −0.282 −0.471a−0.664a−0.644a−0.538a−0.754a
2006 0.073 0.560a0.194 −0.222 0.733a0.495a
2011 0.188 0.651a0.289 −0.093 0.740a0.649a
In 1986 all the cities present a negative correlation between locations of disadvantage and distance
from the central business district. Aside from Adelaide, all of these correlations are signicant at the
1% level. By 2006, all but Perth present a positive relationship, although these relationships are not
statistically signicant in Adelaide and Melbourne. In the following ve years to 2011, Brisbane’s and
Sydney’s signicant positive relationships (>1%) are retained and strengthen while in Adelaide and
Melbourne the strength of the positive correlations continue but still not at signicant levels. In Perth,
the negative relationship is retained, although it has weakened further and is substantially lower than
in 1986.
Since the overall scale of the population in disadvantaged locations has changed over time it is
important to consider whether this itself has had any bearing on the distributional changes presented
previously. Table 3 presents the distribution of disadvantage expressed as Location Quotients. e
Location Quotient represents the ratio of the percentages of population in disadvantaged tracts for
each distance band (in each city) against the overall percentage of the population in disadvantaged
tracts. Ratios of one indicate near parity between these values, values of less than one a lesser presence
and greater than one a larger presence.
In 1986 the central areas of all the ve cities registered quotients greater than one, indicating an
over representation of disadvantaged populations. Similarly, all cities registered values below one
throughout all the suburbs 10–19km out from the inner city locations. Adelaide, and to a lesser
extent Brisbane, registered concentrations of disadvantage in the 20–29km band. Perth, and again
to a lesser extent Sydney, recorded concentrations in the 30–39km band, with Sydney registering a
further overrepresentation in the outlying semi-rural locations 40–49km from the centre. erefore,
even in 1986, only Melbourne presents a situation where disadvantaged locations were dispropor-
tionally concentrated within inner city locations in comparison to its suburban environs. e other
four cities, on this assessment, show a varied pattern of greater dispersion with evidence of suburban
concentrations of disadvantage present. Sydney, however, stands out with near comparable levels of
disadvantage occurring in far suburban locations and in the inner city.
By 2011, all cities registered a reversal of the level of disadvantaged locations within their inner
city locations, with Adelaide registering the lowest falls. Brisbane in particular stands out. Over the
intervening 25years the presence of disadvantaged locations in this city’s inner suburbs fell to almost
nil. In Melbourne there was a marked increase in suburbs immediately beyond the inner city. Whilst a
similar trend is present in Sydney, it isn’t as marked as the increase in the middle suburban 20–29km
band. Coupled with this, Sydney saw increases in the presence of disadvantaged locations in its more
far ung suburbs, although not to the level seen in the most distant suburbs (40–49km band) of
Brisbane. On this point, overall Brisbane (the only other state capital benetting from the recent
Table 3.Location Quotients for disadvantage populations for the five cities, 1986 and 2011.
Adelaide Brisbane Melbourne Perth Sydney Total
<10km 1.2 1.3 1.8 1.4 2.0 1.7
10–19km 0.8 0.6 0.3 0.9 0.9 0.7
20–29km 2.1 1.0 0.2 0.2 0.9 0.7
30–39km 0.4 1.0 0.2 1.9 1.4 0.8
40–49km 0.2 0.9 0.1 0.3 1.6 1.0
1.1 1.0 0.6 1.0 1.2 1.0
<10km 0.9 0.1 0.5 0.2 0.3 0.5
10–19km 1.0 0.5 1.3 0.5 1.3 1.1
20–29km 2.7 1.3 0.9 0.3 1.7 1.3
30–39km 0.9 1.3 0.8 0.6 1.5 1.1
40–49km 1.1 2.3 0.3 0.7 1.7 1.2
All 1.2 0.8 0.9 0.4 1.3 1.0
resource boom) saw a decrease in the presence of disadvantage across the city, but in comparison to
the decline seen in Perth, this is only marginal.
is latter nding highlights the inuence of regional economic activity in dening cohorts of
disadvantage. e ABS SEIFA measure is, aer all, designed to capture relative disadvantage at a
national scale. In doing so, this indirectly exposes the inuence of the “two-speed” economy existing in
Australia at the time of the 2011 Census. Perth and Brisbane are the respective capitals of the two states
containing the majority of the mining industry (and related businesses) supplying raw materials to the
then booming Chinese economy. Index variables, such as levels of unemployment and low income,
may have been eectively suppressed by these macro-economic relationships. is isn’t to say that
low income populations didn’t exist in Perth or Brisbane, but in relative terms the average incomes in
these two cities may have risen faster than the thresholds set during the initial creation of the Index.
5.2. The Spatial Impact of Suburbanised Disadvantage
Whilst the previous three analyses have demonstrated the broad suburban (and in places peri-urban)
shi in the distribution of disadvantage, we have yet to capture the level of spatial concentration of
these locations. To address this, the percentage distribution of all highly disadvantaged census tracts
in each kilometre band outwards from the centre of the ve cities was calculated. e overall picture
is summarised in Figure 3 which clearly shows that the concentrations of disadvantaged tracts in the
ve cities have collectively shied systematically away from inner city locations. e proportion of
total highly disadvantaged tracts up to 10km out from the central cities fell from 6 in 10 (57%) in
1986 to just 1 in 10 (11%) by 2011.
e pattern is repeated in each city, with the specic geographical shi reecting the size and
geography of each city. e data is represented graphically in Figures 4–8. e 1986 gures indicate a
much tighter concentration of disadvantaged tracts in a relatively narrow band up to 5km from the
centre in the case of Brisbane and 15km for Melbourne. ese were clearly “inner city” concentra-
tions. Elsewhere, disadvantage appeared to be more widely spread into the suburbs, with Adelaide
and Sydney having the more dispersed distributions. Nevertheless, disadvantage was clearly an inner
city phenomenon in each city.
e comparison to the 2011 position in all cities is quite stark, with a marked hollowing out of dis-
advantage within the 10km band evident for all ve cities. Adelaide (Figure 4) showed the least change
Figure 3.Proportion of disadvantaged CDs by distance from the city centre: all five cities, 1986 and 2011.
in the distribution of disadvantaged tracts, but with obvious decreases in the immediate inner city
locations and increases around the 15–20 and 25–27km mark. e distribution in Brisbane (Figure 5)
becomes much more evenly spaced with a broad shi into the suburbs peaking in the 20–29km band
and a further smaller extension beyond 40km. However, the loss in the 0–19km band is very marked,
and represented an almost total displacement of the disadvantaged population from inner Brisbane. In
Melbourne (Figure 6), the dramatic shi from the inner city into the 16–30km bands (where relatively
little existed in 1986) is quite evident. Perth (Figure 7), witnessed a shi in concentrations outwards to
suburbs in the 11–15km and beyond. Sydney (Figure 8) witnessed the greatest shi towards a more
even re-distribution of disadvantage, in part a reection of its larger size. Apart from the obvious
peak some 16km from the city centre, the middle suburban concentrations evidenced in 1986 have
been retained and intensied. At the same time the inner city band (to 10km out) has all but lost its
disadvantaged population in the process.
e analyses presented so far have demonstrated the case for the suburban dispersal of disadvantage
over the period; however they’ve not really got to grips with the actual geography of these processes.
Figures 9–13 have been generated using the location of those census small area tracts in 1986 and
2011 identied as containing highly disadvantaged populations. For comparison the scale is the same
in each instance. e radial rings indicate the distance from the central post oces and the solid grey
area indicates the current urban extent of each city. e shading of the points represents the number
of persons in each unit, ranging from light (fewer) to dark grey (greater). Where units are in close
proximity to each other these overlap to generate heavier black shading, eectively demonstrating
where concentrations of disadvantaged locations coexist. is approach has been developed to rep-
resent the suggestion that the spatial pattern of disadvantaged locations has, over the period, shied
from one of relative homogeneity to a more heterogeneous structure of suburban dispersal. In doing
so, the implication is that the manner in which entrenched disadvantaged has been conceptualised
previously (and in turn has developed its own logic in terms of policy development) may no longer
assist, at least in the Australian context, in engaging with the fundamental drivers shaping patterns of
disadvantage between communities (Pawson et al. 2015).
Figure 4.Distribution of disadvantaged locations 1986 and 2011 – Adelaide.
On the whole, Figures 9 through 13 serve to crystallise the specic geographies of suburbanisa-
tion seen in the earlier analyses. However they also add local nuance to these ndings. In Adelaide
(Figure 9) the distribution, whilst moving away from central locations over the period, retains core
concentrations around Woodville-Cheltenham (to the north-east of the inner city) and around North
Figure 5.Distribution of disadvantaged locations 1986 and 2011 – Brisbane.
Figure 6.Distribution of disadvantaged locations 1986 and 2011 – Melbourne.
Haven in the city’s northern coastal area. Of further note, however, is the expansion around Elizabeth
and Smitheld some 20–29km north of city centre.
In Brisbane (Figure 10) the extensive hollowing out of disadvantage previously concentrated in the
inner city and northwards along Fortitude Valley by the river is evident. Expansion of pre-existing
Figure 7.Distribution of disadvantaged locations 1986 and 2011 – Perth.
Figure 8.Distribution of disadvantaged locations 1986 and 2011 – Sydney.
Figure 9.Spatial distribution of disadvantage, (a) 1986 and (b) 2011 – Adelaide.
Figure 10.Spatial distribution of disadvantage, (a) 1986 and (b) 2011 – Brisbane.
smaller scale concentrations can be seen around the suburbs of Inala and Richlands south west of the
city centre (in the 10–19km band) and also further out in the neighbourhoods of Woodridge and
Logan Central (south-east of the city and towards the coast).
e extreme concentrations of disadvantage tied to central Melbourne in 1986 can be seen to
have dissipated to the north, north west and south east by 2011 (Figure 11). Of these, the most evi-
dent expansion has been around Brimbank (north-west of the city) and through the suburbs around
Dandenong (to the south-east), although the concentrations running to the north have also expanded
in both population size and spatial extent.
Perth (Figure 12) has seen expansion within a former small scale concentration centred on the
suburbs of Balga and Girrawheen (to the north) and in Midland and Guildford on the edge of the
city’s south-western extent. For Sydney (Figure 13), whilst the extreme concentrations running both
Figure 11.Spatial distribution of disadvantage, (a) 1986 and (b) 2011 – Melbourne.
Figure 12.Spatial distribution of disadvantage, (a) 1986 and (b) 2011 – Perth.
west and east of the inner city in 1986 have all but disappeared, one of the most notable eects by
2011 is the growth of already-existing core suburban locations of disadvantage. Expansion of these
middle suburban locations of Canterbury-Bankstown and further out west, focused on the already
established centres of Liverpool and Faireld, are quite evident.
In addition, there is also evidence of the emergence of smaller ex-urban clusters of disadvantaged
populations in the rural peripheries beyond the metro areas, especially in Brisbane and Melbourne.
6. Conclusions
Inequality has emerged as a key issue in contemporary global debates. Christine Lagarde, speaking at
an elite conference on “Inclusive Capitalism” held in London in 2014, argued that policy makers should
do more than just talk about closing the gap between rich and poor (Elliott 2014). She stressed that it
is time to actually do something about it, such as re-introducing more progressive income taxes and
property taxes, if nothing else than to avoid more widespread social unrest. With President Obama
speaking publicly on rising inequality as “the dening challenge of our time” (quoted in Lewis 2013),
exactly 50years aer President Johnson had earlier declared “a war poverty”, inequality is back with
a vengeance.
But how are these wider processes of inequality and the patterns of socio-spatial change connected,
and why does this matter? Put simply, rising inequality does not take place in a geographic vacuum.
How cities are restructuring themselves socio-economically has signicant implications for those
aected. While at a societal level greater degrees of inequality in a country are associated with lower
levels of perceived happiness (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009, Oishi and Kesebir 2015), in relation to
the impact that inequality has had on the geography of socio-economic wellbeing Richard Florida
has recently concluded:
e forces limiting economic mobility are quintessentially geographic in nature. It is not just a split job market
and growing economic inequality that confront us, but the deepening geographic separation, segregation and
isolation of people and communities. Our emerging geography is increasingly one of concentrated advantage
juxtaposed with concentrated disadvantage. (Florida 2013, n.p.)
Again from the US, a recent study by Sharkey and Graham (2013) of 96 metropolitan areas showed that
neighbourhood economic segregation is linked closely to the opportunity for economic mobility. e
more highly segregated a city is, the lower the rate of upward economic mobility for those at the bottom
Figure 13.Spatial distribution of disadvantage, (a) 1986 and (b) 2011 – Sydney.
of the economic scale. In other words, geography is a signicant factor in determining an individu-
al’s socio-economic capacity. e longer term social—and political—implications of this process for
Australia’s cities have been evident for some time. A quarter of a century ago, Stretton (1989) argued:
Inequality once entrenched perpetuates and increases itself; the relations of rich and poor suburbs grow more
like those of rich and poor countries. Once segregated, many of the inequalities are irreversible, even with the
best-intentioned aid programs. (Stretton 1989, p. 108)
e importance of place in determining life chances was recognised by former Australian Prime
Minister Gough Whitlam, over 40years ago:
Increasingly, a citizen’s real standard of living the health of himself and his family, his children’s opportunities
for education and self-improvement, his access to employment opportunities, his ability to enjoy the nation’s
resources for recreation and culture, his ability to participate in the decisions and actions of the community
are determined not by his income, not by the hours he works, but by where he lives. (quoted in Troy 1981, p. 17
(our emphasis))
In a more gender neutral sense, these observations hold even truer today. More recently, Berry (2013)
has also noted the negative impacts on urban eciency and equity that increased spatial polarisation
is generating. In the US, Kneebone and Holmes (2015) have argued that as the working poor have
shied into the suburbs they have become increasingly distanced from job opportunities.
is issue is all the more critical given research pointing to the growing concentration of high-level,
knowledge-intensive employment in central city nancial hubs and “innovation districts” which are
generating increased labour (and therefore urban) productivity (SGS Economics and Planning 2012,
Katz and Bradley 2013, Major Cities Unit 2013). ese newly revitalised central cities are leaving
suburban labour markets, and their increasingly disadvantaged populations, lagging behind. is
process has been termed “e Great Inversion” by Alan Ehrenhalt (2012). e centrifugal forces
that spread employment and housing away from city centres during the twentieth century have been
replaced by a centripetal force pulling economic activity and housing investment back into the centre.
Fishman (2011) has labelled this process the “h migration”, leading to the “re-urbanisation” of
the inner city. If so, this the twenty-rst century equivalent of the processes that contributed to the
inner city crises of the 1960s and 1970s, to which extensive urban renewal and regeneration policy
interventions were subsequently directed. In eect, the old crisis of the inner city is being substituted
by a new crisis of suburbia. e resulting shi in the locus of disadvantage, in part driven by the
arrival of new immigrant communities, has signicant implications for the delivery of urban services,
infrastructure and broader urban policy. ese implications will need to be fully understood if the
roll out of Australian metropolitan planning strategies aimed at reshaping our cities over the next
thirty years is to be successful.
But what are the chances of the process of rising urban inequality and the suburbanisation of
disadvantage becoming a signicant issue in contemporary policy debates on Australian cities? One
analysis of the contemporary economic forces reshaping our cities has concluded that the decline of
Australia’s suburbs is probably an inevitable consequence of the push for enhanced urban productivity
though the greater densication of jobs and housing in the central city (Kelly et al. 2014). In some
contrast, other commentators have argued that the needs of the suburbs need to be fully incorporated
into metropolitan policy-making (Committee for Sydney 2014). e announcement of a new Minister
for Cities under the Turnbull Coalition Government in September 2015 may presage a new phase
in the development of urban policy in Australia. While this welcome development might mark the
emergence of a bi-partisan approach to the Australian city at long last, it remains to be seen whether
the broader issues of city-wide social and economic polarisation and the suburbanisation of disad-
vantage will emerge as a key policy focus.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Notes on contributor
Bill Randolph is Professor and Director of the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW, which he set up in 2005. His
interests span urban policy, metropolitan planning, housing aordability, urban renewal, high-density housing markets
and aordability and socio-spatial inequalities. Andrew Tice is a senior demographer at NSW Planning and Environment.
Interests include developing small area projections and socio-economic proles. is is supported by use of migration
and local mobility information to understand urban dynamics.
Bill Randolph 
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... Chapter 4 presents the Sydney analysis, which is directed more towards the body of Australian research on the supply and location of low-cost private rental housing (Hulse, Reynolds et al. 2019;Randolph and Tice 2014;Yates and Wood 2005). This analysis adopts an experimental 'property biography' approach to filtering, examining where the present stock of rental properties, including those affordable to low-income households, has come from in terms of tenure, rental price point, and development history. ...
... In Sydney, in particular, new greenfield housing has been less of a premium product for some time. Housing market segmentation by demand geography (Randolph and Tice 2014) shows that the 'suburban conveyor belt' of households moving out to new dwellings stopped in Sydney's southwest. Empirically, these processes are sometimes captured by including non-linear terms for housing age, but overall it is clear that age is only a partial indicator of quality. ...
... The spatial poverty theory argues that geographical and locational factors shape patterns of poverty (Krugman, 1991). Studies have therefore shown spatial fragmentations and concentrations in urban poverty patterns along the urban gradient (i.e. from inner core city to the suburban) (Bernhardt, 2014;Randolph & Tice, 2016;Tong & Kim, 2019). ...
Urban poverty research on African cities has focused mainly on megacities and large metropolitan areas. Despite their critical role in Africa's urbanization and development, secondary cities have received limited scholarly attention. Studies on secondary cities are unidimensional and rely mostly on secondary information from national census data. Using Wa, a secondary city in Ghana, this study assesses spatial patterns and determinants of multidimensional poverty, measured by two metrics: multidimensional poverty index (MPI) and multidimen-sional energy poverty index (MEPI). Spatially explicit primary data were collected from 775 households differentiated into core and fringe neighbourhoods. Mean MPI was significantly lower in core neighbourhoods than in fringe neighbourhoods. However, we found no statistically significant difference in MEPI between core and fringe neighbourhoods. The distribution of MPI is variably influenced by location and space but not MEPI. Although MPI was generally low, most areas with low MPI still had high MEPI, suggesting that energy access may be major problem even in secondary cities with low poverty. MPI was largely influenced negatively by household size and education. There was a significant negative relationship between MEPI and the food consumption score, suggesting a strong inverse relationship between food security and energy poverty. Together, the findings imply that scaling up the adoption of clean cooking energy in secondary cities can play a key role in addressing multidimensional urban poverty and advancing urban sustainability.
... Many would argue that the neoliberal hegemony has exacerbated urban socio-economic polarisation (Skopek et al., 2011;Musterd/Ostendorf, 2013). This has led to rising inequality and social injustice (Hedin et al., 2012;Marois/Pradella, 2014;Randolph/Tice, 2014). 'Neoliberalism' is contentious, labelled an "academic catchphrase" (Boas/Gans-Morse, 2009: 138) and a "rascal concept" (Brenner et al., 2010). ...
It is increasingly clear that, alongside the spectacular forms of justice activism, the actually existing just city outcomes from different everyday practices of performative politics that produce transformative trajectories and alternative realities in response to particular injustices in situated contexts. The massive diffusion of urban gardening practices (including allotments, community gardens, guerrilla gardening and the multiple, inventive forms of gardening the city) deserve a special attention as experiential learning and in-becoming responses to spatial politics, able to articulate different forms of power and resistance to current state of unequal distribution of benefits and burdens in the urban space. While advancing their socio-environmental claims, urban gardeners makes evident that the physical disposition of living beings and non-living things can both determine and perpetuate injustices or create justice spaces. In so doing, urban gardeners question the inequality-biased structuring and functioning of social formations (most notably urban deprivation, lack of public decision and engagement, and marginalization processes); and conversely create (or allow the creation of) spaces of justice in contemporary cities. This book presents a selection of contributions investigating the possibility and capability of urban gardeners to effectively tackling with spatial injustice; and it offers the readers a sound theoretically-grounded reflections on the topic. Building upon on-the-field experiences in European cities, it presents a wide range of engaged scholarly researches that investigate whether, how and to what extend urban gardening is able to contrast inequalities and disparities in living conditions.
... From an equity perspective, our results suggest that city size matters, reinforcing Sarkar et al.'s (Sarkar et al., 2022) argument that 'big cities are the engines of inequality'. Our results confirm that disadvantage has been suburbanised in larger Australian cities, corroborating earlier findings from Sydney (Randolph and Tice, 2014). While larger cities offer opportunities, they have the potential to widen inequities by displacing lower income households from amenity-rich areas to poorly-served low density outer suburban areas as they grow and gentrify (Badland, Pearce;Gurstein et al., 2018). ...
Spatial and area-level socioeconomic variation in urban liveability (access to social infrastructure, public transport, open space, healthy food choices, local employment, street connectivity, dwelling density, and housing affordability) was examined and mapped across 39,967 residential statistical areas in Australia's metropolitan (n = 7) and largest regional cities (n = 14). Urban liveability varied spatially, with inner-city areas more liveable than outer suburbs. Disadvantaged areas in larger metropolitan cities were less liveable than advantaged areas, but this pattern was reversed in smaller cities. Local data could inform policies to redress inequities, including those designed to avoid disadvantage being suburbanised as cities grow and gentrify.
... Our city of focus, Sydney, Australia, is considered one of the least affordable cities in the world [11], and segregation is increasing in Sydney [12]. As such, it is important to have an enhanced understanding of the nexus between accessibility, income segregation, and house prices in this area given the paucity of existing research. ...
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Cities often show residential income segregation, and the price of housing is generally related to employment accessibility, but how do these factors intersect? We analyse Greater Sydney, Australia, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. Sydney is found to have reasonably even employment accessibility by car, reflecting the increasingly polycentric nature of the modern city; however, it also shows considerable income segregation and variance in property prices between different parts of the city. Entropy is used to examine diversity and mixing of different income groups. Finally, hedonic price models using ordinary-least squares and geographically-weighted regression techniques show the differing effects of employment accessibility on house prices in different parts of the city. The results show that accessibility has small to negative effects on prices in the most valuable areas, suggesting that other effects such as recreational access and employment type/quality may be more important determinants of house prices in these areas.
This article unpacks the connection between a growing cohort of small‐scale but purposive property investors and urban socio‐spatial restructuring. We analyse private rental housing as a tenure share to demonstrate its spatial correlation with the suburbanisation of socio‐economic disadvantage in Sydney, Australia, between 1991 and 2016. Then, we show how investors drive this emerging pattern by reference to the geography of property owners’ stated investment objectives—low capital outlay, rental yields, and capital growth prospects. We contend that the link between their small‐scale activities and the city’s changing socio‐spatial structure is an overlooked consequence of private rental sector (PRS) housing financialisation. Importantly, our focus on behaviours exhibited by small‐scale rental property owners in PRS financialisation transcends existing analyses that have concentrated on corporate entity activity in this space. That focus also contrasts with framings of private rental growth as a residual outcome of developments elsewhere in the housing market. Such work is significant because it demonstrates the impacts of real estate investment on urban form. Small‐scale landlords pursuing high rental yields from a low capital outlay are linked to an uneven growth rate of private rental as a tenure share within different parts of Sydney, Australia, and so to the subsequent geography of social disadvantage within the urban region.
Property valuation plays a significant role in urban economics and is of great importance to various stakeholders who interact and shape the city, including property owners, buyers, banks, land developers, real estate agents, local councils and government planning authorities. In the literature, various predictive models have been proposed to automate the calculation of property value, most of which endeavour to factor in the combination of property characteristics, market factors and location-based attributes associated with individual properties use large citywide databases. At the same time, it has been widely acknowledged that regional sub-areas have impacts on property price prediction. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the performance of various techniques on sub-areas using the Greater Sydney Region as the study area. The sub-area in this paper is defined as the statistical areas (SAs) as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In particular, two different SA geographies (SA4, SA3) along with the City Level are adopted to understand the spatial dependence which occurs at different levels. With real-world transaction records and data collected from a diverse range of sources, various methods including the traditional hedonic price model (HPM) and popular machine learning (ML) approaches are implemented and evaluated for property price prediction. Two different property markets for residential property are modelled, being for housing stock and apartment (unit) stock. Experimental results show that Random Forest and Gradient Boosting-based methods outperform other approaches in most scenarios and that the high spatial resolution property sub-area (SA3) improved the performance in terms of overall model accuracy. This research provides insights into how sub-area machine learning models can be employed in real estate to characterize property price, and helps understand the influential factors in different local geographical areas for policy-making.
Objectives: To systematically review the literature on measures social workers undertake to facilitate discharge planning for older people in a resource-scarce environment. Methods: Systematic search of electronic databases for peer-reviewed articles published in English between January 1990 and August 2020. Articles on hospital discharge planning facilitated by social workers for older patients returning home from hospital admission were included. The Mixed Method Appraisal Tool (MMAT) was used to assess quality and risk of bias. The systematic literature review protocol has been registered with PROSPERO on 27 August 2021. Results: Six studies from Canada and the United States met the eligibility criteria. The most common support measures employed by hospital social workers when discharge planning for older patients were assessment, education, care co-ordination, liaison and engagement with families and providers, conflict resolution, counselling and postdischarge follow-up. Barriers to effective discharge planning were medical complexity, lack of communication, time constraints, limited family support, availability of resources and patient safety. These studies were published between 1993 and 2014 and were not within the Australian context. Conclusions: There are limited studies on Social Work discharge planning within the Australian context, particularly on how this important service has been impacted by recent aged care reforms. More research on the topic is necessary to fully understand how aged care reforms such as the National Prioritisation System for Home Care Packages have influenced hospital discharge planning and how social workers have adapted their practice to this challenge.
The pursuit of social justice via the various urban programs of both the Commonwealth (Building Better Cities) and the States has been compromised well into the 1990s by the accelerated restructuring of the Australian economy and the high unemployment that will persist in its wake. The likelihood is that whilst recovery is now underway, even the more optimistic forecasts of economic growth (3–4 per cent) will not create enough jobs to lower unemployment much beyond 5 or 6 per cent before the end of the decade. According to a recent report on the medium-term outlook for the economy prepared by the Economic Planning Advisory Council (EPAC) (1993), this would still leave between 140 000 and 220 000 long-term unemployed out of work by the year 2001, and pockets of ‘hard-core’ poverty and inequity within the cities. The federal Labor administration has to bear a major part of the responsibility for this given the policies pursued throughout the 1980s, not the least being the over-reliance on monetary stimuli at the expense of fiscal measures. This claim is followed through in the second section of this chapter by examining some of the income and wealth effects in the markets for labour, housing, and public services that I believe will make for a more rather than less unequal Australian society.
This is the second of a two‐volume study of the adjustment of advanced welfare states to international economic pressures, in which leading scholars detail the wide variety of responses in 12 countries to the challenges to their employment and social policy systems in the period between the first oil‐price crises of the early 1970s and the increasing economic globalization of the 1980s and 1990s. Chapters in this volume provide in‐depth studies of countries’ adjustment experiences over three decades, beginning with a snapshot of the ‘golden age’ of the welfare state c.1970, then proceeding with a chronology of the successive external economic challenges and internal policy responses up until today, ending with a depiction of the new model or model in the making, and of what went right and what went wrong. The country studies include three welfare states representing the ‘Anglo‐Saxon’ model (the UK, Australia, and New Zealand), seven varieties of the ‘Continental’ welfare state (Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy), and two ‘Scandinavian’ welfare states (Sweden and Denmark). In addition, the volume includes analyses focusing on cross‐national differences in the labour‐market participation of women and of older workers, on the employment effects of service liberalization, and on international tax competition.
In the three decades to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality as measured by GINI increased in a large majority of OECD countries. This occurred even when countries were going through a period of sustained economic and employment growth. This report analyses the major underlying forces behind these developments. It examines to which extent economic globalisation, skill-biased technological progress and institutional and regulatory reforms have had an impact on the distribution of earnings. The report further provides evidence of how changes in family formation and household structures have altered household earnings and income inequality. And it documents how tax and benefit systems have changed in the ways they redistribute household incomes. The report discusses which policies are most promising to counter increases in inequalities and how the policy mix can be adjusted when public budgets are under strain. "Analyses rely on simple statistical techniques that are accessible to a large readership... the graphic and charts are of great help to gain a quick visual grasp of the various issues addressed."
Provides an interpretation of inner city problems by examining the processes which fashion them. A case-study approach, which looks at the historical growth and decline of present-day cities, is adopted, and the authors question the efficacy of government policy, and the utilization of present resources and the means for additional money. Contributors draw on the experience of all the major British conurbantions, and they each attempt to pull together the policy implications of their analyses, with many critical of government inner city strategies. Each of the constituent papers is abstracted separately. -after Editor
It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Back in the 1960s tackling poverty “in place” meant focusing resources in the inner city and in rural areas. The suburbs were seen as home to middle- and upper-class families affluent commuters and homeowners looking for good schools and safe communities in which to raise their kids. But today’s America is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem, but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America. After decades in which suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, the 2000s marked a tipping point. Suburbia is now home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country and more than half of the metropolitan poor. However, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. As Kneebone and Berube cogently demonstrate, the solution no longer fits the problem. The spread of suburban poverty has many causes, including shifts in affordable housing and jobs, population dynamics, immigration, and a struggling economy. The phenomenon raises several daunting challenges, such as the need for more (and better) transportation options, services, and financial resources. But necessity also produces opportunity in this case, the opportunity to rethink and modernize services, structures, and procedures so that they work in more scaled, cross-cutting, and resource-efficient ways to address widespread need. This book embraces that opportunity. Kneebone and Berube paint a new picture of poverty in America as well as the best ways to combat it. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America offers a series of workable recommendations for public, private, and nonprofit leaders seeking to modernize poverty alleviation and community development strategies and connect residents with economic opportunity. The authors highlight efforts in metro areas where local leaders are learning how to do more with less and adjusting their approaches to address the metropolitan scale of poverty for example, integrating services and service delivery, collaborating across sectors and jurisdictions, and using data-driven and flexible funding strategies. “We believe the goal of public policy must be to provide all families with access to communities, whether in cities or suburbs, that offer a high quality of life and solid platform for upward mobility over time. Understanding the new reality of poverty in metropolitan America is a critical step toward realizing that goal.”.
This book puts middle Australia under the microscope, examining how quality of life is faring in the face of change and uncertainty. 400 Australians from around the country shared their experiences of work, family, and community for this book, creating a striking picture of Australian society into a new millennium. This lived experience is set against hard data so that we can truly understand the impact - good and bad - of economic restructuring on the broad Australian middle class. Meticulously researched, it mounts a moral and intellectual counter-argument to economic reform. A sequel to the best-selling Economic Rationalism in Canberra, Michael Pusey's book will be equally important.