Introduction to Engagement
Understanding the diversity and dynamism of the Australian and Victorian population is fundamental in developing capability to engage the community in the delivery of its vision for sustainability. An ageing population, increasing cultural diversity, lower birth-rates, higher education rates, significant change in religious affiliations and increased participation of women in labour markets; coupled with the ongoing, rapid rate of technological change, present challenges and opportunities for decision-makers.
It is important to be aware that there will be diversity within the commonly used community or social categories. For example, not all men will share the same view on an issue and neither will all Muslim women. In addition, any individual may be described by more than one of these categories; for example, a female may be young, from Sudan and have a physical disability.
The following snapshot of information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001 Census illustrates the diversity of Victorian communities and highlights the need for effective engagement by government.
- 0.6% of the total Victorian population (25,078) are Indigenous Australians.
- 52% live outside of the Melbourne metropolitan area compared with 27% of the non-Indigenous population.
- 57% are under 25 years of age compared with 34% for the total population.
- 2.9% are over 65 compared with 12.6% for the total population.
- 24% of Victorians (1,083,048) were born overseas in 233 different countries.
- 44% of Victorians were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas.
- 72% of those born overseas were born in non-English speaking countries.
- 72% of Victorians follow 116 different religions.
- 21% of Victorians speak a language other than English at home, comprising 180 different languages and dialects.
- 34% of the population is under 25.
- 19% of Victorians (932,000) are between the ages of 12-25.
- 74% of all young Victorians live in metropolitan Melbourne.
- The population is ageing. Currently, 17% of the population is 60 years of age or over. This will grow to nearly 25% in 2021.
- The number of seniors in rural Victoria will grow twice as rapidly as those in metropolitan areas in the next 20 years.
- 51% (2,365,889) of Victorians are female and 49% (2,246,208) are male.
- Women comprise 54.3% of Victorians with Bachelor degrees, and 38.5% of Victorians with postgraduate degrees.
- There were 55,100 female apprentices and trainees in training as of 31 March 2004, comprising 41.1% of the total number of apprentices and trainees.
- Victorian women's average weekly earnings are 20% lower than those of Victorian men.
- 18.7% of Victorian women and 17.2% of Victorian men (395,300) have some form of disability that is considered profound, severe, moderate or mild.
- There are an estimated 150,000 people with severe or profound disabilities in Victoria.