Abstract: Since 1998 the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research has prepared an annual State of the Regions report for the Australian Local Government Association. The report includes coverage of urban as well as country regions - for example, the Sydney metropolitan area is divided into nine regions and South East Queensland comprises six regions, one of which is Gold Coast. Each report includes an array of data for each region. These data are also available by Local Government Areas. The data is intended for use in local economic development planning and project assessment and is collated from a wide variety of sources.
The paper describes the availability of primary data at regional level, including the Census and administrative data available by postcode (especially Social Security and tax statistics), housing sales and prices and local government valuation data. Survey data are also discussed, including methods by which surveys can provide local estimates for variables not explicitly observed at the local level. The paper takes the City of Gold Coast as an example and compares the economy Gold Coast with that of Australia as a whole and also with other selected regions. The structure of the Gold Coast economy is similar to that of Australia as a whole in many respects, though its dependence on tourism as an economic base results in lower than average value added per person employed.
The papers presented at the 2015 State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) were organised into seven broad themes but all shared, to varying degrees, a common focus on the ways in which high quality academic research can be used in the development and implementation of policy. The relationship between empirical evidence and theoretical developments that are presented as part of our scholarly endeavours and policy processes is rarely clear and straightforward. Sometimes, perhaps because of the fortuitous alignment of various factors, our research has a direct and positive impact on policy. Sometimes it takes longer to be noticed and have influence and, sometimes, there is no little or no evidence of impact beyond or even with the academy. And while there are things we can do to promote the existence of our work and to present it in more accessible formats to people we believe to be influential, ultimately the appreciation and application of our work lies in the hands of others.
This paper is one of 164 papers that have each been reviewed and refereed by our peers and revised accordingly. While they each will have been presented briefly at the SOAC conference, they can now be read or re-read at your leisure. We hope they will stimulate further debate and discussion and form a platform for further research.
Adapted from the SOAC 7 conference proceedings introduction by Paul Burton and Heather Shearer
The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.
SOAC 7 was held in the City of Gold Coast from 9-11 December 2015. The conference featured leading national and local politicians and policy makers who shared their views on some of the current challenges facing cities and how these might be overcome in the future.