This study develops a measurement tool to assess the economic health, human capital, social well-being and liveability of regional locations. The study is guided by developments in the professional literature related to measuring these four dimensions. Information was compiled from existing databases for 72 indicators used to generate four indices: Economic Health, Human Capital, Social Well-being, and Liveability. Index measures are reported for local government authority (LGAs) and Victorian State levels. The four indices provide a new quantitative tool to capture the effects from, and so reflect, economic, social and policy changes impacting across Victoria. Further application of this tool may be provided through periodic data updates over time using data captured on a national scale.
The regional focus of the present study is the Latrobe Valley located in the Gippsland region of Victoria. The Latrobe Valley encompasses the LGAs of Baw Baw, Latrobe City and Wellington Shires. In addition, index values are reported for 16 towns located within the three LGAs and we include these findings as Appendix 1. For comparative purposes, the study also reports index values for the Gippsland region (comprising LGAs of Baw-Baw, Bass Coast, East Gippsland, Latrobe City, South Gippsland and Wellington Shire), the State of Victoria, and regional (non-metropolitan areas) using averages. Data were gathered for all 79 Victorian LGAs.
The study results provide a measurement framework constructed from a comprehensive application of available databases. The end-product is a significant “tool” that identifies and summates enablers of economic productivity and social and community development. The tool provides evidenced-based measures to inform policy recommendations with regard to strategic intervention options and ensuing impacts on regional sustainability.