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Fault Lines Exposed: Advantage and Disadvantage Across Australia’s Settlement System


In Australia, as well as in many other advanced nations, there has emerged a considerable debate about the social, economic and spatial impacts of the fundamental processes of change that have been occurring over the last few decades. Of particular concern have been the effects of globalisation, economic restructuring, demographic and social changes, as well as associated political transformations and processes of social exclusion and disadvantage. This concern is felt at the level of individuals, households and at broader aggregate levels such as localities, cities, towns and regions. It is this broader level that has most concerned us in this book. Questions have been asked about who are the winners and who are the losers in the rapid and complex transformation of our society from an isolated, protected, industrial era to a more open global era of the service and information economy.

It is within this context that the research outlined in this book is presented. In particular the book contains the results of a nation wide analysis of advantage and disadvantage across Australia’s settlement system. The research involves the development of typologies of localities and cities, towns and regions focusing on a range of socio-economic outcomes and identifies in a broad way places that have benefited and gained advantage from the changing circumstances and places that have been losers. The information presented in the book is divided into analyses of:


  • Localities in the extended metropolitan regions
  • Large non-metropolitan cities, towns and regions
  • Small non-metropolitan cities, towns and regions
  • Rural towns and regions


Each chapter presents data at the aggregate level of broad groupings of places, as well as a range of selected indicators for each locality.

The key output from the analysis is a comprehensive, systematic and consistent framework for analysing the performance of localities across Australia’s metropolitan and non-metropolitan cities, towns and regions. The explicit focus is on measuring advantage and disadvantage in the context of the changes that have occurred in Australia’s economy and society. As such, the research provides an important step in providing an expanded analytical framework which might assist in formulating regional social and economic policy approaches.


Fault Lines Exposed: Advantage and Disadvantage Across Australia’s Settlement System

   by Scott Baum, Kevin O’Connor & Robert Stimson