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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sydney: A Tale of Two Cities?

Sydney is home to Australia's sharpest divide between rich and poor.

The harbourside suburb of Milsons Point was rated Australia's most advantaged and Claymore in the south-west the most disadvantaged in a new study by sociologist Scott Baum, based on 2006 Census data. Associate Professor Baum said the study, for Brisbane's Griffith University Urban Research Program, was not just based on real estate prices or household incomes.

It included a number of factors, including participation in the labour market, public housing, whether or not they spoke English well, the number of single parents and the number of elderly people in the suburb who required help on a daily basis.

"It's interesting that Sydney, the most global city and the one that is supposedly pulled along by the global economy, is also the most polarised," Prof Baum said.

"So, in a large sense, you've got this feeling that some suburbs have more in common with places in New York and London than they do with suburbs in their own city. "In Sydney's case, it really is a tale of two cities."

Researchers drew on the Census data to compare and overlay several indicators of disadvantage to come up with a rating, with "band one" being the poorest or most deprived and "band six" the wealthiest or least deprived.

Melbourne was rated the most liveable city, with its worst deprivation in the suburban industrial heartland of Broadmeadows and Sunshine.

East Melbourne and newly-gentrified inner urban areas of Docklands were least disadvantaged.
"While not suffering the extreme polarisation of Sydney, economic spin-offs (in Melbourne) ... don't flow evenly across the metropolitan area," Prof Baum said.

Neither Brisbane nor Perth had a band one area of highest deprivation, but Brisbane's outer suburbs of Inala and Logan Central were rated as band two, along with Perth's Karawara and Crawley.

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