It has become easier to track Newcastle-Maitland’s progress in comparison with the rest of the nation’s major cities, with a new online tool that the federal government has launched today.
The National Cities Performance Framework Dashboard allows anyone to compare Newcastle-Maitland with 20 of Australia’s largest cities, as well as Western Sydney.
Housing, jobs, unemployment, population, planning, skills, infrastructure and livability data are among the 46 indicators available to browse on the dashboard.
Cities with a population of more than 80,000 were included in the resource, ranging from Sydney to Mackay.
It shows that Newcastle-Maitland ranks 15th in youth unemployment, at 10.7 per cent, with Townsville topping the list at 22.4 per cent.
According to the dashboard, Newcastle-Maitland ranked 13th in the general unemployment stakes, with 5.32 per cent – though the top general unemployment rate, in Townsville, was significantly lower than the highest youth jobless figure.
It also shows that Newcastle-Maitland experienced 2.17 per cent employment growth in the past year.
The city placed second-last in the ranking of the rate of residents who had finished Year 12 (44.4 per cent), but came fourth in the percentage of people who had completed certificate three, certificate four or diploma tertiary studies (29 per cent).
In terms of liveability, Newcastle-Maitland ranked seventh out of 22 for the highest obesity rates, ninth in the proportion of people aged 18 or older who feel safe leaving their home after dark (51.8 per cent) and 10th in accessibility to crisis support.
While the tool allows you to compare the 22 locations across the board, users can manually choose which cities they want to examine and measure as few as two places of interest beside each other.
For example, you could choose to compare cities that are geographically close - like Newcastle-Maitland and Sydney - or those with similar population sizes - such as Newcastle-Maitland and Canberra.
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the tool was useful because it would give the government a greater insight into how policies could affect each individual city.
“With our regional cities, the great challenge is getting enough jobs and economic growth for their prosperity,” he said. “Whereas in the bigger capitals, the huge challenge is jobs close to where you live, managing connections between where you live and where you work and making sure our housing is affordable. So we see here the fingerprint of a range of different cities.”