Highland lifestyle still the best

COUNCIL rates, rugged roads, the lack of medical services, impact of mining on the region and high cost of living are the daily grumbles - but overall, we’re a happy bunch.

That’s because we live in communities where it’s safe to raise a family and stroll the streets, where the people are friendly, the mateship is strong and it’s “not so small that you don’t have any facilities, but not so big that it’s citified”.

They’re some of the results in the Central Highlands Community Satisfaction Survey 2010.

First conducted in 2008, one of the biggest decreases in satisfaction was that less than 25% of the 463 residents polled now feel the current rate charges are unreasonable.

“Satisfaction was lowest in the Springsure/Rolleston area,” according to the survey’s summary. “There was also an increase in the proportion of residents claiming they would rather have reduced services in return for lower rates.

“Respondents generally reported they feel that rural areas are the most disadvantaged by the current provision of services.”

Conducted by CQUniversity’s population research laboratory Institute for Health and Social Science Research department in December, Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said the telephone survey indicated overall trends in the community and was a vital planning tool.

“The report is extremely comprehensive and will take us some time to analyse, but some of the results already indicate that we are on the right track,” he said.

“The questions we asked this time are basically the same as the last time...

“Very high proportions (95%) of Central Highlands’ residents enjoy living in the area and this has remained unchanged over the two years.

“They find their communities friendly, safe, and a good place to bring up their children and I would have to agree with them there.”

Cr Maguire said community satisfaction levels with council customer service had “declined slightly”, but more residents were happy than not.

The survey’s summary cited satisfaction with council’s community consultation and responding to the community as the biggest drop on 2008 figures.

“The majority of respondents are satisfied with the councillors they dealt with directly and about half feel their local councillors are more dedicated to serving the community than State or Federal parliamentarians,” the summary said.

“... Since 2008 there has been a decrease in the proportion of respondents who feel that local government is doing its best to look after all the communities in the region.

“(However) half feel that local government has a good knowledge of local issues and what local communities want.”

What the people want is “affordable housing, rent control, cheaper.... affordable housing for low income earners”.

Other comments included a second airline, northbound flights, a better hospital, shopping facilities, youth activities, entertainment and camps to be put on mine sites.

“Very high proportions (95%) of Central Highlands’ residents enjoy living in the area and this has remained unchanged over the two years.”

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