Southside Initiative Focus 2024

This year the Southside Initiative will continue to be driven by the Australian Early Development Census 2021 (AEDC) because when it comes to national performance, Canberra continues to underperform. In fact, in 2021 the ACT had the second highest level of developmental vulnerability and experienced the most significant increase in developmentally vulnerability over time across Australia. When we look closer at the ACT you can see clearly that Tuggeranong has experienced a concerning increase from 2009 to 2021.   

Source AEDC Data 2021

The AEDC data shows how children have developed as they start their first year at full-time school. The data highlights what is working well and what needs to be improved or developed to better support children and their families.  

The AEDC data is important because it is Australia's only national census of children in their early years. From a community perspective, the data provides common ground for Tuggeranong schools, early childhood services and community organisations to work together to build and strengthen the region and to help shape the future and wellbeing of Tuggeranong children.

Since 2009 the AEDC data has indicated a statistically significant increase in the percentage of Tuggeranong children identified as developmentally vulnerable across 1 or more domains. 

The graph (above right) shows how the Canberra regions perform when compared to the ACT and Australia averages. 

The diagram below shows clearly that in 2021 Tuggeranong performed worse than the ACT and national average across all the 5 AEDC domains and 3 summary indicators. 

Source - AEDC Data 2021

Our Data Mapping 

The Southside Initiative has recently undertaken a data mapping exercise to identify areas in the south of Canberra where more family services/supports may be required. Our mapping exercise collated the following data to better understand the Tuggeranong region:

  • AEDC Results 2021
  • My School - ICSEA (Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage) & SEA (Distribution of Socio-Educational Advantage)
  • Census Data 2021
  • ACT Housing Stock 2017 

My School
Publishes nationally consistent school-level data about every school in Australia. The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) score uses the parent’s educational level, non-education, their occupation and location of school to assess the educational performance of the school. The percentile measure compares schools across Australia. The Distribution of Socio-Educational Advantage (SEA) is also displayed for every school - this measures relative advantage or disadvantage of students in a school based on their individual characteristics. It divides students into four quarters, from the bottom quarter (most disadvantaged) to the top quarter (most advantaged).
Indigenous and Language Other Than English (LBOTE) is the percentage of the student cohort in that category – whilst there is no direct correlation with educational performance it can indicate the educational vulnerability of the child.

Census 2021
Collected information on mental health and chronic health conditions together with the information on socio-economic measures. The health data for the Tuggeranong suburbs has been compared to the ACT average. It is expected that lower socio-economic communities will have a higher ill health burden, both mental and physical health. ACT (10%) has a higher percentage of mental ill-health than Australia (8.8%). Many suburbs in Tuggeranong reported over 10%.  

Most of the ACT Government housing is allocated through priority housing meaning every family being housed must have urgent, exceptional or critical needs such as escaping domestic violence, mental health diagnosis, serious and chronic illness, disability, First Nations people with complex issues and children at risk of neglect or abuse. Therefore, suburbs with high concentrations of housing stock will also tend to have larger numbers of vulnerable families.

Supporting Tuggeranong Families in 2024

The Southside Initiative will work with selected Tuggeranong schools, early childhood centres and community services to offer the following initiatives: 

  • Cost of Living @Schools 
  • PERKS 0-8 Parenting Workshops 
  • More Playgroups 
  • Community Events 
  • Support Local Schools 
  • Develop, Maintain and Share Digital Resources That Support Families 

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