Addressing Disadvantage

Health and Wellbeing Pillar


Across the G21 region there is significant disparity between advantaged and disadvantaged groups.

The SEIFA Index of Disadvantage (1) found that communities in the G21 region are among Victoria’s most disadvantaged. Colac East is the second most disadvantaged suburb in the state; Norlane is third, Whittington is eighteenth and Corio twenty-sixth.

There are also target areas below the Victorian average on some key critical indicators (2)

  • There is a very high rate of disengaged youth. (Victorian average 8.2%, in pockets of Corio this is as high as 53.6%).
  • There is a high rate of low income households. (Victorian average 18.3%, in pockets of Norlane this is as high as 52.1%).
  • There is a very high proportion of housing stress. (Victorian average 11.4%, in pockets of Corio this is as high as 25.7%).
  • A higher than average unemployment rate. (Victorian average 5.2%, in pockets of Norlane this is as high as 25.3%).
  • A higher than average youth unemployment rate. (Victorian average 12.3%, in pockets of Norlane this is as high as 75%).

This issue impacts the entire G21 region. To evolve and grow as a community we must take a united approach that helps build the economy and create jobs in under resourced communities.

We must also address causes central to disadvantage. This includes access to quality educational opportunities from early childhood, access to services that will improve health and wellbeing outcomes, and encompasses issues such as public transport and affordable housing.

This is a long-term and severe problem and ongoing funding is required.

1 SEIFA is derived from the Census and can indicate the relative level of social and economic wellbeing of a region. The index is constructed based on a series of variables that include income, education, employment, occupation and housing.
2 ABS Census 2016.


Addressing Disadvantage in the G21 Region – Using Place-based Investment Approaches 
GROW Strategic Plan

Project Aim

G21 Region Opportunities for Work (GROW) is based on significant international evidence that the best way to reduce areas of persistent disadvantage in a community is to reduce unemployment rates in those areas.

GROW will bring together philanthropic, business, government and community organisations across the G21 region to create new job opportunities in areas that have the highest levels of joblessness and persistent disadvantage. It will do this by targeting two significant means of job growth - procurement and investment.

GROW will support public and private sectors to direct their routine spend on local suppliers and products, creating new jobs which can potentially employ people from target areas.

It will also encourage investment in SME’s, allowing them to begin or expand operations within targeted areas, with a view to local job creation.

And it will use ‘demand-led brokerage’ to link jobs and job seekers, providing incentives for the employment of suitably trained people from targeted areas.

GROW will focus on target areas in the G21 region with the highest levels of unemployment. Colac, Corio, Norlane and Whittington will be the initial focus; where unemployment is at double-digit levels, and well above regional and state averages.

Funding is also required across targeted areas in the G21 region to implement strategies that:

  • regenerate large areas currently dominated by social housing
  • restructure educational facilities to increase attendance and engagement
  • improve access to education facilities and employment (by targeting inhibitors such as childcare availability and public transport access)
  • revamp and expand health and wellbeing facilities and programs (to target the high incidence of issues such as diabetes, mental health and dental problems).

Project Champion

Bill Mithen, Chief Executive Officer, Give Where You Live Foundation.

What has been committed

Corio and Norlane

State and Federal Governments have committed $107.7 million towards services and social infrastructure in Corio and Norlane, including:

  • $34.8 million towards the Northern Bay College regeneration
  • $30 million towards the $80m New Norlane initiative, a housing project to provide 320 new public and affordable private homes in Norlane
  • $28.1 million for Barwon Health North, an urgent care centre and co-location of GP services (Northern ARC)
  • $1.85 million to develop and implement the G21 Region Opportunities for Work (GROW) project
  • $725,000 towards Stead Park Master Plan implementation
  • $650,000 to implement a Regional Soccer Synthetic Pitch at Corio Leisuretime Centre.


State and Federal Governments have committed $2.2 million towards services and social infrastructure in Whittington including:

  • $755,000 to support Whittington Works’ demand-led employment model.


State and Federal Governments have committed $11.2 million towards services and social infrastructure in Colac, including:

  • $5.4 million for the Bluewater Fitness Centre Stadium Redevelopment (opened March, 2017)
  • $3.1 million towards the Central Reserve Master Plan implementation (upgrades opened April 2017)
  • $620,000 to support a demand led employment model.


The Federal Government has committed $1.1 million towards services and social infrastructure in Meredith.

What is required

GROW Strategic Plan implementation
Critical Program
Funding Required

GROW Strategic Plan implementation over 10 years

(Also, a commitment by the State & Federal governments to embed GROW training, employment and procurement principles in all government projects within the region.)

$2.25 million
$2.25 million
Corio and Norlane
Funding Required
Northern Bay College Regeneration  $24.5 million
Northern ARC Stage 1 - Aquatic Health & Wellbeing Centre
(COGG has committed $20.6 million to Stage 1. Total cost $61.6 million)
$41 million
$65.5 million
Funding Required
Central Reserve Master Plan implementation $1 million
$1 million