The Western Melbourne Area stretches from Melbourne’s centre to its outer western suburbs and spans the local government areas of:
- Hobsons Bay City Council
- Maribyrnong City Council
- Melbourne City Council
- Moonee Valley City Council
- Wyndham City Council
The area is rich in linguistic and cultural diversity, and has a buoyant economy based on retail, health, property and manufacturing. But there are also pockets of socioeconomic disadvantage.
The Western Melbourne Area is home to about 612,000 people and includes one of the city’s major growth corridors. The annual population increase in the Western Melbourne Area from 2004-2014 was almost 4%, faster than any other in the state and well above the state average of 3%.
Overall, Western Melbourne has a growing, relatively young population, compared to other parts of Victoria. Almost one third (31.6%) of people in the Western Melbourne Area are aged between 0-24 years, and about one in six people are aged 0-14 years. The area has over 78,000 families and about two thirds (61.5%) of these families have children aged under 15 years, similar to the Victorian average. More than eight per cent of families with children have a low income.
About four out of ten people (37.8%) in the Western Melbourne Area were born overseas. The rate of new settler arrivals is the highest in the state (1,145.4 per 100,000 population).
The 0-17 years Aboriginal population made up 0.8% of the total 0-17 years Western Melbourne population, compared to the Victorian average of 1.3%. In Western Melbourne, 58% of the Aboriginal child and youth population - nearly 500 people - live in Wyndham.
About one in six people in Western Melbourne give up their spare time to volunteer and help out others.
The vast majority of children in the Western Melbourne Area are healthy and well (98.4%)1. A child’s health in their early years can have a positive influence on how they develop, grow and learn. In the Western Melbourne Area a moderate number of children go to their 3.5 year old maternal and child health check, with 60.7% of all children attending this visit, compared to the state average of 66.1%. In Maribyrnong local government area only about half of all children attend this appointment. Nine out of ten children are fully immunised by 27 months of age.
The Western Melbourne Area provides a safe environment for most children. 94% of parents with children aged under 13 years of age say their neighbourhood is safe – this is about 2% below the state average.
Access to early learning plays a crucial role in getting kids ready for primary school. In the Western Melbourne Area slightly less than two thirds of children (63.8%) have an adult in their life who reads to them every day. In 2015, 97.9% of eligible children in the area participated in kindergarten.
In Western Melbourne, two out of six local government areas have a higher proportion of children identified as developmentally vulnerable on two or more domains of the Australian Early Development Census at school entry (12.6% and 13.3%) than the state average (9.9%). The area has a greater percentage of children with emotional or behavioural problems at school entry (6.7% compared with state average 4.6%).
Moonee Valley had the lowest levels of children who are developmentally vulnerable on two or more domains at 7.6%. and Wyndham the highest percentage at 13.2%.
The area has relatively high Year 12 completion rate with 94.9% of people 19 years or older having completed Year 12 versus the state average of 88.2%. Most students in grade 5 and 6 (83.7%) report feeling connected to their school (this is the same as the state average) and 66.8% students in year 7 to 9 say they feel connected to school – this is higher than the state average of 62.3%).
Data sources include:
1 Victorian Child Health and Wellbeing Survey: Number of children aged 0 to 13 years of age who are reported to have ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ health.