Economic Business and Social Structure Review Report

 In 2017, Flinders Council was successful in an application for Building Better Regions Funding (Community Investment Stream) to undertake an independent review of Flinders Island’s disadvantage in relation to the structural and financial operation of Flinders Council and the Furneaux Islands. We are generally significantly disadvantaged due to our remoteness, as we are not connected to a greater land mass, are made up of 52 islands and have a very small population and rate base relative to our geographical size.

FTI Consulting was commissioned to undertake the review and has, over the past 18 months, worked extensively with the Community to supplement known data. The Economic Business and Social Structure Review Report can be downloaded here.

 The report will form part of future Strategic and Annual Planning for Flinders Council and is made available to the Community to use as a resource to refine policies to justify increased support to the Flinders Council region; and to enable local organisations to more effectively plan, target and deliver job opportunities, goods and services.

 Notwithstanding Flinders Island’s many strengths the report identifies five immediate challenges for consideration by Flinders Council and the Community.

1         There is a quantifiable disadvantage of between $346 - $612/per household per week ($17,992 - $31,824 per household per annum) associated with living on Flinders Island, depending on dwelling structure.

2         That Flinders Island will need to grow its population if it is to sustain the amenity, quality of life and opportunity it has enjoyed in the past.

3         That Flinders Island will likely reach a ‘tipping point’ in seven years, in which its own population will not be able to maintain essential public and private services, because its resident working population will reduce to fewer than 472 people.

4         The costs of providing services (infrastructure and social services, residents and visitors, public and private) will grow and Flinders Island will become increasingly dependent on outside resourcing. Government intervention could potentially be a ‘last resort’, if sustainable structural funding models are not realised and due weight not put on factors of ‘remoteness’.

5         Developing future opportunities for a sustainable future will require investment in infrastructure, solutions to housing, and innovative approaches to fit-for-purpose regulation.

This is a major piece of work that has the potential to be a catalyst for positive change for the development of the municipality, provided the recommended actions are implemented.

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