Brimbank is growing at a rapid rate.
New roads are constantly being introduced, multi-storey buildings are shooting up and the population is ever increasing.
But Brimbank also has a growing problem.
Disadvantage has long been associated with the west and is a continuing cause for concern.
Youth Junction inc general manager Karen Hart deals with the area’s disadvantaged youth and said more needs to be done to help combat the issue.
“Sunshine is growing. There’s been lots of great infrastructure improvements and property prices are going up,” Dr Hart said.
“It all gives the appearance that we’re reducing the disadvantage because we’re building our buildings higher, bigger and smarter than ever.
“But one of the ongoing challenges is that disadvantage then gets pushed into the dark and underground.
“We still have a clear and un-met need for young people in particular who are unable to keep up.”
Recent data shows just how big the issue is in Brimbank.
The Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage and Disadvantaged gives each suburb a score out of 10. A score of 10 is assigned to suburbs with the least amount of disadvantage and a score of one is given to those with the most disadvantage. Sunshine, St Albans, Ardeer and Braybrook all received scores of one.
Scores are generated from Census data and reflect multiple factors including employment, education, access to a motor vehicle, disability and income.
Dr Hart highlighted a lack of affordable housing and employment as two of the biggest contributing factors to youth disadvantage and says more can be done to help.
“Local government have to take greater responsibility for what’s happening within their municipal boundaries. If they aren’t highlighting the real issues within their areas, then it won’t get to state or federal levels.
“At the moment the only source of funding through the council is the community grants program. They can be grants of $5000 to $10,000, but really that’s minimal when you look at the significant investments being put into infrastructure and even artwork within Brimbank.
“Disadvantage doesn’t discriminate. It’s as much a problem for Anglo-Australians as it is for new arrivals.
“We need a louder voice.
“We collectively are trying to address disadvantage, but local council can play a greater advocacy role in knowing what the not for profit is doing within their area and then taking a leadership role in being able to champion funds into the municipality.”