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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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In this end of year update we look at how likely it is you'll make your next birthday. We also explore the impact of job creation and construction on the economy and how disability affects the lives of people in NSW.


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The role of jobs creation and building activity in the NSW economy

The media often talks about a strong NSW economy – but do you know what this actually means?

The health of our economy is often measured by the pace of spending on house purchases and rent, factory machines, household goods, infrastructure, computers, accountancy services, takeaway meals and many other goods and services.


But there are other more obvious signs that also give us an indication of the strength of the NSW economy.


The growth of jobs in NSW often equates to growth in the state’s economy. More jobs means more people getting paid and spending  money on goods and services to grow the NSW economy.



More jobs can also mean businesses are forming or expanding. Over the last three years, employment has grown strongly in NSW. The unemployment rate has also fallen, meaning there is a greater likelihood people who want jobs get them. This means less people are reliant on our savings or government support.
The property market is also a good indicator of the NSW economy. Building construction, in the form of homes and apartments, factories and infrastructure can be driven by increases in population. As our disposable incomes grow and we spend more, building construction is also boosted as businesses form and expand their operations to meet the increased demand.

Building construction reflects a growing economy, but it also leads to the economy growing further, creating a positive feedback loop. The construction sector requires materials and labour. When these are sourced within NSW, the economy grows even more. Building completions have grown by an average of almost 13 per cent per year over the last three years.


So, the term “strong NSW economy” can technically be measured by adding up our spending from year to year. But we can also look at job creation and building construction to give us a strong, real world, sense of what a strong economy actually means for us all.   

Are our cities accessible and inclusive for all? 

There are an estimated 1.35 million people with a disability in NSW - that’s about one person in every five. 


It’s a common myth all people with disabilities are old,  yet many people have a disability from birth or a  young age. The 2012 national survey of disability, ageing and carers found 50 per cent of people with a disability are aged under 60 and almost one in five are under 35.

Figure 1: Per cent of New South Wales population reporting a disability, by age group, 2012


Source: ABS (2014) Disability, Ageing an Carers, Australia: New South Wales, 2012. Catalogue Number 4430.0

People with disabilities face many challenges  and aren’t always able to participate in society as much as they would like. This includes difficulties accessing and using transport, employment, health and education services, as well as social and political participation. 


People with disabilities face many challenges  and aren’t  always able to participate in society as much as they’d like. They have difficulties using public transport and accessing health, education and employment services. Social and political participation is also often difficult.  


About half a million people aged five to 64 years have a disability restricting their ability to take part in education  or employment. This can range from a minor impact where they need special equipment at school or at work, to people whose disabilities mean they can’t get to school or work.


So how can planners make life easier for people with disabilities? Good design guidelines, be they for people’s homes, commercial buildings or public spaces are a good start. 


Saturday, 3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities – a good day to think about how to make our towns and cities more liveable for everyone.