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Rural NSW embracing lifelong learning.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Rural NSW embracing lifelong learning

17 April 2008 DAFF08/038B

People living in rural NSW have the highest proportion of post-secondary school qualifications compared to the rest of rural Australia, according to the latest economic and social snapshot of the country.

The 2008 Country Matters: Social Atlas of Rural and Regional Australia was released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke.

The Atlas describes the economic and social trends affecting 7.5 million people living outside Australia’s capital cities.

“Across Australia, the number of people who attained vocational qualifications grew by 18.1 per cent between 2001 and 2006, but the largest increase in people obtaining certificates or diplomas was in small towns at 25.2 per cent,” Mr Burke said.

“The Snowy River region in south-eastern NSW had a particularly high level of people with post-school qualifications at 67.5 per cent - much higher than the national average of 52.5 per cent.”

The Atlas also showed:

• NSW had the lowest percentage of DINK (double income, no kids) households in regional centres, small towns and rural areas • NSW had the greatest proportion of household internet connections in small towns (55.5 per cent) • the state saw high rates of unemployment in the Clarence Valley (7.4 per cent) and

Nambucca (7.1 per cent) • most communities still depend heavily on agriculture, including at Conargo (66.7 per cent of total employment ) and Carrathool (50.1 per cent) • among the areas with the largest number of farmers were Moira (1474 farmers) and

Griffith (1061 farmers) and • the number of young people (aged 15-24 years) declined in Moree (19.7 per cent), Walgett (20 per cent) and Warren (35.2 per cent).

The Atlas, produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS), is an online tool that primarily draws on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2006, 2001 and 1996 Population Census.

To use the Atlas online visit