Between 7000 and 8800 people are living in Robinvale – more than double the 3359 figure from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The figures were revealed last night when 50 community members came together to hear the results of a dedicated study into the town’s population.
Kevin Johnson from consulting firm Geografia told the meeting that using bank data, water data and interviews with local service providers, he found that Robinvale’s population was between 7000 in November and 8800 in March, during harvest.
“We have always known that Robinvale has far more residents than ABS figures show. Now we have the evidence to prove it, to prove that there are double the number of people living in Robinvale as government agencies predict,” Cr Young said.
She said the data was crucial to getting better outcomes for Robinvale.
“These residents are all using the hospital, shopping in local shops, and they all need somewhere to live,” she said.
“But the level of funding that many government services receive is based on official ABS data.
“We will use this new evidence at every chance to push for better services in and around Robinvale. We’ll also be supplying the data and background to as many local service providers as we can, so that they too can push for improvements.”
A housing strategy for Robinvale was also released last night, showing five key actions that will help alleviate housing pressure.
“We will be looking at the housing strategy in detail now, and then decide where everyone can have the most impact. This will include the State and Federal governments and others. This really will be an all-in effort,” Cr Young said.
“The good news is that we have already made a start on some of the actions.
“We are seeking a ruling from VCAT on what is and isn’t allowed with on-farm accommodation. Farmers in the Robinvale area are increasingly willing to make the investment, and we want to make this process clear for all.
“We’ve also been advocating to the State Government for change on various housing issues, including rezoning some sections of farm land to residential.”