Wellbeing in Hornsby Shire: It is More Than Just ‘Feeling Good’

By Cllr Dr Verity Greenwood

Hornsby Shire ranks as the fifth highest in Australia and a top performer for wellbeing. In May this year, the public policy advisor SGS Economics and Planning published its annual National Wellbeing Index, an analysis of 518 local government areas (LGAs) in Australia. With a ‘Headline’ Index score of 6.9, our Hornsby Shire has a higher Index score than the Greater Sydney region at 6.0.

So how is this Wellbeing Index determined? Across Australia, each LGA was assessed on seven wellbeing indicators: economy; income and wealth; employment; knowledge and skills; housing, health, equality, community and work-life balance and the environment. This assessment was also based on 24 factors that impact general wellbeing, including gender pay gap, home prices, environmentally protected land and community volunteer rate (SGS Cities & Regions Wellbeing Index, 2024; see diagram).

So what is achieved by the Wellbeing Index assessments? The National Wellbeing Index provides clear evidence and understanding of the social, economic and environmental trends across Australia. The Index indicates improvements in overall wellbeing can be achieved by focussing on place as well as the community within that place.

My previous research has found that ‘resilient’ communities in Australia have high levels of community social integration, lower mortality rates and higher rates of life expectancy. A sense of being part of or belonging to a community is an important aspect of overall community wellbeing and resilience.

So should we just enjoy the prestige of our high ranking? Well, there is more. Our Hornsby Shire was also ranked 7th on the Income and Wealth rank.

This ranking suggests our Hornsby Shire is doing well however wealth does not always mirror health. Income capability certainly bolsters capacity of individuals in a community to make choices promoting their health interests, independence and support in place.

Yet there are those in our Hornsby community that suffer through distance from services and transport, emotional health, poor health resources, lack of support and carer responsibilities and commitments which can restrict their everyday lives, affect mobility and continue to place their health at risk.

There is still socio-economic inequality in our community, in particular housing affordability, homelessness, and wage disparity. Knowing our Hornsby Shire shone as a top performer in the Wellbeing Index does not mean we should ‘rest on our laurels.’ Instead, it should be a driver to ensure every decision we make in relation to our Shire community considers every aspect of our economic, social, cultural and environmental future.

For more information re Wellbeing Index see SGS Cities & Regions Wellbeing Index

For more information regarding Hornsby Council assistance for homelessness see services/homelessness If you have any concerns or issues where I may assist, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]