AS POLITICIANS fight for their electorates a team of researchers have documented the mortality rates of each Australian electorate.
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Professor John Glover at Torrens University Public Health Information Development Unit, one of the co-authors of the Health Atlas of Australia study, said data showed Ballarat South and Delacombe mortality rates to be 19 per cent above the Australian average.
The City of Ballarat recorded a premature death rate nine per cent above the average for Australia. Broken down, Ballarat in general had a 12 per cent higher mortality rate while Ballarat North’s mortality rate was only 6 per cent above the average.
“Premature deaths in Ballarat are slightly higher than average,” Professor Glover said.
"This data is a way of showing people the divides and reminding them that through their voting they can remind politicians on all sides that there is something here to address," Professor Glover told Fairfax Media.
"All factors affecting premature mortality are modifiable: access to education , employment, good housing, income … It's not as if we can't do anything about this," he said.
The map highlights disadvantage. According to the data in 2011, 23 per cent of Ballarat households had no internet connection.
In June 2014 13 per cent of households were welfare dependent, while 25 per cent of households were receiving rental assistance.
In 2011 4.5 per cent of residents were renting houses from a housing authority.
Professor Glover said the researchers were government funded to show the health outcomes for Australians in all parts of the country.
He said the map element was helpful because it allowed for direct comparisons.
“The majority of towns in regional Australia have high rates (mortality) rates than the national average,” Professor Glover said.
He said that longer travelling distances to medical centres, fewer medical resources and the high occurrence of residents working in more dangerous occupations were seen as contributing factors.
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