The Southern Metropolitan Region (SMR) is a diverse and expansive area that covers 10 local government areas (see image below), including suburbs from South Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula and east to Casey and Cardinia. The SMR covers an area of 2,888 square kilometres, with approximately 1.3 million people, representing about one-quarter of the state’s total population. Of this, 689,859 are female and 671,289 are male.
With such a wide-ranging population and geographical area diversity exists, both in terms of socio-economic status (SES); ethnicity as well as the presence of several minority groups. To the south of the region, affluent and wealthy areas can be found while the south east reveals some of the most economically marginalised areas within Victoria. Further inland, the growth corridors of Casey1 and Cardinia2 reveal a rapid population growth.
The SMR is home to a wide range of minority groups. These include individuals from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; individuals with a disability and their carers; and a large percentage of young people and individuals identifying as belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, Other community (LGTBIQA+). As groups and individuals that have experienced marginalisation and at times exclusion, it is important to acknowledge the impact of these experiences on health and wellbeing.
Contrasting demographics highlight diverse needs amongst various municipalities. These differences can be seen in the types of priorities and issues found through service mapping and consultation with regional bodies from within the SMR.