Doing Your Research Isn’t Too Much To Ask
Bill Hoffman’s article on Sunday, 5 June 2016 titled “Candidates aim to stop Coast’s economic slide” suggests a lack of research rigour that we should all rightly expect from our newspaper and its senior journalists.
To state in this article “Sunshine Coast federal electorates lag at the back of the pack in a detailed analysis of the true state of the national economy” is contrary to the more reliable localised statistics available on regional growth.
The methodology used in the analysis commissioned by Fairfax Media has not been made public, but what is clear is the results bear no resemblance to modelling using small area datasets – which essentially give a clearer picture of what is occurring at the local level.
The figures quoted by the Daily bear no resemblance to the economic modelling and forecasting that is produced by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) 2014-2015 National Economic Indicators for every local government area in Australia.
NIEIR’s reported data shows that since 2012, the Sunshine Coast Gross Regional Product has grown every year. Over the past two years alone, the Sunshine Coast GRP has increased by nearly 7%. For the same period job numbers on the Coast have also grown by 4.8%. Similarly, business numbers and the value of building approvals are up.
Hardly the economic decline reported by Mr Hoffman.
Furthermore – and I return to my original point – all of this can be found from undertaking some very basic and quick research. Indeed, it can be found out by making one phone call or visiting one website.
It pays to question the source (as we have done) when their figures bear no resemblance to anything else that is available from respected research agencies.
This type of reporting of the region’s economic performance does nothing to present a positive image – locally, domestically and globally – of the Sunshine Coast. In fact it does the exact opposite.
In today’s digital world, where newspaper articles can be accessed anywhere, anytime, the messaging is crucial and must be correct. Stating that the region is in economic decline – when basic research actually shows this to be inaccurate – only undermines the perceptions of the Sunshine Coast. This is something that I think the Sunshine Coast Daily, at times, appears to fail to understand.
I don’t believe the majority of our residents want this to occur. Like me, the majority of our residents value our region and its credentials, are proud of how we are performing and can see the results for themselves.
I am all in favour of holding all of our candidates to account for what they will deliver if elected.
However, we should do so on the things that matter – and not seek to collar undertakings based on questionable information and research. That helps nobody and in the end, delivers nothing.