From December 2017 to April 2018, all Bruny Islanders were asked for their views about living and working on Bruny and what’s needed to make sure Bruny is a great place to live for many years to come.
The official name of the process is the ‘Bruny Island Liveability Study’.  To keep things simple, it’s also called ‘Bruny Life’.  The study is being overseen by the Bruny Island Advisory Committee (BIAC).


Why do we need it?  What’s so special about Bruny?

Bruny Island is not only unique because of its beautiful natural environment and access by ferry (although this is a big part of what makes Bruny special).  The last Census showed that Bruny has other characteristics that make it unique when compared to the rest of Kingborough and Tasmania.  Bruny has an older population, a larger proportion of unoccupied dwellings, more men than women, lower household income, higher home ownership, more people living alone and less people accessing the internet, when compared to the ‘norm’.  When you throw in almost 150,000 visitors per year to an island with a resident population of just over 800, it’s pretty clear why Bruny has unique challenges and opportunities to work through.


What's the point of another ‘study’?

No one wants ‘Bruny Life’ to be ‘yet another report’ that takes up a lot of everyone’s time and then just sits on a shelf.  There are some things that BIAC are doing to make sure this doesn’t happen.

  • Local people will determine the outcomes.  ‘Bruny Life’ is not a report written by outside ‘experts’.  It is about providing all people who live and work on Bruny with the opportunity to have their say about what matters to themselves, their families, their workplaces, their environment and their communities.  The outcomes might be what everyone expects, or they might surprise us, but they’ll be a genuine reflection of local people.

  • Local people will deliver the project.  In addition to oversight by local people on BIAC, all of the researchers involved in ‘Bruny Life’ will be people who live and work on the island.  Having worked on the project, these locals and their families will want to see the results implemented.

  • Proposals will be home-grown, big and small.  ‘Bruny Life’ will focus on suggesting practical and achievable proposals, based on the things that matter to local people.   Some of these might require funding from government or the private sector, others will be able to be implemented by the community itself. 

  • Council and State Government are on-board.  The Kingborough Council and the Tasmanian State Government are paying the costs of BIAC’s study, because they want proposals that have strong and widespread community support.  This doesn’t mean that everything local people want will get delivered or funded, but it does mean that both local and state government have ‘skin in the game’.

  • A permanent resource.  All of the public information that’s used in the study will be stored on the ‘Bruny Life’ website and be available for download.  For those who don’t have access to the internet, there’ll be hard copies available through local organisations, including the library and the Council offices.  The website will also track how ‘Bruny Life’ proposals are implemented, so everyone can find out what’s happened and what hasn’t.


Who is the Bruny Island Advisory Committee?

BIAC includes a diverse group of people from all over the Island that advise Kingborough Council on council-related matters.  The committee members are from the local Bruny community and one member is a councillor from Kingborough Council. All the local members are active in other groups and associations on the Island.  They all care deeply about our community and it’s future. You can see more about the members at: https://www.kingborough.tas.gov.au/council/committees/


What type of things will be considered?

For Bruny Islanders, ‘liveability’ means many different things depending on interest, personal circumstances and outlooks on life.  The issue of increased tourist visitation to Bruny is one that gets a lot of media attention and it will be an important part of ‘Bruny Life’.  There are many other issues that get less attention, but are just as important to many Islanders.  Issues that have been raised in the past include:  


  • Emergency services

  • Ferry access and reliability

  • Supporting our ageing population

  • Protecting our land and marine environment

  • Opportunities for regular paid work on the Island

  • Keeping volunteer groups and services going

  • Adequate infrastructure for Islanders and visitors

  • Supporting Islanders who feel isolated

  • Ensuring sustainable development

  • Good state services like health, education and police

  • Good municipal services, like waste and local roads

  • Attracting young people and families

  • Mobility, including public transport options 

  • Adequate housing and accommodation options

  • Maintaining farms and primary production

  • Supporting artists, musicians, artisans and writers

  • Participating in sport and recreation activities

  • A successful, diversified local economy

  • Development that ‘fits’ with the Island

  • Keeping our Island’s positive ‘brand’

  • The impact of higher property prices

  • Access to digital and mobile services

  • Regular events and activities for all ages

  • Getting along with each other

  • Making the most of what we already have  

  • Having a happy and peaceful life


These are just some of the matters to be considered as part of ‘Bruny Life’.   Local people are sure to raise more.  Many issues are inter-related and it will be important to discuss how ‘fixing’ one issue might impact on other things.


What’s the process?

‘Bruny Life’ will roll out in six steps from November 2017 to May 2018.

Step 1:   The first period before Christmas 2017 is about preparation, including setting up communications, informing people about the study, recruiting local researchers and collecting information that has already been produced and making it available to the community.  


Step 2:  Local organisations will have their say about ‘liveability’ issues, including through interviews and submissions.  This information will be made available to the community.


Step 3:  Local researchers, representative of all locations and demographics in the community, will organise a range of local discussions about ‘Bruny Life’, where people who live and work on the Island can share information, views and solutions.  Some discussions will be ‘small group meetings’, others will be in more informal settings. The results of each discussion will be incorporated into the study.


Step 4:  After everyone has had the opportunity to consider all the available information, there’ll be a community survey, distributed directly through local researchers and available online.  Every ratepayer on Bruny will be receive notification of the Community Survey through the mail. 


Step 5:  The issues, ideas, solutions, priorities and recommendations generated from the community will be compiled in a ‘Bruny Life’ report.  

Step 6:  BIAC and other local organisations will monitor the implementation of ‘Bruny Life’, with regular updates to the community on progress.


Who’s coordinating the study?

In October/November 2017, Kingborough Council undertook an Expression of Interest process for contractors to implement the Bruny Island Liveability Study.  As a result, the Council appointed Mr Mathew Fagan, with endorsement from the Bruny Island Advisory Committee.  Mathew is an experienced consultant who’s worked throughout Australia in the fields of community engagement, strategic planning, service delivery design, infrastructure needs analysis, research and professional writing.  He has degrees in law and communications.  He also happens to live permanently on Bruny Island.


How much is it costing? 

The Department of State Growth and Kingborough Council are each contributing $25,000, including in-kind support from Council staff.   The funds will pay the costs of a contractor to coordinate ‘Bruny Life’ and employ local community researchers on a casual basis. It will also pay for the cost of communications, transport, equipment, online and printed surveys, the ‘Bruny Life’ website and the publication of the final report.