By Tyler Redway
University of South Australia (UniSA) is facilitating two focus groups on Friday 5 August centred around collecting the perspective of both long-time locals and new arrivals of Mount Gambier.
The purpose of the groups was to collect the public perspective of what made Mount Gambier special and how it might be able to improve.
Executive dean of UniSA business Andrew Beer said the discussion will be taken to other regional areas along with Mount Gambier as the Australian Government wanted to know what would attract people to these places.
“We have run plenty of research projects in Mount Gambier but never on this particular topic,” Mr Beer said.
“We would really be interested in hearing from people who have either decided to stay in Mount Gambier rather than go to Melbourne or Adelaide because of Covid, or because of Covid people have moved down to Mount Gambier and decided to make it their home.”
Mr Beer said the event would be a one-off interaction but added there may be a chance for work to follow up on in the future regarding this topic.
He also said that the two planned groups’ perspectives were very different and they thought about Mount Gambier in very different ways.
“I think what people can expect to see is a chance to connect to people just like them and to share ideas about what makes Mount Gambier special,” he said.
“It’s really about getting their voices because too often, governments only look at what’s in the census or official data and it doesn’t really capture how people think of these places.
“The data only gives you part of the story, we’re trying to get the other part from people who have lived experience.”
Mr Beer mentioned the city had so “so much potential” as the second largest city in the state and that it would be important to acknowledge what the people of Mount Gambier had to say.
“Too often South Australian voices are not heard,” he said.
The groups will be held at the Mount Gambier Library, with one set for residents who have lived in town for less than four years starting at 10am and the other for long-time residents kicking off at 11.30am.