Nuclear family still the trend for tickets

DAY OUT: Families flock to the Bendigo Show, which offers a family package for two adults and two children. Greater Bendigo was home to 5963 couple families with children under 15 during the 2011 Census. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
DAY OUT: Families flock to the Bendigo Show, which offers a family package for two adults and two children. Greater Bendigo was home to 5963 couple families with children under 15 during the 2011 Census. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

ENTERTAINMENT providers and event organisers are slowly adapting to the changing nature of Australian families. 

For ticketing purposes, a ‘family’ is most often defined as two adults and two children. 

However, some venues in Bendigo are offering more flexible packages. 

At Bendigo Cinemas, a family ticket to see a film comprises of either two adults and two children, or an adult and three children.

The same options generally apply for the programs in which Capital Venues and Events is involved in ticketing, marketing manager Anne Henshall said. 

She encouraged families that do not fit a ‘family’ package to inquire about the best options for them.

“It’s always worth asking,” Mrs Henshall said. 

Up until recently, family tickets to the Bendigo Agricultural Show included two adults and three children up to the age of 15. 

However, show secretary Rod Bowles said the package was last year brought in line with those offered by the majority of venues – two adults, and two children. 

Show admission for children under the age of five is free. 

Mr Bowles said it would be cheaper for an adult with two children to buy individual tickets than a family package, especially if one of the children was under the age of five. 

“The show is still relatively competitive,” he said.

Family admission to the RSPCA Million Paws Walk in Bendigo, on Sunday, consists of two adults and two children.

Attendees at the Mother’s Day Classic, last weekend, had more options.

There were two family packages: one for a single adult and two children, and another for two adults and two children. 

However, the package with two adults was at least $20 more expensive than the package with a single adult.

How is the composition of families changing?

COUPLE families without children are expected to become the most common family type in Australia by 2029.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data, released for National Families Week, charts a rise in non-traditional families. 

Though 5.7 million Australian families are couple families, data from June indicates only 44 per cent have children or young adults living with them. 

That’s a decline of about 10 per cent in 20 years. 

Meanwhile, the portion of couple families without children has risen from 35 per cent in 1997 to about 41 per cent in 2012-13.

ABS household characteristics and social reporting program manager Stephen Collett expected the number of couple families without children would rise by between 56 and 64 per cent by 2036, overtaking the number of couples with children between 2023 and 2029.

“Our ageing population and trends towards delayed childbearing or couples not having children contribute to this rise,” Mr Collett said. 

One-parent families is the next largest Australian family unit, about 83 per cent of which are single mothers. 

“The idea of a ‘traditional nuclear family’ has been changing for some time now,” Mr Collett said.

“Trends in divorce and remarriage have contributed to more one-parent, step and blended families.”

About 43 per cent of children under the age of 13 are living with either a single parent, a non-biological parent figure, step or half-sibling or a grandparent, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

A total of 5963 couple families with children under 15 called Greater Bendigo home during the 2011 census. 

There were 2123 one parent families with children of the same age.

Couples with no children accounted for 26 per cent of families, and there were 410 other families. 

The majority of children aged up to four years in Greater Bendigo in 2011 were in couples with children households – almost 80 per cent, compared with 80.2 per cent during the 2006 census.

One parent families with children of the same age increased by 220 people in the same period, to 19.7 per cent.

More than three quarters of children aged five – 11 years lived with couples in 2011, a decrease of 148 people.

Almost 24 per cent of primary school-aged children were living in single parent families, 59 fewer people than the previous census.

More than 71 per cent of children aged 12-17 years lived with couples. More than 27 per cent of children of the same age resided with one parent families.

This week is National Families Week, a Families Australia initiative aimed at celebrating families.

Families Australia chief executive officer Brian Babington described families as society’s most important building block.

“Whatever form families take all deserve respect, support and encouragement,’ he said. 

“Stronger families mean stronger, more resilient communities.”