population tide turns to the north, by Andrew Stevenson
26th April 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Australia's population centre is following the sun
ever northwards as the pendulum swings from Victoria
- once the nation's most populous state - to Queensland.
NSW is not immune to the impact of thousands of itchy
to perceptions it is NSW, rather than Victoria, that
suffered the biggest outflow of population in the
five years to 2001, with a net migration of 66,500
people, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics
figures. Queensland picked up more than 90,000 and
Victoria broke even.
those five years, more than 40 per cent of Australians
moved house. Most stayed in the same state, but more
than 750,000 people moved interstate.
(second) and Canterbury (fifth) were among the local
government areas suffering the largest population
declines, while Brisbane and the Gold Coast grew fastest.
Wild, the head of the School of Environmental and
Applied Sciences at Griffith University's Gold Coast
campus, said that south of Brisbane remained the focus
was a sunset area but no longer. They're coming at
all ages. The number of young people going into secondary
and tertiary education as a proportion of the population
is about the same as Australia as a whole," he
said. "I think it's one-third of the way to a
sea change. They're not brave enough to go to a little
coastal village, but they'll go to what's becoming
a major city.
miss some of the cultural things the capitals offer
but I think people leave that behind for the sake
of what they think is a simpler life - and certainly
a warmer life if they're coming from Melbourne."
"urge to change, but not too much" had already
pushed the Gold Coast population to 370,000, Associate
Professor Wild said. "We're looking at doubling
the population in the next 15 years - we may be at
1 million by 2020," he said.
growth trend is predicted to push Victoria into third
place among Australian states - a come-down from its
No. 1 status, held from the gold rush until 1886.
The bureau's population projections suggest Queensland's
population may overtake that of Victoria within 25
years, assuming high levels of fertility and both
interstate and overseas migration.
Hugo, the head of the Department of Geographical and
Environmental Studies at the University of Adelaide,
said the apparent stability of the population centre
masked major changes.
basic structure of population distribution in Australia
was decided in the late 19th century, when you had
most of the arable land settled. Since then, what
we've done is intensify the existing settlements and
there have been no new areas of major population growth
in the last 100 years," he said.
the cities were changing. "In all the big cities
for 40 years after World War II, you had 'doughnut
development', with heavy growth on the periphery and
a decline in the inner city," Professor Hugo
you're getting a bipolar pattern - with growth on
the fringe but also in the centre, with more housing
stock available, the process of gentrification and
the replacement of older people with families."
Bureau of Statistics
head north, by Greg Tingle and Yvette Moore
come out to play
sand and salesmanship
Mercia Developments - Airlie Beach, Whitsunday