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Australia's population increase from migration continues to slow

Monday, 29 June 2015

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows net overseas migration figures continue to decline, with the national total falling by 15% in the last year.

Australia’s population increase from migration continues to slow, the latest data from the Bureau of Statistics show, while people are increasingly moving to Victoria from other states and territories.

Last year, the net overseas migration figure was 184,100 people, a fall of 15% from the previous year. Migration to Australia added 473,500 people to the population, 5.3% fewer than the previous year.

Victoria recorded its highest interstate migration in more than 40 years, with most of the new arrivals – 2,700 – coming from New South Wales. This was followed by 2,100 from South Australia and 1,400 from Western Australia.

In Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, more people left the state in 2014 than arrived, but all jurisdictions increased their overall population thanks to the number of births exceeding the number of deaths.

The bureau’s director of demography, Denise Carlton, said overseas migration had peaked in 2008, and that many “push and pull factors” influenced the rate of this movement.

Carolyn Whitzman, a professor of urban planning at the University of Melbourne, said the data highlighted the need for capital cities to develop better plans for growth.

Australia’s population increased by 330,200 to reach 23.6m by the end of last year, representing a growth rate of 1.4%.

“I don’t think population growth is the problem per se, because cities like Melbourne have seen growth at a higher rate over much of its history,” Whitzman said.

“The problem is, we aren’t planning for the future. The bottom line is, whether Melbourne, Sydney and Perth grow at all, there is a need for better kinds of housing, transport and social infrastructure, like schools and healthcare.”

She suspected growth in jobs in the healthcare and education sectors had contributed to the movement to Victoria.

But it was important that the infrastructure built to support those industries, such as hospitals, schools and public transport, were spread equitably, she said.

“Unfortunately, major cities see rapid urban sprawl, coupled with infrastructure not catching up,” Whitzman said.

This story was amended on 26 June to correct the interpretation of the ABS figures. The overseas migration figure refers to the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants, not the absolute number of emigrants.

Source: The Guardian

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