26/03/2008 - 22:00

Migration drives WA growth

26/03/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Increased immigration into Western Australia has helped the state record the highest level of population growth in the country, as the nation experiences its fastest growth rate in 18 years.

Increased immigration into Western Australia has helped the state record the highest level of population growth in the country, as the nation experiences its fastest growth rate in 18 years.

Driven mainly by increased migration, Australia’s population grew by a record 318,500 people over the year to September 30 2007.

This equated to an annual growth rate of 1.5 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

All states and territories experienced positive population growth over the past year.

Population growth was fastest in WA (2.4 per cent), followed by Queensland (2.2 per cent), Northern Territory (2.2 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.5 per cent) and Victoria (1.5 per cent).

States with the weakest population growth have the weakest economic growth – New South Wales (1 per cent population growth), South Australia (1 per cent) and Tasmania (0.8 per cent).

The ABS found that natural increase and net overseas migration contributed 44 per cent and 56 per cent respectively to the total population growth.

The number of migrants settling in Australia (after netting out departures) was 179,100, the largest in the nation’s history.

A total of 53,488 migrants settled in NSW, followed by 48,22 people in Victoria, 33,696 in Queensland, 27,365 in WA, 12,803 in South Australia, 1,705 in the Northern Territory, 1,606 in Tasmania, and 895 people in the ACT.

The WA figure was about 15 per cent of total immigration, well above the state’s 10 per cent share of the national population.

In addition to immigration, 264,300 babies were born over the year to September, the largest number of births since the introduction of quarterly records more than 26 years ago.

Natural increase (births less deaths) was 131,900 in the year to September – the second largest increase in 13 years.

According to the ABS, the number of birth and death registrations in all states and territories for the September quarter 2007 was higher than usual.

The preliminary estimated resident population of Australia is 21,097,100 people over the year to September 30 2007.

Commenting on the data, CommSec said the remarkable lift in Australia’s population had significant consequences for the economy.

“The faster rate of population growth means that the economy can grow at a faster pace without lifting the rate of inflation or necessitating higher interest rates,” CommSec said in a commentary.

“Certainly its not just China’s demand for resources that is propelling the Australian economy forward.

The increase in skilled migration helps meet the demand for labour by Australia’s employers.

“While an increase in migrants sees further demand for housing, general retail spending and even the purchase of more costly white goods.

In short, the inflow of skilled migrants creates a virtuous cycle of higher employment, spending and investment, while keeping a lid on inflationary pressures.” The rapid population growth has also brought some issues, including increased pressure on land supply and housing affordability.

Late last year, the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia predicted a tightening of the Perth rental market in 2008, fearing a return to the record 0.8 per cent availability that was seen at the beginning of 2007.

REIWA president Rob Druitt identified an influx of international students seeking accommodation as a factor fuelling the trend.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options