17/09/2008 - 22:00

Population pressures property

17/09/2008 - 22:00

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WESTERN Australia will lead the nation in population growth over the next 50 years, according to projections from the latest RP Data Property Pulse.

Population pressures property

WESTERN Australia will lead the nation in population growth over the next 50 years, according to projections from the latest RP Data Property Pulse.

Based on recently released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, WA's population is expected to more than double by the year 2056, from a little over 2 million currently to more than 4.2 million.

This equates to an average annual growth of 1.5 per cent for the state, a figure equalled only by Queensland.

WA's portion of Australia's population is also projected to increase from 10 per cent to 12 per cent of the total population.

Perth is on track to lead the capital cities in average annual growth with its population projected to to climb more than 3.3 million from its current level of just over 1.5 million. Again, this rate of growth is only matched by Brisbane.

Taking into account recent trends in fertility, mortality and migration the figures from the ABS indicate that one in four Australians will be aged over 65 by 2056.

By then, people aged 85 years and over will make up about 6 per cent of the total population, compared with only 1.6 per cent at present.

The significant growth of Australia's ageing population has major implications in terms of providing appropriate and affordable accommodation in the future.

Another issue associated with population growth is ensuring appropriate levels of infrastructure are in place to coincide with the increased numbers of people and the increased numbers of homes in which they can live.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) CEO Debra Goostrey said the government and industry needed to work together and think practically about a strategic, long-term plan.

"While the government has shown some leadership in this area with the introduction of the Network City strategy, planning for future growth often takes a back seat to more immediate policy issues," Ms Goostrey said.

"The steady flow of people moving to WA over the last few years, and the demand this has put on land supply, has encouraged developers to think outside the square when it comes to providing a diversity of housing."

However, developers still experienced difficulty in getting different or innovative designs through the planning approvals process.

"This is often due to a lack of long-term strategic planning on the part of state government and a reluctance on the part of local government to embrace higher density development," Ms Goostrey said.

"The warning signs are obvious and local governments should be prepared to deal with an increase in development applications and have the appropriate planning in place to know where growth can be accommodated."

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