3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 1996 to 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/07/2007   
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July 24, 2007Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

Population: Mining areas boom, drought-affected areas decline

The population of several mining regions grew rapidly between 2001 and 2006, while some drought-affected regions declined, according to population estimates released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In the five years to 2006 the population of the north Queensland mining town of Weipa increased by 39%. East Pilbara in the north of Western Australia grew by 27% and Roxby Downs, near the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, grew by 18%. The district of Mackay, which services the inland Queensland Bowen Basin mining region, increased by almost 13,000 people.

Meanwhile the drought appears to have impacted on several regions in inland Australia. The populations of the western NSW areas of Bourke and Central Darling decreased by almost 20%. Some inland Queensland areas were also hard hit, including Balonne (down 12%).

Capital cities and coastal areas continue to grow

Between 2001 and 2006 the Melbourne Statistical Division (SD) experienced the largest population growth of all Australian capital cities, increasing by 273,000 people (or 150 people per day). The SDs of Brisbane increased by 191,000 and Sydney increased by 156,000.

The populations of many inner-city areas continue to grow substantially. The inner-city Local Government Area (LGA) of Melbourne grew by just over 50%, with large increases also for the inner-city LGAs of Adelaide (33%) and Sydney (27%).

Many regional coastal areas also continued to show strong population growth, with increases of around 20% for the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast-Tweed districts, while Mandurah (19%) also grew significantly.

Population recovery

Big turnarounds in population have occurred in some regions, including the South Australian areas of Whyalla (which increased by 200 people between 2001-2006 after declining by 2,200 over the previous five years) and Port Augusta (increased by 600, compared to a previous decline of 500).

Further information is in Regional Population Growth, Australia, 1996 to 2006(cat. no. 3218.0).

MEDIA NOTE: Today's release builds on the 2006 Census results by including estimates for people overseas or missed in the 8 August 2006 snapshot. For further information see the Census Media Fact Sheet 70/2007 The difference explained: comparing the Census population count and the estimated resident population. The percentages used above refer to five-year growth, while average annual growth rates are used in the publication.

Regional population growth data highlights for 2001 to 2006

  • Sydney's population is 4,284,400, an increase of 156,100 people. The city of Sydney recorded the largest and fastest growth of New South Wales LGAs (up 34,900 at 4.9% per year).
  • Other large population increases occurred in outer-suburban LGAs such as Baulkham Hills (19,900 people) and Blacktown (15,000 people).
  • Coastal areas continued to grow but at a lower rate than in the previous five years.

  • Melbourne's population is 3,744,400, an increase of 272,700 people. Melbourne experienced the largest growth of all capital city Statistical Divisions.
  • Largest and fastest growth occurred in the Melbourne suburban fringe LGAs of
    Casey (40,700 people or 4.1% per year) and Melton (28,100 people or 8.9% per year).

  • Brisbane's population is 1,820,400, an increase of 191,300 people (2.2% per year), making it the fastest growing capital city Statistical Division.
  • The city of Brisbane experienced the largest growth of all LGAs in Australia (up 95,500 people), followed by Gold Coast (83,700 people).
  • Nearly half of the growth outside south-east Queensland was in Cairns, Mackay, Hervey Bay, Thuringowa and Townsville.

  • Adelaide's population is 1,146,100, an increase of 38,100 people (0.7% per year).
  • The city of Adelaide had the fastest growth of LGAs in South Australia (up 4,400 people at
    5.9% per year).
  • Rapid growth areas - Light (4.0% per year), Alexandrina and Roxby Downs (each 3.4%) and Mount Barker (3.0%).

  • Perth's population is 1,519,500, an increase of 126,500 people (1.8% per year).
  • The city of Perth was the fastest growing LGA in Australia (10.0% per year or 4,700 people).
  • Big increases in outer metro LGAs of Wanneroo (31,400 people) and
    Rockingham (13,500 people).

  • Greater Hobart's population is 205,600, up 8,300 people (0.8% per year).
  • Kingborough recorded the largest increase (2,300 people), and Brighton the fastest growth (up 2.1% per year).
  • Growth in most Tasmanian LGAs, in contrast to the previous five years when most were in decline.

  • Darwin's population is 114,400, an increase of 7,500 people (1.4% per year).
  • Palmerston, on the outskirts of Darwin, recorded the largest growth of all Northern Territory LGAs (up 3,300 or 2.8% per year).

  • The ACT's population is 334,200, an increase of 14,900 people (0.9% per year).
  • Large growth areas - Gungahlin (up 3,900 people), Dunlop (up 3,200), Amaroo (up 2,300) and Turner (up 1,300).