3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 1991 to 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/07/2002   
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July 25, 2002
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Latest official Local Government Area population estimates (Based on 2001 Census)

Estimated Resident Population (ERP) figures for Australia's 624 Local Government Areas, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), show the largest population growth is occurring in the fringe and inner areas of the capital cities, and in coastal areas outside capital cities. In regional Australia the picture is mixed with some regional centres growing in population while many other Local Government Areas are declining in size.

The figures, based on results of the 2001 Census, show that much of Australia's growth between 1996 and 2001 occurred in outer suburban Local Government Areas (LGAs) of capital cities. Large population increases were recorded in the Sydney LGAs of Liverpool, Blacktown, Baulkham Hills, Wyong and Camden, while the largest growth within Melbourne occurred in the fringe LGAs of Casey, Hume and Mornington Peninsula. Outer suburban areas in other capital cities also experienced growth, such as Doolandella-Forest Lake in Brisbane, Onkaparinga in Adelaide and Wanneroo in Perth.

Australia's inner city areas, especially in the larger cities, also grew rapidly in the five years to June 2001. The LGA of the City of Sydney recorded Australia's highest average annual growth rate, while the LGAs of the City of Perth and the City of Melbourne experienced high rates of growth.

Generally, the largest growth outside capital cities occurred on the coast of Australia. The city of Gold Coast in Queensland recorded the largest population increase of all LGAs in Australia between 1991 and 1996, and the second largest increase between 1996 and 2001. Growth also occurred along most of the eastern seaboard and in south-western Western Australia.

While some regional centres, such as Greater Geelong in Victoria and Maitland in New South Wales, grew in the five years to 2001, many inland Local Government Areas across most states and territories declined in population. Large declines in population occurred in Whyalla in South Australia, Duaringa in Queensland, Ashburton in Western Australia and Launceston in Tasmania.

Further details in Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 1991 to 2001 (cat. no. 3218.0).

LGA populations are freely available from the ABS web site by selecting Themes, Demography, then Population distribution.
Pdf copies of the publication (1.3mb) are available on request by emailing media@abs.gov.au.

Editors and Reporters please take note:

Official Estimated Resident Populations (ERP) are widely used by government to allocate funding. The figures are also keenly received by town and city councils because they are the most accurate population figures for the Local Government Areas where Australians usually live. By definition, these ERPs differ from the 2001 Census figures released last month. This is because the Census counts people according to where they were on Census night (which is not necessarily their usual place of residence), includes overseas visitors and excludes Australians temporarily overseas, while ERP counts Australians in their usual place of residence, excludes overseas visitors and includes Australians who were overseas at the time of the Census. Today's release complements state, territory and national ERPs released on 6 June 2002 in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).

Media contacts are listed below.

New South Wales

The population of Sydney Statistical Division (SD) increased by 273,600 people between 1996 and 2001, from 3.9 million to 4.2 million. The largest population increases occurred in the LGAs of Liverpool (C) (up 35,300), Blacktown (C) (up 26,300), Baulkham Hills (A) (up 21,000) and Sydney (C) (up 17,900). Outside of Sydney SD, all coastal LGAs experienced growth, as did some regional centres, such as Maitland and Griffith.


Melbourne SD grew by 205,500 people between 1996 and 2001, from 3.3 million to 3.5 million. Continuing the trend of the early 1990s, the areas of largest growth in Victoria were located in the outer suburban fringe of the city. Casey (C) experienced the largest population growth (33,000 people) of all LGAs in Victoria, followed by Hume (C) (15,400 people) and Mornington Peninsula (S) (14,900 people). Two of the fastest growing areas in Victoria were the coastal LGAs of Bass Coast (S) and Surf Coast (S). Several regional centres experienced growth, such as Greater Geelong (C), Greater Bendigo (C), and Ballarat (C).


Between June 1996 and June 2001, Brisbane SD grew by 133,400 people to reach 1.7 million. The two most populous LGAs in Queensland, the cities of Brisbane and Gold Coast, experienced the largest increases in population in Australia over this period, up 74,000 and 69,000 people respectively. Other coastal LGAs to experience growth were Thuringowa (C), Townsville (C), Cairns (C) and Hervey Bay (C).

South Australia

Adelaide SD grew by 32,100 people between 1996 and 2001, from 1,078,400 to 1,110,500. The majority of South Australian LGAs to experience large population increases were located in the Adelaide and Outer Adelaide SDs, with the largest growth occurring in the Adelaide LGAs of Onkaparinga (C) (6,800 people), Tea Tree Gully (C) (4,200), Playford (C) (3,800) and Salisbury (C) (3,300). The LGA of Roxby Downs (M), in the Northern SD, recorded the highest growth rate (up 5.7% per year) in South Australia.

Western Australia

Perth SD grew by 102,000 people between 1996 and 2001, from 1.3 million to 1.4 million. The strong growth experienced in the metropolitan fringe areas of Perth in the five years to 1996 continued in the five years to June 2001, with the LGAs of Wanneroo (up 19,400 people), to the north of the city centre, and Swan (up 14,100), to the north east, recording the largest increases in Western Australia. Significant growth also occurred in Broome (up 3,500 people) and on the south-west coast of the state.


Between 1996 and 2001, Hobart SD grew by 2,100 people to reach 197,800. The largest increase in Tasmania was recorded in the LGA of Kingborough (up 1,400 people), an urban fringe area south of Hobart, followed by Hobart City (up 790 people). In the north of the state, Meander Valley (M) and West Tamar (M) also experienced growth.

Northern Territory

Darwin SD was the fastest growing of Australia's capital cities between 1996 and 2001, increasing at 2.5% per year to reach 108,200 people. The largest growth within Darwin occurred in the SLAs of Bakewell (up 2,600 people), Durack (up 2,600) and Palmerston (C) Balance (up 2,500). The LGA of Alice Springs (T) grew by 2,000 people.

Australian Capital Territory

Between 1996 and 2001 the population of the Australian Capital Territory increased by 13,400 people to reach 321,700, with growth slowing to 0.9% per year in the five years to June 2001. Since 1996 the bulk of growth in Canberra has occurred in the Gungahlin-Hall area. Ngunnawal increased by 4,300 people, Nicholls by 4,200 and Amaroo by 2,700.


StateStatistical clarificationMedia interviews, comment
NSWMelissa Webb(02) 9268 4744Paul Molloy(02) 9268 4855
Vic.James Darragh(03) 9615 7476James Darragh(03) 9615 7476
QldMaria Shpakoff (07) 3222 6321David Jayne (07) 3222 6206
SAAndrew Howe(08) 8237 7370Andrew Howe(08) 8237 7370
WABob Winch (08) 9360 5383Janet Gunn (08) 9360 5377
Tas.Chris Sweeney(03) 6222 5853Chris Sweeney(03) 6222 5853
NTLauraine Oakeshott(08) 8943 2179Lauraine Oakeshott(08) 8943 2179
ACTTracy Stewart(02) 6207 0283Tracy Stewart(02) 6207 0283
National/After hours Carolyn Verey

Leanne Dickinson
(02) 6252 6139;
0418 202 580
(02) 6252 7633;
0407 946 124