FOR the fourth consecutive quarter, Australia's annual population growth rate remained steady at 1.4 per cent for the year ending 30 September 2011, according to new figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Western Australia continues to have the fastest growing population in the country, increasing by 2.6 per cent (or 60,700 people) in the year to 30 September 2011. Victoria's population increased the most in absolute terms, adding 82,600 people over the year (1.5 per cent).
The Australian Capital Territory recorded the second highest growth rate (1.9 per cent or 6,900 additional people), followed by Queensland (1.7 per cent or 75,500), Victoria, New South Wales (1.1 per cent or 76,700), South Australia (0.8 per cent 13,000) and Tasmania and the Northern Territory (both 0.5 per cent or 2,800 and 1,200 respectively).
In the year to 30 September 2011, Australia's population increased by 319,600 people to 22.7 million (22,696,000) people. Net overseas migration accounted for 54 per cent of the growth for the year ending September 2011, with the remaining 46 per cent due to natural increase (births minus deaths).
The ABS reported that net overseas migration continued to decline to the end of September 2011, but only slightly. The preliminary net overseas migration estimate for the year ending September 2011 (172,500 people) was 2 per cent (or 3,500) lower than that for September 2010 (176,000 people).
Based on preliminary figures, there were 294,300 births registered in the year ending September 2011, 0.6 per cent (or 1,800) more than the previous year (292,500). The number of deaths registered over the same period was 147,200, 2.8 per cent (or 4,000) more than the previous year (143,100).
At a local level, the ABS estimates reveal that six of the ten fastest-growing Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country were in the outer suburban fringes of Melbourne and Perth. Wyndham, located in Melbourne's west, was the nation's fastest growing LGA (7.8 per cent).
This was followed by Serpentine-Jarrahdale (WA, 6.9 per cent), Cook (Queensland, 6.4 per cent), Cardinia (Victoria, 5.9 per cent), Melton (Victoria, 5.6 per cent), Whittlesea (Victoria, 5.6 per cent), Armadale (WA, 5.4 per cent), Mandurah (WA, 5.3 per cent), Kwinana (WA, 4.8 per cent) and Exmouth (WA, 4.3 per cent).
The preliminary September quarter 2011 population estimates are the last quarterly estimates to be based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. The next quarterly estimates (December 2011) to be released on 20 June 2012 will be the first estimates based on the results of the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.