New South Wales

NSW Planning Department releases population projections

THE NSW Department of Planning released its population projections last week, revealing that strong growth is projected in many areas of New South Wales. The figures are contained in a new population projections report, produced by the Department of Planning, which covers the period from 2006 to 2036.

Regional areas with the strongest projected population growth are Queanbeyan (up 72%), Maitland (up 71%), Palerang (up 69%) and Tweed (up 59%). Other areas with strong growth included Yass Valley, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Eurobodalla, Coffs Harbour, Snowy River and Great Lakes.

The Sydney metropolitan area is projected to have a population over just over 5.5 million in 2036. The greatest projected population growth in Sydney metropolitan subregions area are the South West (increase of 113%), Sydney City (60%) and the North West (52%).

Planning Minister Tony Kelly said "it's pleasing to see some of our inland and coastal areas are expected to experience strong growth, helping the State's regional economy. Apart from regional centres, the projections also indicated strong population growth in western Sydney, central Sydney, coastal areas and areas to the north and east of Canberra."

Mr Kelly said the report enabled government to plan for the future. "These population projections enable all levels of government to know and plan for the challenges facing us over the next 25 years, be it to reverse decline in some rural areas or meet the needs of a booming population in high-growth areas," he said.

Some of the more specific demographic changes expected to occur in NSW, include:

  • Future population growth is projected to be strong in: many parts of western Sydney; a few areas of central Sydney; areas on, or near, the coast; areas to the north and east of Canberra; and many regional centres, such as Albury, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Griffith, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.
  • An increase in the percentage of people aged 65 and above in every local area in NSW;
  • Growth in the 0-14 year old population will be limited mostly to the metropolitan, coastal and areas surrounding Canberra; and
  • Most local areas with small populations (those under 5,000 people) are projected to experience population decline, including those in remote parts of the State.

The NSW Department of Planning population projections are calculated using demographic trends from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, including resident populations and the underlying births, deaths and migration for an area. In metropolitan Sydney, statistics on housing and land availability – such as housing supply and average household size – are also taken into consideration. State agencies and local government also provide input to discuss factors which may potentially impact on an area's population.

Reference: Department of Planning (2010) New South Wales Statistical Local Area Population Projections, 2006-2036, New South Wales Government, <>

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