NORTHERN Territory Treasurer Dave Tollner has announced the release of 30-year population projections for the Territory, which he said will provide the government with important information to help plan for the future.
Mr Tollner said Charles Darwin University researchers have been working with the Department of Treasury and Finance to map population growth and characteristics. He added that the projections will help inform government planning, especially in the areas of infrastructure and services.
"Government's budgetary processes generally only projects figures over a five year period. The figures released today provide a greater understanding of what our population will be well into the future and we can plan accordingly," the Treasurer said in a statement last week.
Across the 30-year period, the research found the projected annual average growth rate is 1.5 per cent per annum, with similar growth rates for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.
During this time, the Greater Darwin region is projected to have the highest growth. Population is projected to increase to 172,271 in 2026, an increase of 43,154 people. As a consequence, Greater Darwin's share of the Territory's population is expected to increase from 56 per cent to 58 per cent.
Mr Tollner said the government was catering for future growth through the most ambitious land release program ever undertaken by a Territory Government and ensuring proper planning through the Draft Darwin Regional Land Use Plan, which was released last month.
"This Government recognises the importance of forward planning, not just for the next election, but for the next 50 years. Our Plan lays out a blueprint for future residential, commercial and industrial development in the Greater Darwin area," he said.
"We are also delivering real action on releasing more land for residential development, with $45 million allocated in the recent Budget to deliver land for 6000 new dwellings in the Darwin and Palmerston areas."
Mr Tollner said that while not directly comparable, the new research projects a slightly higher population growth for the Territory over the Budget and forward estimates period compared to the Budget forecast (9.3 per cent compared to the Budget's 8.4 percent).
He said the difference reflects an expected moderation in population growth following the completion of the Ichthys project, which has been accounted for in the Budget.
The population projections are available from the Department of Treasury and Finance website at <http://www.treasury.nt.gov.au/Economy/populationprojections/Pages/default.aspx>.