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Adelaide Lord Mayor calls for national population strategy

ADELAIDE Lord Mayor Martin Haese has called for a National Population Strategy to address the inequity of population growth in Australia, as well as an investigation into reinstating Adelaide's special migration status to support population growth.

In a statement this week, the Lord Mayor welcomed the release of ABS data showing City of Adelaide Estimated Residential Growth (ERG) of 2.1 per cent over the past twelve months, outstripping the national ERG of 1.4 per cent.

Adelaide city skyline
Above: Adelaide city skyline / by Chris.

"While this number falls short of previous targets set by both Council and the State Government for the city, considering the enormous economic transition we are making to be a globally competitive 21st century economy, we are doing well; but can do better," Cr Haese said.

"The growth rate fell slightly short of Melbourne's 2.4 per cent but exceeded Brisbane's (1.8 per cent) and Sydney (1.7 per cent). This is a positive sign that our Strategic Plan is taking effect with a focus on growing our residential population in a methodical, staged approach that is resonating with the development community and the growing number of people wanting to live in the city.

"Strategic population growth is critical for our economy, however, the really big concern for the City of Adelaide is the growing inequity of overseas migrants predominately settling in the eastern states and the recent loss of our knowledge workers to the eastern states. These are the types of workers we seek to retain the most.

"ABS Immigration data shows in 2015-16 South Australia welcomed a net migration of 9,163 yet NSW received 71,161 migrants (net) and Victoria 65,007 (net). This is incredibly disproportionate and reflects an in-balance in meeting Commonwealth needs and national equity.

"That is why the City of Adelaide debated a motion to submit to the Australian Local Government Authority National General Assembly, calling on the Federal Government to support a National Population Strategy.

"Population growth is critical to our sustainability and we need our fair share of migrants and in-particular business migrants, to broaden our economy and take the pressure off the likes of Sydney and Melbourne growing to become unsustainable mega cities.

"Melbourne's population grew by 107,800 in one year, mostly fueled by migration. That equates to further traffic gridlock, loss in productivity and significant investment required by the Federal Government into infrastructure to fix problems we do not have here in Adelaide."

The Lord Mayor also called for a serious look at the reinstatement of the Special Migration Status Adelaide had in the early 2000s that lifted the State's population and economic fortunes.

Photo: Adelaide city skyline / 'Dusk on the footbridge' / Chris / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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