Victoria’s population growth has surged to more than 100,000 a year for the first time since 2009, as net overseas migration swelled to a four-year high.
The Bureau of Statistics estimates that the state’s population grew by 102,000 or 1.82 per cent in the year to March. It was the biggest growth of any state, and in the March quarter the biggest increase from net migration.
The ABS estimates the number of permanent and long-term migrants arriving in Australia rose to more than 500,000 in the year to March, also for the first time since 2009.
Most of them eventually depart, so net overseas migration in the year to March was 238,300. After climbing almost 40 per cent from 172,000 in 2010, this appears to have peaked, with migrant inflows into the resource states slowing as mining construction declines.
Victoria was the only state in which population growth continued to accelerate in the March quarter. Australia’s population grew by 397,000 or 1.76 per cent, to pass 23 million in March.
At this rate, Australia would have 25 million people by the end of 2017 – with the last 5 million added in just 13 years.
Victoria had 5.713 million people in March, and if it keeps growing at this rate, would top 6 million at the start of 2016. It has added more than a million people since 2000, and on current rates, will add another million by 2021.
Melbourne’s population is on track to rise from 4.25 million in mid-2012 to 4.5 million by 2015 and 5 million by 2020. By the end of next year, it will have grown 30 per cent in just 15 years.
But the bragging rights from rapid population growth come at a cost. If the growth in population is not matched by growth in the infrastructure to support it, it leads to congestion on the roads, in public transport and in hospital wards.
Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien highlighted the bureau’s estimate that Victoria gained a net 1530 people in interstate migration in the March quarter, the biggest gain since March 2002.
Mr O’Brien said more people arrived in Victoria in the year to March than could find a seat at the MCG. “Victoria’s population has grown by over 100,000 persons over the year to March, almost 2000 people every week,” he said.
“People both within Australia and internationally want to live and work here, which is continuing to boost our economy. Victoria is the premier state for new arrivals.”
Western Australia had the fastest state growth. Its population rose by 3.4 per cent to under 2.5 million at the end of March. Perth is set to pass 2 million this year.
*Article by Tim Colebatch, ‘The Age’ September 27, 2013