For over a year now, I’ve been commenting on the reversal of the long-term pattern of Queensland gaining people from Victoria through interstate migration (e.g. see this post from June). This reversal has contributed to a large decline in interstate migration to Queensland. While we continue to gain people from NSW, the net loss of people to Victoria persists, as revealed by the most recent population data released by the ABS on Thursday last week (see charts below). Thankfully, the net loss to Victoria is still relatively small, at fewer than 1,000 people per annum. As I’ve noted previously, the net loss to Victoria is likely due to better job opportunities, particularly for professionals, in Victoria. Given the current state of the Queensland economy, this will probably continue for some time.
Our very low rate of interstate migration is a major cause of Queensland’s population growth rate being lower than the national average (see the Queensland Treasury brief). Given our relatively low population growth, we shouldn’t expect to see a strong economic recovery in the near term being led by the residential construction sector.
Qld does well when its regions do well. Brisbane as a capital is a dud compared with Sydney or Melbourne, it has few corporate head offices, it is not a financial hub, little manufacturing, not much tourism, apart from Govt agencies it doesn’t create a place people would identify good career prospects. Gold Coast, Whitsundays, Cairns, they drive tourism, Townsville out to the west, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Toowoomba west they all drive agriculture and mining. Apart from recent construction activity Brisbane as a growth driver has never performed well and until things pick up in the regions things in Qld look fairly ordinary.
Glen, I agree partly with you on that. Historically SEQ as a whole has been attractive to interstate and intrastate migrants. My feeling is the attractiveness of the Brisbane metro area has dropped over the last decade or so as the city has become more congested and less livable (although some offset has been provided by investments in Southbank and other riverside areas). Brisbane was easy to get around and live in when it was a city of 1 million. Now it’s almost 2 million it’s a lot less livable.
Very true Gene, I did the opposite to you and left Brisbane 20 years ago and ended up in Townsville, back then anyone leaving regional areas after school or when retiring headed mostly to SEQ, now the young people want to go to Melbourne or Sydney or overseas, retirees are staying where they are and downsizing, or heading to central NSW and places like that, Brisbane just doesn’t seem to appeal anymore.
I have been to Brisbane only once, but it did not have any appeal. Was it Paul Keating who described it as a country town with traffic lights? That would have been in the 1980s but it is close to the mark. There appears to be an ad hoc and inadequate approach to infrastructure. Whoever is responsible for planning appears to be playing catch up. In this regard, it is no different from any other capital city. The government is broke and on every wider picture (state, national and international) there will be low growth for some time to come. Queensland has been central to the resources boom but that is now over. The regions will be faced with relative adjustment. Tourism and agriculture could do well, mining will find it difficult Queensland, like the rest of Australia will have to undergo structural adjustment. Low growth will mean a low appetite for risk. People will stay where they are.