Sometime around the middle of June next year, Queensland is expected to have 5 million residents (see chart below). This is based on an extrapolation of the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office’s population counter estimate, currently at around 4.95 million, which itself is extrapolated from ABS population estimates, the latest of which were released last week. When it is achieved, the milestone of 5 million Queenslanders will prompt us to reflect on how we have gone at managing our population growth, particularly in SEQ. A frequent example of the challenge of managing our ever increasing population is the heavy congestion on the M1 motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. This will no doubt be a major issue at the upcoming State election, especially in marginal GC seats, as the Opposition has proposed a “second M1” (see this news.com.au report), although it has not actually committed to building it if it wins the next election, which is a very likely prospect according to today’s Sunday Mail.
The March quarter demographic data revealed Queensland’s population growth rate is continuing to move back towards the growth rate of the rest of Australia (see chart below).
This recovery in Queensland’s population growth rate has been driven by an increase in net interstate and net overseas migration (see chart below). A pick up in population growth is likely associated with improving labour market conditions in Queensland over the last year or so. However, as Nick Behrens noted at his QEAS blog:
“Population flows towards employment opportunity but it will take more full-time jobs to really ramp up interstate migration.”
March quarter saw a sharp increase in the quarterly change in population (see chart below), suggesting the through-the-year population growth rate is on an upward trend. So we may see a sustained recovery in the population growth rate to around 1.75%, meaning Queensland Treasury’s forecasts and projections in the Budget of 1.5% p.a. population growth for the next few years may turn out to be a bit conservative.
Finally, even though net interstate migration to Queensland appears to be on an increasing trend, Victoria is still beating us in the interstate migration stakes (see chart below).
And there is still a very small leakage of people (in net terms) to Victoria (see chart below). That is, the number of Queenslanders departing to Victoria to live still slightly exceeds the number of Victorians arriving in Queensland to live.
Finally, regarding Queensland’s improving labour market, note that job vacancies continue to grow strongly according to the latest ABS estimates released last Thursday (see chart below), suggesting employment will continue to grow strongly over the remainder of 2017.