Regarding my previous post noting SEQ’s dominance in population terms, regular QEW reader Mike Willis commented perceptively:
Gene, it seems the concentration will be reinforced, if the most recent Qld government statistician’s report is any guide. State population growth is expected to be 2.3m from 2016 to 2041, of which 1.3m is in the greater Brisbane region alone (defined as Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Beaudesert and Moreton Bay)… http://www.qgso.qld.gov.au/products/reports/qld-govt-pop-proj/index.php
If you add in the Gold & Sunshine Coasts, your Pareto principle looks like it will be even more concentrated, with the South East corner taking well over 80% of the state’s growth.
This presents some challenges for future governments in terms of infrastructure, with transport and health services (in particular) already pressured by the current growth. The state debt level will compound this challenge.
Of course, there are opportunities for decentralisation of government services and hubs into regional and near-coastal cities, many of which offer great lifestyles.
This increasing concentration of people in SEQ is due in large part to net internal (i.e. within Australia) and overseas migration, as both fellow Australians and immigrants are attracted to SEQ’s employment, business and lifestyle opportunities relative to many other parts of the state. Typically, rates of net internal migration and net overseas migration are much higher in SEQ local government areas (LGAs) than in other regions of the state. For instance, check out the thematic map below of the net internal migration rate for Queensland’s LGAs in 2016-17, the latest available data published by the ABS. The net internal migration (NIM) rate is net internal migration (arrivals minus departures) in 2016-17 expressed as a percentage of the population in 2015-16. Note that in 2016-17 the NIM rate was negative in many parts of regional Queensland, which in part would be attributable to the end of the mining investment boom and also drought.
And here’s a map showing rates of net overseas migration, which are also typically higher in SEQ, although well-positioned coastal LGAs such as Cairns, Douglas, Cassowary Coast and Whitsunday also do well:
For greater clarity here’s a closer view of southern Queensland:
Unsurprisingly, especially given the huge growth in international education in recent years, Brisbane has the highest rate of net overseas migration in the state (and also rather obviously, as it’s the largest LGA, the highest population gain due to net overseas migration).
I acknowledge the data I’ve presented in this post are only for a single year; I could quickly generate these maps as I’d used the data set in my previous post. In a future post, I intend to discuss longer-term trends based on the Census data. But I expect the story will be the same. For instance, see this article on the ABS website by UQ researchers, which shows SEQ regions the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Moreton Bay as having the highest net internal migration rates in the five years to the 2016 Census night:
Finally, on the increasing predominance of SEQ, also consider the projections in Jobs Queensland’s Anticipating Future Skills report (discussed on p. 15):
Around 75 per cent of growth in employment is projected to occur in the major population centres of South East Queensland. Brisbane and Ipswich are forecast to account for employment growth of 75,000, with a further 34,000 on the Gold Coast, 21,000 in Moreton Bay – North and – South (combined) and almost 14,000 on the Sunshine Coast. Employment in Queensland – Outback is projected to decline under the baseline scenario…
Councils outside SEQ will need to think even harder about how to improve the relative attractiveness of their regions to potential residents and investors with a view to counteracting the strong pull of SEQ.