Ross Greenwood speaks to Demographer, Mark McCrindle, about Queensland’s five millionth resident, putting the population five years ahead of schedule.
Introduction: Queensland welcomes its 5 millionth resident
Ross Greenwood: Now a landmark today. A baby was born in Queensland, which is something that happens pretty much every day. However, this baby happened to be the five millionth person in Queensland. The population of Queensland today went through five million people. Now if it wasn’t actually a baby born today that was the five millionth resident of Queensland, it would have certainly been somebody coming in on an international flight, who was coming for permanent immigration into the state.
The interesting part about this whole story is that Queensland’s population has basically five million people, four years ahead of schedule. We were talking about the potential crowding and whether visas should be given for to people to go to rural areas a little earlier on the program. However, lets now go to Mark McCrindle, who’s one of Australia’s leading demographers, who certainly will know whether this is early, and what indeed is going to happen into the future. Mark, many thanks to your time.
Interview with: Mark McCrindle, Demographer
Mark McCrindle: Happy to be with you, Ross.
Ross Greenwood: All right. What’s happening in Queensland as far as I can see, looking at the ABS stats, there’s places like Pimpama, Jimboomba, North Lakes that have had massive population growth. The new housing estates basically on the edges of Brisbane. This is where a lot of the population, I think Pimpama, I was just having a quick look, has risen by 30% over the past 12 months. That says a lot of new residents coming in but obviously, there’s clearly population growth from new immigrants coming into Queensland. Five million people in Queensland, can the state cope?
Mark McCrindle: It is coping because as you say its got the greenfield development opportunities outside of its capital. It’s not so much growth around Brisbane, its Sunshine Coast, its Gold Coast, its Cairns and Townsville and Toowoomba. It’s got more of Australia’s top 30 cities than the largest states of New South Wales and Victoria. Its got population right up the Coast, and a big land mass. It can absorb these numbers. Although, the growth has been faster than was forecast.
Ross Greenwood: That being the case, we know that the capital cities of Melbourne and Sydney have been growing much more strongly than what even potentially Brisbane has. What had been previously almost a diaspora of people going to the Northern States has actually being stemmed. In fact, it’s immigrants coming in from overseas that have been populating Melbourne and Sydney. That has seen big house price growth. Some of the squeezes on infrastructure and services in those capital cities as well.
Is it one of these things where Australians should be trying to encourage more people to head to Queensland? Some of those big regional cities? Also, Brisbane itself because they do have the room that maybe Sydney and Melbourne don’t these days?
Mark McCrindle: They sure do. While we’re talking about this big milestone of five million people in Queensland, Sydney’s population is above five million in the one city. A land mass of 1.7 million square kilometers up there for a population that’s less than Sydney’s. It’s–
Ross Greenwood: The truth is that Melbourne is catching Sydney fast. This is one of the other big issues right now is that, ultimately, Melbourne, in terms of population, is going to be a bigger city than Sydney within a matter of years if not a decade.
Mark McCrindle: Within the next decade, exactly right. The fastest growing city in Australia is Melbourne. Queensland has joined New South Wales and Victoria in that the number one factor of growth is the net overseas migration in the last 12 months. The five millionth Queenslander, as you said, most likely gets down to Brisbane International. That’s where the numbers are at the moment. The natural increase is pretty strong though. Its got a third green light of growth which New South Wales and Victoria doesn’t have. That is the net interstate migration.
It gains more people from the rest of Australia than it loses. New South Wales loses more than it gains interstate. Those triple factors of growth is really what’s driving Queensland at the moment. Because of its regional focus, you have more than half of the state’s population lives outside of its capital. Whereas New South Wales, two-thirds of New South Wales lives in Sydney. It’s more decentralized than the Southern States and that means it can sustain its growth.
Ross Greenwood: Isn’t it a really interesting thing that I know the base of that five million people in Queensland? There’s basically two and a half million people in the city in Brisbane and two and a half million people in the regional areas. Now, I’m old enough that I can remember Sydney and Melbourne, each of them having two and a half million people. They were considered to be big cities then. Brisbane itself is actually a rapidly growing city in terms of its size, but also in terms of its scale. It’s growing outwards but it’s growing in density.
Mark McCrindle: That’s right. I think when we talk about Queensland, it’s not just Brisbane, it’s southeast Queensland. That’s part of infrastructure challenge because you’ve got not only the third largest city in Brisbane, but you’ve got there the sixth largest city in the Gold Coast and the ninth largest city in Australia in terms of the Sunshine Coast. All in that combined area. Then, you’ve got Toowoomba as well, of course. It’s linking these cities, it’s making sure the infrastructure is there, and ensuring that the reason that people are moving there, whether they’d be from interstate or overseas, is the lifestyle and the affordability that that is maintained into the future.
Ross Greenwood: It’s going to be fascinating to watch just how long it takes for another million people to end up in Queensland as well. Mark McCrindle, always great with his time on the program. One of Australia’s leading demographers. Mark, I appreciate your time this evening.
Mark McCrindle: Anytime, Thanks, Ross.
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