October 17, 2019
The South Burnett’s population has continued to decline over the past year, according to the latest population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS data shows that in 2018, the region’s population shrank by another 19 residents.
While this number is small when measured against the South Burnett’s estimated 32,555 population, it is the third year in row the region’s population has gone backwards.
It is also the fifth year in a row population growth has fallen well below the average 1.3 per cent growth rate the South Burnett experienced between 2000 and 2013.
Had that growth rate been maintained, the region’s population would now be around 35,000 – roughly 7 per cent bigger.
However, the ABS also reported the trend towards declining regional and rural populations seems to be a national one.
The ABS found while there had been strong population growth across every major Australian city since 2012, many parts of the country lost thousands of people as the mining and agricultural sectors deteriorated.
The ABS reported that between 2012 and 2018, Queensland added 442,000 residents.
However, most of this growth was in Brisbane suburbs such as Sheldon (up 24 per cent), Eagle Farm-Pinkenba (183 per cent) and Taigum-Fitzgibbon (42 per cent).
Outside Brisbane, populations in a number of the State’s key centres are shrinking.
North Mackay’s population has dropped by 14.3 per cent since 2012, while the city’s south has contracted by 13.4 per cent.
The number of people in the Barcaldine-Blackall area fell by 14 per cent, or almost 800, while the population of Longreach slipped 16.3 per cent and Mt Isa dropped by 12.9 per cent to 18,588.
Lack of population growth is important because it effects regional economies.
If Councils do not have a growing base of ratepayers, the impact of rate rises on individual households steadily gets stronger.
Local businesses have fewer customers to sell to, which limits their ability to create jobs.
As well, as many State and Federal government services are funded based on population, a declining population base can lead to cutbacks in government funding and fewer services if the decline isn’t halted.