PHOTO: Is this Queensland’s 5 millionth person? Cordy Kerr-Kennedy was born yesterday in Townsville. (ABC News: Mark Jeffery)
Queensland’s population has tipped the 5 million mark today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told State Parliament.
Ms Palaszczuk said several expectant families were on standby to welcome the state’s five-millionth resident.
“Somewhere today a brand new mum and dad will be eager to meet their new arrival,” she told the house.
“The whole family will want to know: is it a boy or is it a girl? And the doctor will say, ‘congratulations, it’s a Queenslander’.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the two main drivers of the increase were migration growth, particularly from New South Wales, and from 60,000 babies being born in the past year.
The state’s five-millionth resident was born today.(ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)
“Overseas and interstate migration is up by 50,000 people in the past year, 19,000 came from interstate … more than 12,000, or 230 a week, move from New South Wales to Queensland,” she said.
ABS data also revealed the fastest and largest-growing area in Queensland in 2016-17 was Pimpama on the Gold Coast, which grew by 3,000 people.
Large growth also occurred in Jimboomba on Brisbane’s south side and in North Lakes — a suburb north of the city — which both increased by 2,100 people.
Coomera on the Gold Coast and Springfield Lakes in Ipswich also experienced large growth up 1,400 people.
The State Government’s population counter gives a “synthetic estimate” of the number of current Queenslanders, assuming a total population increase of one person every 6 minutes and 22 seconds.
Earlier this year the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Queensland’s population was growing at 1.7 per cent and was projected to tick over to 5 million in May.
ABS data released in March also revealed Brisbane was one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and had increased by 48,000 in 2017, hitting 2.4 million people.
PHOTO: The ABS estimated Queensland’s population was growing 1.7 per cent a year. (AAP: Dan Peled)
ABS demography director Anthony Grubb said the state’s population had “come a long way” in the last century.
“In 1901 the population was half a million; a tenth of what it is today… it took 37 years to hit the 1 million milestone in 1938 and another 36 years to reach 2 million in 1974,” he said.
But Mr Grubb said population growth “picked up the pace” after that, taking just 18 years to reach 3 million then only another 14 years to hit 4 million in 2006.
Queensland could be leading growth state in future
Population demographer Dr Elin Charles-Edwards said although Queensland is not currently the fastest growing state, it is possible it could top the leader board later down the track.
‘Not in the short-term, but Queensland is coming up off a relatively subdued growth so perhaps we might be entering an era of more rapid growth,” she said.
Dr Charles-Edwards said the challenges that generally come with increased population could be managed in Queensland.
“As long as we keep up and don’t take our eye off the ball we can continue to absorb quite high levels of growth… but really it’s keeping up with the infrastructure that’s the key challenge,” she said.
Dr Charles-Edwards said it was important to note some parts of the state, particularly in western Queensland, were experiencing population decline.
“While the south-east corner is growing and also many Indigenous communities are growing, other parts of the state are shrinking,” she said.
“Perhaps we could do more to encourage people to move outside the south-east corner.
“If we were able to work out some way to decentralise our population, growth a little bit further up into the northern regional centres, I think that would benefit the growth of south-east Queensland.”