Urban sprawl?: Housing growth in Banora Point East is accommodating an increased population including many retirees.
Urban sprawl?: Housing growth in Banora Point East is accommodating an increased population including many retirees. John Houldsworth

Slowdown will ‘hit economy'

THE Tweed, with its already high proportion of elderly residents, could be one of the most affected areas following any reduction in population growth foreshadowed by new Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Yesterday Tweed Economic Development Corporation chief executive Tom Senti warned the Tweed needed sustainable growth in jobs, because no matter how high national population growth becomes, the area is in the middle of an inevitable growth corridor.

And a NSW developers' group said Federal Government population projections already assumed a sharp cut in Australia's historical rate of population growth, and more reductions would harm the economy.

Mr Senti said the Tweed's high aged population offered a glimpse of Australia's future in 21 years' time and called on federal and state governments to start planning now by decentralising private and public sector jobs to regional growth areas.

“We are now where the country will be in 2031 in terms of population demographics,” Mr Senti said.

“By 2031 we will have 38 per cent of our population over 65.

“Based on our projections of 126,000 to 130,000 people, that equates to 45,600 people over 65.

“Population growth is something that is going to happen. We have to look at how that growth is sustainable in terms of employment.”

Mr Senti said if the NSW Northern Rivers was chosen as one of the next areas for the government's NBN broadband roll-out, its proximity to Gold Coast airport and Brisbane could make it attractive for the relocation of government agencies and corporate offices from Sydney.

But that would still need decentralisation policies and planing at high levels of government.

Developer lobby group, the Urban Taskforce, meanwhile warned more reductions in future population growth would harm the economy.

The Taskforce's chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said Australia had grown at an average annual rate of 1.4 per cent over the past 40 years.



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