POLL: Australians believe North Australia would benefit from more population

24 May 2012

Newspoll: 62.8% THINK NORTH AUSTRALIA NEEDS A POPULATION INCREASE

This Newspoll conducted exclusively for the Institute of Public Affairs shows that a majority of Australians believe increasing the population of Northern Australia would be a good thing for the region.

63% of Australians have said that North Australia would benefit from a higher population. Only 15% have said that a higher population would be bad for North Australia. Support for the poll was strongest in Western Australia, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, with over 60% of respondents from these states agreeing that a population increasing would be a good thing for Northern Australia.

For the poll, North Australia was defined as the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of West Australia, the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland. 

Population growth in North Australia

According to the Intergenerational Report (IGR) 2010, Australia’s population is projected to increase from 22.2 million in 2010 to 35.9 million in 2050. This figure was adopted as a target by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd upon the release of the IGR.

Australia remains the least densely populated developed country in the world at 2.9 people per square kilometre. Only Namibia (2.6/km2) and Mongolia (1.7/km2) are less densely populated.

When prompted on which region population growth could take place in, namely North Australia, a clear majority of respondents believe the region would benefit from an increased population.

At present, over half of skilled migrants end up in Melbourne or Sydney. A new category of skilled migration should be investigated which has a specific condition that migrants live in Northern Australia for the duration of their visa. This would help boost economic development and alleviate skills shortages that are holding back many industries in Northern Australia.

Read the full briefing document here:

LANDMARK POLL ON POPULATION GROWTH IN NORTH AUSTRALIA