Our population hotspots and how your business can take advantage

Retailers, builders and financial services companies will benefit the most from Australia’s massive population growth, according to industry experts.


The comments come following the release of new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealing population hotspots in regions such as Perth, which has recorded the fastest population growth at 12.8% during 2008-09.


The figures highlight the challenges and opportunities in Australia’s population boom – while it is providing businesses with ample opportunities to reach new customers, it has also given state and local governments headaches in delivering much-needed infrastructure.


The figures show the fastest growth is occurring in Perth with over 52,000 reaching the city, followed by the Tammin region in Western Australia at a growth rate of 8.75%. Wyndham in Victoria follows with 8.08%, closely trailed by the Victorian region of Melton at 7.88%. Serpentine-Jarrahdale in Western Australia recorded growth of 7.64%.


Ipswich in Queensland was the state’s top performer at 4.99%, followed by Canada Bay at 4.71% in New South Wales. Auburn and Strathfield in New South Wales came in at 3.66% and 3.43% respectively.


Other booming regions included Mandurah, Western Australia at 5.34%, Hervey Bay in Queensland at 4.52%, Bunbury in Western Australia at 4.33%, Cairns in Queensland at 3.26% and Gladstone, also in Queensland, at 3.22%.


The capital cities also recorded solid growth, with Melbourne up 4%, Darwin up 2.6%, Sydney up 2.58%, Adelaide up 2.35% and Brisbane up 2.05%. Additionally, Canberra recorded population growth of 1.78% and Hobart of 0.48%.


CommSec economist Craig James said in a report that businesses must pay clear attention to these trends and jump on them as soon as possible to maximise their growth.


“For businesses, information on where population growth rates are rising the fastest is clearly advantageous. Fast population growth figures should be a key consideration for any business to focus on.”


“And if businesses and planners aren’t scrutinising the population figures, then they aren’t doing their jobs properly and missing valuable opportunities.”


He said the strength of the resource investment options in Western Australia has led to a “staggering growth rate” in Perth, and that “labour shortages and strong wages” have pushed up overall population in the surrounding areas.


But other fast-growing regions include Victoria, with its top areas recording annual growth of about 8% – its fastest pace since the 1960s. Growth in the suburbs of New South Wales has been located around the inner city, which James recognises as a hotbed of activity for businesses in coming years.


“Inner city living… is an address that remains popular and is likely to be highly sought after in coming years – especially by Generation Y given the proximity to the city, living closer to work, lifestyle and amenities.”


“The solid pace of population growth will continue to underpin housing demand. And planners and policy makers certainly need to scrutinise population figures, before investing in new housing, transport and infrastructure developments to ensure resources are allocated to the areas with the highest demand.”


Demographer Bernard Salt says businesses, especially those in the retail industries offering home-based services and products, need to pay attention to these trends and go where the growth is located.


“Population growth which is identified by locality has a direct impact on the demand of housing. Infrastructure, for instance, along with housing construction-based businesses and housing finance.”

“Home-based businesses are set to do extremely well, so consider bulky goods, food-based retailers, more general shopping. Financial services associated with the provision of services will also do extremely well in these areas.”


Salt says moving to growth areas “goes to the heart of tactical planning”, and says businesses need to investigate which areas will give them the most benefit and why.


“Other businesses which could be interested in these areas would be those working with local and state governments, two bodies which would be vitally aware of the growth in demand for services. These could be businesses such as building trades, so electricians, carpenters, roofers, landscape gardeners, anyone involved in home construction and so on.”


“But there will also be a need for setting up infrastructure and services such as schools, secondary schools, police stations, fire stations, regional officers for government services such as Centrelink, and so on. Businesses wanting to get in on these trends need to be positioned where the city is growing most rapidly.”


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