Understanding the future scale and demographic composition of the local population is an important component of strategic planning. It is essential infrastructure planning and services provision proactively accommodates the population potential to facilitate and support anticipated growth.
Cairns local government area has experienced volatile population growth in recent years due to the strong relationship between economic outcomes and net migration outcomes. In 2008, Cairns was one of the strongest growing local government areas in Queensland (in terms of population growth). However, population growth slowed considerably following the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, as construction and tourism activity in the region softened significantly.
State government estimates for Cairns local government area suggest a lower rate of growth in the local population between 2016 and 2041 than had been recorded in the 2006 to 2017 period. AEC was engaged by Cairns Regional Council to develop a detailed set of population projections to sense check these projections.
Population projections were developed by age and sex for the five yearly periods between 2016 and 2041. These projections considered future trends in local fertility and mortality rates as well as Carin’s potential future net migration profile. AEC also analysed the potential population impacts associated with planned construction activity for the region in the short to medium term. The resulting projections were in line with those developed by the Queensland Statisticians Office, suggesting the population could increase at an average annual rate of 1.6% between 2016 and 2041.