Nila Sweeney

Australia's explosive population growth shows no sign of abating. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia's population grew by 2.1% or 443,000 during the past 12 months ending June 2009. The growth rate of 2.1% is the highest gain in 40 years.

Overseas migration accounted for more than half of this growth at 64% or 285,000 people. Natural increase through the excess of birth over death contributed 158,000 or 36%. As at 30 June 2009, Australia's population had grown to 21,875,000.

Western Australia recorded the fastest population growth at 3%, thanks to the new projects currently underway in the state. Queensland also achieved a strong growth at 2.6%, the Northern Territory at 2.3%, Victoria at 2.1% and NSW at 1.7%.

 Craig James, chief economist with CommSec said the solid pace of population growth will continue to underpin housing demand.
"Simply, more people mean more homes to be built and mouths to feed. While the cost of housing is causing children to stay with their parents longer and more generations to share houses, the demand for new homes continues to rise.

The strong pace of population growth is underpinning retail sales, new building and demands on our roads, schools and hospitals. While the record lift in the number of people in the country is a development to be celebrated, from a planning perspective it requires constant attention. Unfortunately too many state and territory governments aren't adequately addressing the population demands on housing, leading to higher rents and prices," he said.

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