Lifestyle the new mining for Western Australia
New research by the regional Australia Institute highlights the importance of lifestyle as the next key driver for population growth in Western Australia.
Western Australia experienced the highest rate of population growth in Australia between 2006 and 2011.
Population growth was found in both metropolitan and regional areas. But very high growth was more likely to occur in the regions.
Although employment demand in the resources sector was the biggest driver of growth, research shows that there is much more to the picture.
Pathways to Settlement: population mobility in regional Western Australia from 2001 to 2011 identifies four key drivers of population change:
- Resource industry labour demand driving growth in mining regions;
- Demand for affordable housing and lifestyle properties extending peri-urban sprawl into the regions close to Perth;
- A new level of sea-change, fuelled by increasing numbers of retirees and the development of FIFO commuter routes; and,
- Structural adjustment in inland, non-mining, agricultural areas reducing labour demands and contributing to stasis or population decline in some areas.
In addition to being a drawcard for attracting new people, lifestyle is also a key factor for population retention.
Employment is a critical enabler of moving to the regions, but lifestyle, affordable housing, infrastructure, and service availability keep people in the regions. These conditions are particularly important for families and younger people.
Despite the focus on growth, the importance of strategies to retain existing regional residents should not be understated. Especially for regions that are currently heavily dependent on the resource industry.
If you currently live in Western Australia (or are thinking of moving) we want to know about your decision to live there and what will impact your decision to stay in regional Western Australia in the future. You can get involved by commenting below, or heading to the Have Your Say section of the website. You can also join the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
To read the RAI’s full report click here.