Stagnant population growth expected to pick up as borders ease open. Image – Canva
  • Shortfall predicted to reach 1.5M people by 2031/32
  • An anticipated influx in migration is hoped to ease the skills shortage
  • The federal government's 2021 Population Statement was released today

Australia’s population outlook has been predicted to fall short 1.5 million people by 2032 compared to predictions made pre-Covid, according to the 2021 Population Statement released by the federal government today.

This can be directly linked to the Covid pandemic and the resulting decline in migration to Australia.

“The introduction of international travel restrictions and quarantine arrangements has led to the first net overseas migration loss from Australia since just after World War II,” the Population Statement from the government explained.

While migration was significantly stunted, the trend of births and deaths in Australia have remained largely unaffected.

Population growth and components, Australia

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, (national, state and territory population, March 2021) and Centre for Population projections

Property Council of Australia (PCA) Chief Executive Ken Morrison believes that while stagnant population growth was a necessary evil, population recovery will be critical to the economy.

“Shutting our borders was a necessary decision to protect human life, but it also meant
switching off population growth, which has been one of Australia’s biggest economic
engines,” Mr Morrison said.

“While noting the uncertainty around Omicron, it’s pleasing to see that Australia’s high
vaccination rates and re-opening of borders has meant net overseas migration is expected to recover earlier than first predicted, but we need to catch up as fast as we can,” he said.

“Getting overseas net migration back to normal levels, as quickly as possible will be critical to Australia’s economic recovery.”

Ken Morrison, Property Council of Australia Chief Executive

Population to stimulate property

A spike in population growth is hoped to ease the nationwide skills shortage which has created unique challenges in the property sector.

According to a survey conducted by the Property Council and ANZ, confidence in the property sector is at the strongest level sing March 2018. The research reported optimism surrounding growth, hiring and future work.

“There is no doubt the property sector is set and ready for a strong rebound, but without migration-led population growth, the sector – which employs more people than any other – just won’t have the skilled workers required to deliver the projects that are ready to roll out,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s pleasing to see the Federal Government building in some ‘catch up’ migration between now and 2024, to make up for the losses of the pandemic,” he added.

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