Pathways to Settlement – Population mobility in regional Western Australia from 2001 to 2011

Pathways to Settlement – Population mobility in regional Western Australia from 2001 to 2011 Report

  • Author(s): Fiona Haslam McKenzie, Aileen Hoath
  • Secondary Author(s): Annemarie Ashton-Wyatt, Jack Archer
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Regional Australia Institute

Abstract: Economic changes can influence population mobility, as people move in search of work or a better life. Sudden or unbalanced population change, driven by any factor, can create economic, social and resource stresses which need to be addressed through planning and development strategies. The challenge ahead for regional planning in Western Australia is how to translate the benefits of the resources boom into lasting change, while also meeting identified policy goals to develop stronger regional cities and towns with growing populations and durable local economies. Western Australia experienced substantial overall population growth in the period from 2006-2011. This increase was mostly driven by increased employment demand in the resources sector, which created substantial migration flows into the State and within the State. Populations grew in the metropolitan area and regional areas. Very high growth was more likely to occur in regional areas, with double the proportion of regional local government areas (LGAs)experiencing five percent or more annual average growth compared to Perth in 2006-2011. Regional growth was also widespread. Over 52 percent of regional LGAs experienced annual average population growth in 2006-2011, compared to just 20 percent in 2001-2006. Despite this high growth, the city/regional proportions remained relatively stable, with regional areas accounting for a third of the state’s population in 2001-2006 and 2006-2011. The areas which experienced the highest population growth in 2006-2011 were the Pilbara, the Kimberley, the Peel and the South West regions. Yet, growth was not uniform across the State. A minority of LGAs continued to experience population loss from2006-2011, but many of these did have a slowing in the rate of loss compared to 2001-2006. This research identifies the four key trends driving population change in regional areas of Western Australia: 1.Growth in mining regions –particularly in the Pilbara, Kimberley, Mid West, Goldfields/Esperance, Gascoyne, and Peel regions; 2.Growth in peri-urban regions –concentrated in the north-south corridor of the Wheatbelt and Peel LGAs in close proximity to the Perth metropolitan area; 3.Growth in coastal areas –higher in selected areas directly on the coast in the South West, Mid West and Great Southern regions; and 4.Decline or stasis in inland, non-mining regions –particularly the inland, non-mining areas of the Wheatbelt, Mid West, Gascoyne and Great Southern regions

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Fiona Haslam McKenzie, Aileen Hoath, 2014, Pathways to Settlement – Population mobility in regional Western Australia from 2001 to 2011, Report, viewed 13 August 2022,

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