Almost half of Australian states have recorded a decrease in their intake of overseas migrants according to a recent report compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Fast-growing states such as Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory all experienced a significant decline in population growth rate through overseas migration, causing the average national population growth rate to fall to 1.6%.
Locally, South Australia held steady at 0.9%, a growth rate of just over half the national average.
“Compared with last year, population gains from migration were lower by almost 20,000 people for WA or a drop of close to 40 per cent,” said Denise Carlton from the ABS.
“Similarly, Queensland saw a fall of nearly 10,000 people or 24 per cent in its growth due to overseas migration, along with the Northern Territory, down 2,000 people or 40 per cent, and the Australian Capital Territory, down 700 people or 25 per cent.
New South Wales and Victoria continued to experience growth in net overseas migration, adding 6,300 people and 2,300 people respectively.
Despite recording the state’s lowest growth rate in eight years, Western Australia continued to lead the nation with the fastest overall population growth rate – 2.2 per cent in the year to June 2014.
Migration Solutions Managing Director, Mark Glazbrook, said the figure was a telling statistic.
“The fact that WA’s population growth can fall by 40% and still be more than twice as high as South Australia tells you something about the migration outcomes we’re receiving here in SA at the moment,” he said.
“Whilst it’s a positive sign that South Australia didn’t experience a similar decline, the reality is only Tasmania at 0.3% has a slower population growth rate than us right now.”
The figures come on the back of more troubling signs for South Australia’s economy, which slipped back to seventh in the latest ‘CommSec State of the States’ economic rankings.
“The Northern Territory at 1% and the ACT at 1.2% are still growing at a rate faster than South Australia, so there’s still plenty of work that can be done in this area to boost our local economy,” said Mr Glazbrook.
“If nothing else, these numbers serve as further proof of the need for a serious debate around the role population growth and migration outcomes here in SA.”
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