South-west population forecast to grow, figures show

The region’s population is set to top 100,000 by 2036 with forecast growth across all south-west local government areas, the latest figures show.

Local government reports, developed by ID Forecasts using 2016 Census data, shows the region will grow by about 12,000 people from an estimated 88,000 in 2018.

Warrnambool is set to experience the biggest growth over the next 18 years, estimated to increase by almost 11,000 people by 2036, from about 35,377 to 46,210.

It’s good news too for Corangamite Shire, which after a decade-long trend of population decline should experience growth in future years.

The report forecasts the shire will increase by more than 400 people by 2036, from 16,172 people in 2018 to 16,574. It follows a loss of 682 residents since 2006.

Corangamite mayor Jo Beard said the population increase capped off a hat-trick of good news with the shire also enjoying business growth and higher employment.

“More people are predicted to move to the shire, attracted by the rural lifestyle and job opportunities,” she said.

“That is likely to have a flow-on effect for attracting external investors and building even more opportunities.

“With more residents, and more disposable income, we can expect growth in businesses and services that will further improve what Corangamite has to offer.”

Corangamite Shire’s economic development manager Michael Emerson said developments such as the recently-approved hot springs resort near the Twelve Apostles could provide a further boost.

“Such developments have the potential to increase the population significantly,” he said.

Economic estimates by analyst REMPLAN also show positive economic signs for the shire, with Corangamite’s economy growing by $33 million over 2016.

Mr Emerson said the report showed the construction, real estate, retail trade, manufacturing and healthcare/community services sectors had grown.

“Agriculture is still the largest sector by far, worth $198 million to the economy,” he said.

Mr Emerson said the bulk of the shire’s population growth would be in its central and southern/coastal areas.

Its picture-perfect coastlines are also helping the Moyne Shire to grow, with Port Fairy expected to increase by about 1000 people to a population of 4000 by 2041.

In 2016, Moyne had a population of 16,693, with a growth rate of .5 per cent each year. The state government is expecting growth of .54 per cent annually by 2021.

Glenelg Shire is also growing from a forecast 19,725 in 2018 to 20,989 by 2036.

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