Lismore lagging in regional population race
LISMORE has been revealed as a major loser in the population stakes according to a Federal Government report released this month.
The Australian Government's State of Australia 2012 report reveals Lismore's population growth ranking last in the nation among Australia cities with under 100,000 people.
Over the 10 years from 2001 to 2011, the population of Lismore's urban area grew by a paltry 0.2%, or 800 residents: from a base of 30,800 it grew to just 31,600.
Only five of the 25 Australian cities with populations under 100,000 grew faster than the national average of 1.5%.
All were in the mining intensive states of Western Australia and Queensland. Mandurah in WA grew by a whopping 4%, or 20 times that of Lismore, soaring from 59,000 residents to a packed 88,000.
But other regional cities away from mining zones also outpaced Lismore, with NSW rural centres Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga all at least doubling Lismore's growth.
Lismore City Council business facilitator Mark Batten said Lismore had struggled because close proximity towns such as Ballina and Casino offered more housing choice (and coastal amenity).
What we've got in Lismore is a situation where that hasn't been enough land for development and that's impacting on our ability to have the sort of housing that people want, Mr Batten said.
"Having said that, we have the North Lismore Plateau Development coming on, and a couple of larger developments in Goonellabah."
"Both of those types of developments offer both elevation and views, which do compare for many people to sea views."
Mr Batten also highlighted that Lismore's population growth in 2011 was 0.7%, well above the previous ten year average.
And population weakness should not be mistaken for economic weakness, with Lismore's GDP growth of 4.4% last year growing at twice the state average of 2.2%.
Lismore is also remains regional business service centre of the region, with gross regional product per capita $53,098 compared to Ballina $37,227, Byron $40,729 and Tweed $29,283.
POPULATION GROWTH 2001-2011 - Australian Cities under 100,000
Mandurah (WA) 4.0%
Bunbury (WA) 3.0%
Hervey Bay (QLD) 3.9%
Latrobe Valley (VIC) 0.5%
Dubbo (NSW) 0.5%