Region's population set to soar
ROADS across the Northern Rivers will become heavily congested with traffic unless action is taken to meet the expected surge in the area’s population, a regional think tank heard yesterday.
Regional Futures Institute director associate professor Jeremy Buultjens said transport was only one of the key issues the region must address following predictions the population on the Northern Rivers will increase by 76,000 by 2020, a jump of 27 per cent on 2007 figures.
The forecast, which outstrips the expected State average, is contained in a report by Regional Development Australia.
Over the past five years population growth across the region averaged about 1 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data released yesterday.
However, the RDA predicts much more rapid growth over the next 17 years.
It predicted the growth would largely come from those aged between 50 and 59, and to a lesser extent between 15 and 25.
Prof Buultjens said the main issues to emerge at yesterday’s ‘think tank’ in Lismore were transport, telecommunications, sustainability, jobs and social inclusion.
“The population growth will put additional pressure on everything starting from roads,” he said.
“More people means more cars on the roads and more traffic. We also have an aging population creating health care issues. Unless these problems are met we are going to have a dysfunctional society.
WHO’S MOVING WHERE
Ballina up 1.4 per cent between 2004 and 2009
Byron up 1 per cent
Casino up 1.2 per cent
Kyogle up 0.4 per cent
Lismore up 1.5 per cent
State Average 1.2 per cent