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Insight Six: Positive signs, but how can we make it last? Tasmania’s changing population dynamics

Research is key to helping Tasmania attract young interstate migrants.

Better knowledge of who is moving to Tasmania, and why, may help ensure the state continues to appeal to younger cohorts, demographer Lisa Denny says.

Dr Lisa Denny
Image: Dr Lisa Denny

In a new report released by the University of Tasmania’s Institute for the Study of Social Change, Dr Denny says a knowledge gap around recent changes to the state’s migration patterns prevents effective planning.

Although the state is still experiencing a net loss of people aged 15 to 24, this leakage has slowed. Not only is the state attracting more people in younger age groups, it is also losing fewer people in those groups.

However, Dr Denny says there is no room for complacency as there is currently little knowledge of what is driving the recent change and whether it is a continuing trend, or a once-off.

The increased growth rate Tasmania experienced in 2017 appears to have been an anomaly, which risks becoming a once-off if the appropriate infrastructure and services required to cater to a growing population driven by migration are not provided,” Dr Denny said.

“Very little is known about who is moving here and why. This, along with the related lack of planning, means the state is less able to sustain and build on the current momentum, particularly if increased population growth impacts on the state’s liveability.

Dr Denny says likely drivers of the increase in interstate migrants include climate, cost of living, population growth and related traffic congestion and infrastructure pressures in larger cities, along with the rising problem of insecure work.

Given the Prime Minister has charged the state and territory governments to ‘better understand the drivers of growth in particular locations’ and the ‘impacts of the pressure points’ to inform an enduring national framework for population planning, it is time to start better understanding the drivers of population change in Tasmania.

Read the full report (PDF 3.3MB)

Institute for the Study of Social Change

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