Planning strategy to ease growing pains
ON Tuesday, Australia’s population clock ticked over to 24 million. By 2050, the country’s population is expected to have grown to 38 million.
There are three main contributors to Australia’s population growth: first, the number of people having babies has increased. The average size of Australian families has decreased, but as the population has grown there are more people to have babies – and they are.
This, together with lower infant mortality rates, has resulted in more babies being born and more babies surviving to adulthood.
Second, the tremendous advances in public health, healthcare and preventative health means that more people are living into late old age.
Third, Australia’s population has been bolstered by international migration with more people moving to Australia than leaving, and this long-term trend is set to continue.
Australia’s population will continue to grow and Perth is set to receive a considerable share of this growth.
However, population growth in Perth will be lower than that experienced during the 2000s.
The recent period of high population growth in WA was exceptional. It placed enormous pressure on Perth’s infrastructure, with this acutely felt in the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup where much of the population growth was concentrated.
In 2015, Perth’s population growth returned to a more “normal” rate, but the greater Perth and Mandurah region is still projected to swell to 3.5 million by 2050.
The State Government has set out its plans to accommodate the anticipated population growth in the draft metropolitan planning strategy, Perth and Peel at 3.5 million.
Promisingly, the strategy supports the development of considerably more diversified and liveable housing options in both infill areas and new land developments. It supports curbing the outward sprawl of Perth and an increased focus on local employment and service provision.
Achieving these goals will not be easy in the context of a growing population. The mooted introduction of Community Titles (an alternative to single strata schemes and green titles) will be one of the key changes needed to help develop more connected and vibrant mid and high-density areas.