Capes population enjoys boom
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the Capes region boasts some of the fastest-growing towns in regional Australia.
With population stagnant across big parts of the country, Margaret River and Busselton are bucking the trend.
Margaret River’s population grew 2.8 per cent during the past 12 months, while the “Busselton region” increased numbers by 3.2 per cent.
Augusta grew 2.5 per cent since the previous studies in 2016.
By contrast, regional WA’s average population growth was 1.7 per cent, while metropolitan Perth lost residents by 0.1 per cent.
As reported earlier this year, driven by a surge in building approvals, Cowaramup was one of the fastest-growing regional towns in the country.
New arrivals Charlotte and Luke Johnston moved to Margaret River midyear and were married at Gnarabup in March.
After some time in Perth, the Scottish-born couple said they moved to the South West for the climate, sunshine and enviable lifestyle.
“We just love it here,” Mr Johnston said.
A growing population was also a challenge to Capes local governments, with ratepayers already charged more than many Perth residents, in part due to infrastructure for tourists.
Shire of Augusta-Margaret River president Pam Townshend said balancing increased density in urban centres with protecting existing environmental reserves was a big focus in planning for growth.
The region’s popularity also made a case for State and Federal Government funding to support infrastructure upgrades and tourism, Cr Townshend said.
“(We) continue partnering with the local business people to build a strong and diverse local economy which can provide meaningful jobs and incomes sufficient for people to continue to live in their home Shire, and not have to leave to get a job with enough income,” she said.
Mayor Grant Henley said the City of Busselton’s population grew 21.7 per cent in the past five years.
“With population projections for 2026 reaching 50,000, this makes us one of the fastest-growing regions in WA,” he said.
Population growth was anticipated by City planners, and council decision-making had “focused on job growth, providing educational opportunities, aged-care facilities and planning for sustained development”.
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