The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Banana bender boom

- DAN PETRIE HAS THE FACTS THAT COUNT “Data Dan” Petrie is chief informatio­n officer of data analytics firm Grafa and a former economic data editor at Bloomberg LP. Do you have a data question? Email

LAST week, Brisbane’s population officially ticked over 2.5 million people. The river city gained 1.9 per cent in new residents for the period ending June 2020, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest population data.

That means that if Queensland’s magnetic population pull continues, Greater Brisbane will be home to 3 million people within a decade, putting it on par with Pyongyang and Kiev. Globally, Brisbane has now surpassed Damascus in wartorn Syria, which has a population of 2.439m, to crack the top 200 in terms of world’s largest cities by population, according to the world population review website.

So much for the ridicule that Brisbane is just a “big country town”. But while this milestone may have ticked over without comment, it has significan­t implicatio­ns on how we live our lives. For a region that enjoys a desirable climate and access to beautiful beaches, the growingpai­ns challenge that comes with 3 million people will only become more pronounced in years to come.

Our road to Damascus (and beyond) raises important issues about how to meet the property, infrastruc­ture, health and education demands of this booming future Olympic city (fingers crossed).

For those people aspiring to enter a red-hot property market, any number of real estate agents will provide stories of fielding calls from Sydneyside­rs looking to move north while Australian­s returning from overseas are also headed straight to Queensland. The first part of this Sunshine State legend holds some truth, but Sydney and Melbourne continue to be the overseas migrant’s first port of call.

In terms of internal migration, 13,779 people moved from other states to live in the Queensland capital. Brisbane was also the standout relocation spot for those looking to escape Sydney. Melburnian­s aren’t as enthusiast­ic as Sydneyside­rs about booking the removalist, although 9000 Victorians did swap their laneways for our humidity and heat last year. But if you want the true picture of the banana bender boom, ignore the real estate agents and look to Queensland’s anecdotal evidence of swelling school enrolment numbers and tight rental markets.

In 2020, 46,914 moved to

Greater Brisbane, 44,883 to the

Gold Coast and 26,445 to the Sunshine Coast. That’s a staggering 900 people a week.

Heading south and west of Brisbane provides a glimpse of the wider Ipswich area. Ripley, which grew by 20 per cent over the past 12 months, has underpinne­d a growth profile for Ipswich that could conceivabl­y challenge Canberra within a decade; believe it or not!

However, it has been Moreton Bay region where the population surged by an incredible 33 per cent in the past 10 years.

It’s also interestin­g to note that more than a million people live in the band covering the southern suburbs, Logan and Ipswich. Additional­ly, a returning overseas diaspora of Queensland­ers accounted for more than 16,000 people who have left COVID-hit regions in North America and Europe to return to the safety of home. The idea of returning to a “big country town” may sound nice but joining the thousands negotiatin­g school pick-ups, going further out to buy a home and dealing with another big city is for many the new reality. Choked motorways and increase in house prices may provide a glimpse of the future but the idea of a big country town many associate with Brisbane is over.

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Source: ABS

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