Melbourne set to regain most populous Oz city status

November 14th, 2007 - 10:35 am ICT by admin  

The Australian quoted demographer Bernard Salt as saying that Melbourne has shrugged off a once-wintry, woebegone image to decisively outpace Sydney in population growth.

The Victorian capital added 62,306 residents in the 12 months to June last year - nearly twice the population Sydney gained - and by Salt’s reckoning, Melbourne will become the nation’s biggest city in 2028 if the trend continues.

According to the report, there is a nation-wide shift towards inner-city living - driven largely by young people and empty-nesters - that is recasting the urban landscape.

Melbourne’s population of 3.74million is still 500,000 adrift of Sydney’s but the city is fast closing the gap. The prediction would jolt Brisbane’s hopes of supplanting Melbourne as the nation’s second city.

The turnaround in Melbourne could be attributed to Sydney slumping into a post-2000 “Olympic depression”, said Mr Salt, a partner in consultancy KPMG and a regular contributor to this newspaper.

Salt’s predictions give Melbourne hope it could return to its 19th-century status as Australia’s largest and most important city, lost to Sydney during the early decades of the 20th century.

Melbourne served as Australia’s capital, from Federation in 1901 until parliament was relocated to Canberra in 1927.

Sydney’s relatively slower population growth - 0.9per cent to Melbourne’s 1.7per cent - was most acute on its outskirts, where former nappy valleys such as Campbelltown were shedding population as the kids grew up and moved to the city.

While central Sydney’s population was up by 6800, Campbelltown, on the city’s southwestern limits, lost 815 residents. Melbourne gained 7000 inner-city dwellers and Brisbane 6300.

Sleepy Adelaide came alive, adding 11,542 residents, nearly double its usual population increase.

Australians continued to opt for a sea or tree change in lifestyle, with seven of the nation’s fastest growing towns dotted along the Queensland coast, led by the retirement haven of Hervey Bay, 300km north of Brisbane. (ANI)

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