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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 4960 ..


2015 to 13,000 in 2040. Is the government taking action to stem these very large population declines?

MR BARR: The projections that Ms Le Couteur refers to were issued on 13 March 2017 and I believe are now already out of date as in what was projected to occur was based on data prior to the August 2016 census. New information is available and the projections will be updated, Ms Le Couteur.

If you go to the detail of the projections they indicate, effectively, a compound year-on-year population reduction in Tuggeranong and Weston Creek of between one and two per cent each year. That appears to be at the outer end of what would be a more natural decline in population as a particular region ages.

Across the territory the number of births exceed the number of deaths each year in the order of about 3,500 to 4,000, although it is clear that, as has been the case throughout the history of Canberra, newly established areas go through an initial population boom and particularly attract younger families.

As to what the government can do, as an entity the government is obviously not in the business of making babies but people certainly are, and that would be one way of addressing that question. I also indicate that we will be looking through the COAG process to put our hand up to take more international migrants through both skilled programs and refugee programs, and we certainly encourage Australians to move to Canberra. In combination that ought to see our population increase. (Time expired.)

MS LE COUTEUR: Is the government considering, say, scaling back greenfield development and redirecting the ACT's population growth to support these declining areas?

MR BARR: Yes, certainly there are opportunities for increased housing density in certain locations. The Tuggeranong town centre and around Greenway are examples of such development that is occurring right now that would be addressing some of that population decline. Another factor that will come into play is the life cycle. As the inevitable happens to people in some parts of the city and they move out of housing for whatever reason, one of which would be, of course, the end of life, new people move into that housing. But I think it is fair to observe that the number of people per household continues to reduce, so the only way to address population decline in some areas will be to increase the volume of housing. That is occurring and it will continue to occur. The obvious debate, a perennial in our city, is over the pace of that change.

MS CHEYNE: Chief Minister, how is the government catering for a growing population across the entirety of Canberra?

MR BARR: It is very important that we continue to invest in infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing population. At the 2016 election there was a very clear choice between our side of politics and those opposite on major transport infrastructure projects, just as there has been on major health, education, community


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