Given the current obvious interest in “Big Australia”, big cities and all things to do with population I thought I’d take a further look at the so-called “mega-councils” of Sydney’s future that I identified in my last post.
To reiterate, the projections I’m discussing in these articles are based on forecasts released by the NSW Government Transport Data Centre (TDC – now renamed the Bureau of Transport Statistics) earlier this year and the usual caveats apply about their reliability or otherwise. I should also stress that I’m not taking a position about population issues or the optimum size of councils, but just pointing out some of the more interesting implications of the distribution of Sydney’s growth as forecast by the TDC.
In the last article I noted that if we accepted the TDC’s projections based on the current boundaries, the number of councils in Sydney with populations over 200,000 would grow from just two in 2006 (Blacktown and Sutherland) to 14 in 2036. OK, so which councils will be over the 200,000 mark by then?
The following table identifies the councils in this group and their projected growth over the 30 years from 2006 to 2036. Its important to note that the “top 14” in 2036 were not necessarily the largest councils in 2006 and they are not all necessarily the fastest-growth Sydney councils – although their average rate of growth is well above the Sydney average of around 38% and the average forecast numerical increase is almost 50,000 more than the average for Sydney councils. Combined, they will house just over half of Sydney’s population in 2036.
The other interesting aspect is their location. All but Sydney City Council are in outer-ring – or at least on the outer edge of the middle ring – suburbs. They form a “donut” around the city from Wyong and Lake Macquarie to the north, through Greater Western Sydney (where nine of the 14 are located) to Sutherland and Wollongong to the south.
In summary, the 14 councils forecast to have over 200,000 people each by 2036 will:
- Be home to over 1.2 million additional residents, or nearly 62% of Sydney’s overall growth;
- Grow by an average of 50% or over 87,000 people, compared to a city average rate of around 38% and 37,300 per council, with Camden set to grow by a staggering 390%;
- As a result, accommodate over 3.6 million people or over half of the city’s forecast population of just under 7.19 million.
- Have average populations of nearly 260,000 each (almost double the forecast Sydney average of 135,600), though this figure is skewed by the projected size of Liverpool (over 324,000) and Blacktown (over 48,1000)
- With the exception of Sydney city, be located around the city’s middle to outer suburban ring, with nine of the 14 in Greater Western Sydney.
I’ll explore a few more implications of Sydney’s projected population growth at the council and regional levels in future posts.