Population figures a welcome result for Gwydir Shire
Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 10:18AM
Warialda Standard

Census figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirms that the population of the Northern Tablelands is growing and the overwhelming majority of communities in the region are expanding, and some quite rapidly.

According to Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, the most exciting figure was news for the Gwydir Shire, which had a population growth of 6% over the last five years, adding an extra 293 residents.

“This is tremendous news for Gwydir, which is almost an entirely rural-based Local Government Area (LGA) and have done it tough over the years, but this result shows that they have turned the corner and the future looks bright,” Marshall said.

A very pleased Mr Marshall welcomed the release of the 2016 Census which showed that the Northern Tablelands electorate had seen an overall growth rate of 2% over the last five years, (2011 to 2016) an overall increase of 1,572. Mr Marshall said, “Given the economic times the region has faced and the lack of growth generally across country NSW, these figures are very impressive, pleasing and encouraging.”

The only LGA to record a decline in population since the 2011 census was Moree Plains (13,159) which lost 270 residents, despite a slight upsurge in the last two years.

“There’s no denying that the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the water buybacks that ensured hurt the Moree economy and community and I think census figures bare that out,” Mr Marshall said.

Armidale LGA (29,449) had the biggest results, with an increase of 947 people over the five-year-period. Inverell Shire (16,483) also showed strong growth with 208 new residents, a growth rate of 2.5%.

According to the Census website the median age of Warialda is 45 compared to Bingara which is 54, which shows the Gwydir shire is an aging population. However, a growing region will attract better services, new employment opportunities and greater investment.

“These figures highlight the need to continue to promote country NSW and what it has to offer and to support government and non-government initiatives that help people and businesses relocate and assist existing business and industry grow,” said Mr Marshall.

“I look forward to continuing to work with all communities across the Northern Tablelands and to take advantage of the opportunities to grow and develop.”

Last Thursday, the council held a citizenship ceremony for Su-Chen Milthorpe and Kevin Ventura to become Australian Citizens. Acting Mayor, Catherine Egan said “The census stats for Gwydir Shire are great and I’d like to thank our newest citizens for adding to our population.”

Fit for the Future determinations by IPART stated that Gwydir was ‘unfit’, with one of the key factors being the failure to meet population targets. However, after the 2016 census with the news of the population growing by 6% brings hope to the Gwydir Shire Council.  

Article originally appeared on Warialda Standard (http://www.warialdastandard.com.au/).
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