Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Lisa Denny, Research Fellow - Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania

While Tasmania is currently experiencing its highest rate of population growth since the global financial crisis, this won’t necessarily lead to an automatic economic windfall for the state.

Both the Liberal and Labor parties in Tasmania’s election campaign are supporting population targets as a means to boost the economy.

Read more: Tasmanian election likely to be close, while Labor continues to lead federally

.

Some say Tasmania’s smaller population is an asset to the state’s unique character, others believe it condemns the state to mediocrity and holds us back.

But what’s usually ignored in the typical BBQ conversation is that it’s actually the composition of the population that really matters.

It is unrealistic for these political parties to expect population growth rates to be maintained or increase by themselves as population growth is not linear. The drivers of population change in Tasmania are the population age structure and the state’s relative economic performance with the rest of the country. Tasmania needs the ability to retain and/or attract families to live and work there.

A long standing population policy

In March 2013, the then opposition leader for the Liberal Party, Will Hodgman, announced a population target of 650,000 Tasmanians by 2050. This was based on a population growth rate of 0.6% per annum, the average rate of growth over the previous decade.

Previous Labor governments had asserted that population growth would occur naturally alongside a strong economy and so a specific population strategy was not required.

When the Hodgman Liberal government took office in March 2014, it developed and released a population strategy aiming to reverse Tasmania’s projected population decline and put Tasmania on a population growth trajectory.

Population change occurs as a result of natural increase (more births than deaths) and migration (in Tasmania’s case both interstate and overseas migration).

Historically, around 60% of Tasmania’s population growth has occurred from natural increase. However, the state’s population continues to age and the number and proportion of women of reproductive age continues to decline. So the usual natural increase will wane as the gap between births and deaths reduces.

Migration will need to increase considerably to replace this projected slowing down and to achieve both the short term population targets desired by the Property Council and the longer term objectives of the Tasmanian Liberal government. Even with increased migration (interstate and overseas) of families, they will then need to have at least two children to ensure population replacement is possible.

However, historically Tasmania has always gained more older people (those aged 45 and over) and lost more younger, working and reproductive aged people (those aged 19 to 39). This is primarily due to a lack of employment opportunities..

This trend reduces the proportion of the population that is younger - and increases the proportion of the population that is older. In comparison with the rest of Australia, Tasmania is seeing this happen at a faster rate., even in times of stronger population growth.

Impact on Tasmania’s economy

Tasmania’s ageing population matters because as people get older they become more reliant on the services provided by governments (for example pensions, health and aged care). These services are funded by the taxpayer; however in ageing populations, taxpayers are diminishing in supply.

Of course this is not to say that older people are not valuable contributors to the community and economy, particularly those who are active, engaged and self-funded in their retirement

Read more: Will elections in 2018 see 2017's left-wing revival continue?

.

Older people can also contribute to the state’s economy as consumers in labour intensive sectors like retail and hospitality and the health and care services. These all create employment opportunities for Tasmanians. Over a third of all new jobs projected over the next five years in Tasmania are in the healthcare and social assistance sector (5,300 additional jobs).

These economic and employment opportunities will need to be carefully managed as the Tasmanian workforce becomes increasingly dominated by industry sectors that are largely publicly funded.

The Tasmanian Liberals’ three-pronged plan focuses on job creation and workforce development, supporting interstate and overseas migration, and promoting Tasmania’s liveability and lifestyle. Labor’s intent is to invest in essential services, build productive infrastructure and promote the creation of secure and stable jobs.

Both plans are laudable in achieving potential growth. However, to effectively change the age structure of the population (and longer term population growth), these policies will need to be targeted to those of working and reproductive age.

While targeted population growth is important for Tasmania in meeting the challenges of an ageing population and a growing economy, population change needs to be planned for. A stable age structure with a population balanced between the working age and non-working age will provide a platform for proactive and consistent economic development policy.

This in turn will provide greater confidence for the private sector to invest in the state over the longer term, increasing the propensity for growth and the potential prosperity for all Tasmanians.

Population growth for growth’s sake (as a proxy for economic growth), without consideration for the economic and social implications this creates, might actually result in a type which puts at risk the longer term economic viability of the state.

Authors: Lisa Denny, Research Fellow - Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania

Read more http://theconversation.com/tasmania-cant-only-rely-on-a-growing-population-for-an-economic-boost-91236

Writers Wanted

Not feeling motivated to tackle those sneaky COVID kilos? Try these 4 healthy eating tips instead

arrow_forward

Sydney Festival review: The Rise and Fall of Saint George shows the transformative power of music

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion