Sydney’s west will be home to nearly 600,000 fewer people in 2041 than the state government originally projected, with the region’s growth rate slowing significantly due to the pandemic.
In 2019, the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment released a 20-year population forecast showing that around 4.2 million people will call the area home by 2041. This is compared to about 2.8 million people today.
However, that rate of growth has slowed considerably, according to new research from Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue which compared the Department’s projections to more recent data from planning consultancy .id.
The Dialogue’s projections show that only around 3.6 million people will settle in the region by 2041. While this is still over 800,000 more people in the region than today, it is also more than half a million less than expected by the department.
The decline is largely due to lower immigration rates and border closures during the pandemic.
Adam Leto, executive director of Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, said The fifth state slowing growth rates could be a drag on the state’s economy.
“For a long time, Sydney’s western economy has relied on pursuing a fairly rapid rate of population growth as the engine of its economy. So when things start to slow down or fall on that front, there is now an opportunity to diversify the economy and look for new ways to fuel its growth,” he said.
“Yes, they will always be a place for the service economy and for industries that depend on population growth, but I think having a broader approach to some of these growth opportunities will serve Western Sydney for a long time. term.”
To cope with declining population, Mr Leto called for continued government investment in infrastructure in key job-creating centers of health, education and innovation such as Western Sydney Aerotropolis, Westmead, Liverpool and Campbelltown.
“To do that, they will need infrastructural support to ensure their growth, to provide the job skills and the growth that our economy needs over the next 20 years,” he said.
“It’s not just about the transport mix in terms of metro lines and additional routes, but looking at active transport connections and how we can start building these hubs close to where where people will reside.”
Additionally, Leto said the federal government should aim to return to pre-covid immigration levels by 2023 and invest in skills development through universities and TAFE.
“We hope immigration levels will return to pre-COVID levels as soon as possible. But, obviously, there has been some impact over the past two years, which will have a kind of ripple effect on the population growth of the region. We just hope it won’t last too long.