Golden Age: Gold Coast’s population to hit 1 million by 2034 as region’s growth continues
Gold Coast Bulletin, By Andrew Potts
THE Gold Coast is on track to become home to 1 million people within 16 years, more than a decade earlier than expected.
New data realised by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the city’s growth rate over the past year is the third largest in the country, just behind Geelong and Melbourne, with no end in sight.
ABS figures show the Gold Coast’s growth rate equates to more than 21,000 people a year, or the equivalent of the population of Maryborough, Cessnock, Goulburn or Armidale.
Leading demographer Mark McCrindle says the growth, primarily a result of downsizers and families abandoning the capital cities, will result in the city’s population hitting 1 million by 2034 and 2 million by 2062.
Three years ago demographer Bernard Salt, working on figures available then, said the city’s population would hit 1.2 million in 2050.
Property and business figures warn the rapid and huge growth means spending on transport infrastructure such as roads, light rail and heavy rail will need to dramatically increase to keep pace.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle
They say the city will also need a significant increase in development and density to accommodate the larger population.
Mr McCrindle said the Gold Coast was in an enviable position.
“Compared to regional Queensland, the growth of the Gold Coast is red hot and if the growth rate continues at the rate we have seen in the past year, we will hit the 1 million mark in 2034. That’s not that far way,” he said.
“Even if growth slows — and I see no reason why it would — to 2 per cent, it would still get to 1 million within 20 years, by 2038.
Surfers Paradise skyline. Picture: Jerad Williams
“It definitely will break it within the 20-year mark but it is more likely to be within 15 years.”
It comes after more than six decades of rapid growth.
In 1954 the city, then known as South Coast, had a population of just 20,000, something which had grown to 177,000 by 1980.
Mr Salt’s 2015 Beyond the Horizon report looked at the Gold Coast’s growth from the 1950s through to 2050. He said the city’s population would hit 1.2 million people by 2050, with the city needing at least 35 new schools built to meet demand.
REIQ’s John Newlands said yesterday increased density would be required, not just in the city’s northern growth corridor but in already established suburbs.
“The council has a view that it is looking at vertical growth in some areas to cater for this growth as well as the ability to create smaller blocks on existing parcels of land,’’ he said.
John Newlands. Photo: Steve Holland
“This allows blocks to have their physical size reduced to put more people into our central areas and this is something I certainly see coming up.’’
Providing infrastructure would be critical.
“Getting the light rail going to further suburbs is incredibly important, while the M1 is another issue,’’ he said.
“Otherwise we are just going to have blockages everywhere and people will be unable to work because it is impossible to get around.”
Beyond the Horizon suggested the number of Gold Coast-based university students would top 55,000, up 162 per cent on 2015 numbers.
City planning boss Cr Cameron Caldwell said more towers would need to be built across the Coast but warned there was no appetite for inappropriate development.
“We know the Gold Coast will continue to grow and this is why a lot of planning has gone into preparing for that growth,” he said.
“The city plan sets out a city form which focuses on using existing infrastructure to maximise our lifestyle.
“We envisage continued high-rise development in our major city centres, however we do not envisage sprawling new development on the fringes will be the solution.
“Council continues to review policy to ensure population growth is catered for while still preserving the valuable Gold Coast lifestyle.”
THE COUNCIL’S “SIGNATURE ACTIONS” — HOW WE MAKE THE GOLD COAST THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE AND VISIT BY 2022.
* Develop a preliminary business case for stage 3 – Broadbeach to Coolangatta – of the Gold Coast Light Rail network southern extension.
* Deliver the Northern Beaches Shoreline Project to widen the beach and dunes at Surfers Paradise and improve surf quality at Narrowneck.
* Develop and implement a citywide koala conservation program.
* Deliver the Palm Beach Shoreline Project, including the artificial reef, providing a sustainable solution for the ongoing protection of the foreshore at Palm Beach.
* Progress the development of the Long Term Recycled Water Release Plan, the pipeline across the Broadwater to South Stradbroke Island, protecting the Seaway.
* Deliver a high-speed fibre optic backbone from Helensvale to Coolangatta.
* Design and implement stage 3B of the Broadwater Parklands redevelopment, improving facilities for residents and visitors.
* Develop the Gold Coast’s sports precinct at Carrara as an international sports and leisure venue with an elite sports training facility.
* Plan and design for increased road capacity across the Nerang River to the Isle of Capri by providing an additional bridge and intersection upgrades, alleviating traffic congestion.
* Deliver a real-time emergency flood management system to enhance performance and improve public access to information.
* Continue to review opportunities to provide a Gold Coast Central Park in the heart of the city for residents and visitors.
* Undertake a housing needs analysis study to support housing choice in the city.
Story via Gold Coast Bulletin