Acknowledged by Will Hodgman as an ambitious target, it aims to increase Tasmania’s current population by roughly 137,000 people in the next 37 years. The target is above both the medium growth projections of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Demographic Advisory Council and the Tasmanian Treasury.
For the year ending March 2013, Tasmania recorded the slowest population growth in the nation at .1%, compared with 1.8% nationally. Broadly, there are three key components to population change; natural increase (more births than deaths), net overseas migration, and net interstate migration (the difference between arrivals and departures to the state). Although Tasmania recorded positive population growth in 2012 (up 1,750 people from 2011), the mass exodus of people from the state was the single most contributing factor to the states’ sluggish population growth.
Net interstate migration in Tasmania has historically been negative (Figure 1 below), while net overseas migration has remained positive since 2001 (data not shown). In the year 2011/2012, Tasmania recorded its greatest net interstate migration loss since 1999/2000 with over 12,738 people exiting the state (and only 10,186 to replace them, resulting in a loss of 2,552 people). The state gained roughly 995 people due to net overseas migration.
Additionally, it would require an increase in the total fertility rate of Tasmanians (already the second highest in the country at 2.001). In a previous entry, I have discussed that Tasmanians are already achieving their desired family sizes (http://www.aminakeygan.com/1/post/2013/09/abbotts-paid-parental-leave-scheme-unlikely-to-cause-baby-boom-in-tasmania-heres-why.html). As such, it is unlikely that the substantial population growth required to meet this target is going to come from natural increase.
There is significant economic (and population growth) opportunity in continuing to attract international (full-fee paying) students to Tasmania. It is in the state’s best interests to provide easier pathways for international students to remain in Tasmania upon completion of their education. These pathways should also provide opportunity for their families to relocate in Tasmania if desired. This not only brings economic capital to the state (presumably because the parents are able to afford full university fees up front and accommodation close to campuses), but also social capital and diversification.
Problematically however, the desire to continue (and increase) international student attendance to the state, sits at odds with the Federal Government’s cuts to higher education which are anticipated to see almost $24 million cut from the University of Tasmania over the next four years. Potentially, this will have serious adverse effects for the regional campus located in the state’s North West region, particularly given recent plans in conjunction with the Burnie City Council to develop new student accommodation for international/interstate students (see: http://www.cradle-coast.utas.edu.au/whats-new/whats-new/utas-at-the-makers).