Some communities defy declining population
Larger well-managed inland centres are enjoying growth and prosperity. Rural and remote towns need little reminding of their declining population. It is on the slide as big cities, inland centres, and coastal lifestyle hubs expand. However, some are bucking the trend. Some places are matching the population growth of major regional centres.
Granted, the population increases in some towns and villages are small. However, they are proving it is possible to grow sustainably, and regional, rural and remote does not necessarily mean stagnant.
What it does show is some communities are doing something different to stop any decline. The people let their enthusiasm change the world; they do not allow the world to break their spirit. They make use of what they have while continually looking for new ways to engage their people in improving the lifestyle they enjoy.
The people might be envious of other communities with better natural resources, more extensive businesses with employment opportunities, or better communication and transport linkages. They do not let the negatives stop them. They do not sit back and wait for someone, let declining population cause a decline in their lifestyles, or wait for the government to change things, they hop in and do it themselves.
The answer is not to lean on your own understanding of your town’s situation, but to look at prosperous communities and see what is working and how they tell their stories. Some communities beat the odds and retain enough services to keep improving their health and well-being. Other towns and villages make full use of available technology to assist in expanding their business community and attracting new businesses.
Lack of vibrating community centres can be a turn off for new businesses and tourists.
Regional centres are on the rise
The Regional centres, or hubs, tend to enjoy more natural growth and a steady flow of migrants. Coastal areas are also growing despite not having a significant regional centre. Their growth is often down to migration from other rural and remote towns and villages regions and overseas migrants. It is the reason they often referred to as ‘sponge cities’.
Larger inland regional centres like Bathurst, the one I live in, are enjoying natural population growth as well as migration from overseas and domestically.
Smaller towns and villages around the larger centres can provide a more prosperous environment. With a right attitude and when they work in with the larger centres. Many people like to live in surrounding villages as long as they are in proximity to services and adequate transport links.
There are plenty of under-utilised building which can be used to attract more businesses.
Declining population in remote areas is concerning
In recent years, the declining population in remote areas has continued to fall. As transport improves they still feel forgotten by governments and the rest of the Australian people, unless they want something, like visiting unique natural features, mining, or nuclear waste storage.
Retaining populations in remote areas is one of most significant challenges facing regional Australia and our governments. We need to support their growth and sustainability if we want to avoid a ‘dead heart’.
“Finite resources can only support a finite population; therefore, population growth must be in tune with the local environment. Declining population must give way to better population distribution”. Peter Sergeant
“The good news is, the world population growth rate decreases systematically, and is expected to reach zero by 2050, thanks to urbanisation and women’s education”. Dan Shechtman