Budget 2024: 110,000 New Residents in 5 Years: Queensland to Lead the Country in Net Migration

Queensland’s net interstate migration is forecasted to soar by 110,000 by 2027-28 at the expense of NSW and other states.
Budget 2024: 110,000 New Residents in 5 Years: Queensland to Lead the Country in Net Migration
A general view of beachfront hotels in Gold Coast, Australia, on April 7, 2017. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Alfred Bui

Queensland will experience a population boom in the next five years with an interstate migration gain of over 110,000 people from other parts of Australia.

The 2024-25 budget papers (pdf) have projected the population growth of states and territories in the coming years.

While over half of the jurisdictions will suffer a net interstate migration loss, Queensland will emerge as a hot spot for domestic migrants.

Net interstate migration is a metric that measures the change in the movement of people between different states and territories involving a change in residence.

It is calculated by deducting the number of migrant departures against arrivals in a region.

Queensland is forecast to post an interstate migration gain of 28,500 in the 2023-24 financial year, with total net interstate migration numbers to reach 110,900 by 2027-28.

Meanwhile, New South Wales (NSW), the most populous state, will be the biggest loser, with a net interstate migration loss of 28,200 people in 2023-24 and 111,700 by 2027-28.

Victoria and Western Australia are expected to see small gains, while other states will see a negative growth in interstate migration.

What’s Driving the Move?

Soaring housing costs are a major contributor to the mass exodus from NSW.
A recent NSW Productivity Commission paper revealed that tens of thousands of young families were priced out of the Sydney housing market, forcing them to settle in regional NSW or other regions.

Average house and land packages in Sydney can cost well over $1 million, except for the far western suburbs in newer developments.

NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat warned that if Sydney did not take action to address the housing issue, it could become “the city with no grandchildren.”

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that NSW’s average dwelling price topped the country at $1.18 million (US$780,000) in December 2023, while Queensland was ranked fourth at $828,000.

According to the Queensland government, the state’s lifestyle and sub-tropical environment, as well as plentiful business and work opportunities, were factors drawing migration.

Yet a major attraction is likely to be price, with properties across much of the city still within reach of most families.

Declining Overseas Migration

Meanwhile, government data showed that net overseas migration reached 548,800 people in the year to September 2023, up from 518,000 in the previous three months.

Despite the massive intake of immigrants recently, the budget paper forecasted a drop in overseas migration in the coming period.

Specifically, it was projected that net overseas migration would drop to 395,000 in the 2023-24 financial year.

The figure would then plunge to 260,000 in 2024-25 before stabilising at 235,000 in 2027-28.

Amid a sharp rise in overseas migration following post-COVID-19 borders reopening, the Labor government introduced a migration plan to bring migration down to near pre-pandemic levels.

The reform outlined eight key areas that the government would focus on in the coming period, including reshaping temporary and permanent skilled migration to address skills needs and drive long-term economic growth, strengthening the integrity and quality of international education, as well as tackling worker exploitation and the misuse of the visa system.

“The actions underway as part of the Migration Strategy are delivering a better-managed migration system,” the budget paper read.

“Government actions are estimated to reduce net overseas migration by 110,000 people over the forward estimates from July 1, 2024.”

Overall Population Growth Still High

Meanwhile, Australia’s total population was forecasted to grow from 27.18 million in the 2023-24 financial year, to 27.59 million in 2024-25, and 28.75 million in 2027-28.

Despite the mass exodus of residents, New South Wales population would still experience a considerable growth of 494,000 people between 2022-23 and 2027-28 due to overseas immigration.

Victoria will also see a significant spike of 522,000 people between 2022-23 and 2027-28. While Queensland will see a change of 347,000.

Alfred Bui is an Australian reporter based in Melbourne and focuses on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and has two master’s degrees in business and business law. Contact him at [email protected].
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