Industry leaders fear the Victorian economy will be “jeopardised” after new data revealed the alarming rate residents are abandoning the state.
As Melbourne recovers from its latest citywide lockdown following a Covid-19 outbreak, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal the southern state has lost 30,700 people since March last year to interstate migration.
Property Council of Australia executive director Danni Hunter said the concerning slump should serve as a warning to how the state is governed.
“Victorians are on the move and Victoria is no longer the place to be,” she said.
“We’ve seen it across our state with the devastating impact to business, families, jobs and our CBD and Victorians are voting with their feet.”
Ms Hunter said the state’s population growth has driven its economic expansion in the past, expressing concern the trending data will impact Victoria’s post-pandemic recovery.
In 2017, Victoria’s population rose by more than 140,000 while its economy expanded by 3.8 per cent in 2016/17 financial year.
“Similarly, the last time Victorians left in large numbers, the Victorian economy went into recession in the early 1990s,” she said.
“Population growth equals economic growth and greater prosperity for all Victorians.
“The Victorian government needs to set a clear course for our economic recovery and we (can) make Melbourne and Victoria the best place to work and live in Australia once again.”
During 2020, Victoria’s population grew by only 700 people which was 121,500 less than the year before.
This sobering data compares to the massive growth last year in Queensland and Western Australia, surging 58,100 and 24,500 respectively. The Northern Territory and ACT also grew, adding 1300 and 3200 respectively.
Australia had a total population of 25.7 million as of December 31.