Drivers of population change
Leeton Shire is located in the Riverina Region of south-western New South Wales, about 450 kilometres north of Melbourne, and 550 kilometres west of Sydney. Leeton Shire is a predominantly rural area, with settlement based in the township of Leeton, and several smaller townships. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, particularly rice, citrus fruit, grape, wheat and vegetable growing, with some sheep and cattle grazing.
The original inhabitants of the Leeton area were the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people. European settlement dates from the late 1830s, with land used mainly for grazing. Population was minimal until the 1910s, when irrigation made land cultivation possible, with the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area opened in 1912. The township of Leeton was established in 1913, with residential and industrial growth through to the mid 1900s. Expansion continued during the post-war years, with the population of the Shire increasing from about 9,000 in 1947 to 11,000 in 1971. The population was relatively stable from the 1970s through to the 1990s. The population increased marginally during the 1990s, rising from about 10,800 in 1991 to 11,800 in 2001, and then declined slightly to 11,400 in 2011, whilst dealing with some challenging economic circumstances. Most recent residential growth has focused around the Leeton Township.
The primary housing market role that Leeton Shire has played during the post-war period was to attract families from the surrounding area as well as overseas and metropolitan Sydney.
The role of Leeton Shire as a destination for families is expected to continue over the forecast period. As a result of this there is ongoing need for residential expansion within the LGA from both existing residents and from people moving to the area. It is assumed that a number of these patterns will continue into the future, most notably flows into the Shire from overseas, Sydney and from surrounding rural areas as well as losses of young people to larger centres, albeit in lower numbers.
Population and household forecasts, 2011 to 2036, prepared by .id the population experts, August 2014.
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals only, based on answers to the census question “where did the person usually live 5-years ago.
Housing role and function
With the contrast between residential and rural localities, different areas within the Shire have developed different roles within the housing market. Leeton and Yanco attract both young and mature families as well as the elderly, while the rural areas tend to attract only family households. The function and role of these areas in Leeton Shire means that population outcomes differ throughout the LGA.
The supply of residential property within the Shire will also have an influence in structuring different population and household futures within the LGA over the next five to ten years. New sizeable residential opportunities are available on the outskirts of Leeton Township. Most other areas are expected to have some growth in dwellings based predominantly on residual residential land and infill of vacant lots.