Shoalhaven City CouncilPopulation forecast
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Shoalhaven City

Drivers of population change

Shoalhaven City is located on the south coast of New South Wales, with the regional centre of Nowra-Bomaderry located about 160 kilometres south of Sydney. Most of the population is concentrated along the coastal fringe. which is traversed by the Princes Highway. The major centres are Nowra-Bomaderry, Milton-Ulladulla, Huskisson-Vincentia, St Georges Basin District, Culburra Beach and Sussex Inlet. The City encompasses a total land area of about 4,660 square kilometres, including substantial areas of national park, state forest, bushland, beaches and lakes. The natural amenity of the City is a strong attractor, for both new residents, holiday makers and day trippers.

Development history

The original inhabitants of the Shoalhaven area are the Wodi Wodi, Wandandian and Murramarang Aboriginal people. European settlement dates from 1822 when land was taken up near the mouth of the Shoalhaven River. By the 1850s townships were established in Berry, Bomaderry, Kangaroo Valley, Milton, Nowra and Ulladulla, acting as service centres for the surrounding farming districts. Some growth took place in the late 1800s. Significant development occurred during the post-war years, particularly in the coastal areas. Rapid growth took place in the 1970s and 1980s, as increasing numbers of people sought housing for retirement and holidays. The population grew from about 29,000 in 1971 to nearly 58,000 in 1981. The population continued to increase during the 1990s, rising from about 70,100 in 1991 to 86,900 in 2001. By 2006 the population reached 90,000, and grew further to 96,200 in 2011. In recent years most growth has occurred in the Nowra-Bomaderry area, as well as the Jervis Bay towns, and further south around Ulladulla, Milton and Mollymook.

Migration patterns

The City has traditionally sourced most new residents from Sydney and the Illawarra Region. The City attracts two distinct housing markets - families with children under 10 years, and retirees, but this differs widely across the City. However, like many regional areas of Australia, the City loses young adults to Sydney and Wollongong, primarily for employment and education purposes. The impact of strong and improving transport links to Sydney and the Illawarra are greater accessibility both for Shoalhaven residents accessing larger employment markets, but also for prospective new residents to the City, both permanent and part-time.

Historical migration flows, Shoalhaven City, 2006-2011
Historical migration flows, Shoalhaven City, 2006-2011
'Overseas' refers to arrivals only.

Population and household forecasts, 2011 to 2036, prepared by .id the population experts, February 2015.

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

Due to the long history of development, couples with the dispersed settlement pattern and economic function across the City, different housing markets have evolved over time. The regional town of Nowra-Bomaderry tends to attract a greater share of families, but also some elderly persons seeking better access to health services and/or more suitable residential accommodation. Coastal and Jervis Bay towns attract a greater share of retirees and lifestylers (including some families), due to the high amenity of these areas. Many towns are popular holiday destinations and as such a large proportion of their housing stock are holiday and/or second homes. Vacancy rates, as measured at the 2011 Census, were highest in Coastal Mid (54%), Coastal South (51%) and Callala Bay-Currarong & Surrounds (49%).

Housing supply

There are also significant differences in the supply of residential property within the LGA which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures within Shoalhaven City over the forecast period. Significant new greenfield supply has been identified in West Nowra-South Nowra-Nowra Hill & Surrounds and Bangalee-Cambewarra Village-Tapitallee & Surrounds, which, as developed, will see an outward expansion of the Nowra-Bomaderry urban area. Further south, there is significant developed assumed in the Ulladulla Region, particularly in Milton-Mollymook-Narrawallee & Surrounds. Around Jervis Bay, most new housing development has been assumed in Vincentria-Erowal Bay & Surrounds, Sussex Inlet-Swanhaven-Berrara-Cudmirrah & Surrounds and St Georges Basin-Basin View. In contrast, some areas will see minimal future development due to environmental and other constraints, for example Shoalhaven Heads and Greenwell Point-Terrara & Surrounds. Overall, population and household growth is forecast to be modest to strong over the forecast period, with population reaching almost 120,000 by 2036.

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