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Lismore CityPopulation forecast

Lismore City

Drivers of population change

Lismore sits within the ancestral territory of the Bundjalung nation. It is located in the Northern Rivers and Border Ranges Rainforest Region of New South Wales, about 700 kilometres north of Sydney and 200 kilometres south of Brisbane. It is bounded by Tweed Shire to the north, Byron Shire and Ballina Shire to the east, the Richmond Valley Council area to the south and south-east, and the Kyogle Council area to the north-west.

The LGA has an area of 1,267 square kilometres and it extends from North Woodburn in the south to the village of Nimbin and rural communities and the Nightcap Ranges to the north, and from Clunes in the east to Bentley in the west. Its dwelling settlement pattern is focused on the Lismore township and its suburban areas, which are situated on the Wilson River and the Bruxner Highway.

Development history

The Widjabul/Wy-abal people of the Bundjalung Nation have lived in Lismore and its surrounds for more than 50,000 years, with European settlement dating from the mid-1840s. Early colonisation land use consisted of sheep grazing, particularly along the Wilson river flats. The village of Lismore was established in the 1850s. Land allotments took place from the 1860s, with land initially used for growing corn and sugar cane. From the 1870s dairy farming and timber cutting became the main industries. Growth accelerated during the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, aided by expansion in the dairy farming and the opening of the railway line from Lismore to Byron Bay.

Substantial population growth occurred from the post-war years into the 1960s. Dairy farming declined from the early 1970s, slowing population growth. The population has fluctuated since. During the 1990s, it rose from about 41,000 in 1991 to nearly 43,000 in 1996, before declining to less than 42,000 in 2001. Since 2001 the population has increased marginally, by 1,000 residents.

Migration patterns

Currently more than 60% of the population live in the Lismore urban area and villages, including Bexhill, Clunes, Dunoon, Nimbin and Wyrallah. In recent years (2011-2016), Lismore has generally attracted mature families from other regional areas of New South Wales, such as neighbouring Byron, Kyogle, Clarence and Richmond Valley, the Central Coast and Northern Sydney. However, Lismore tends to lose older residents to the neighbouring Shire of Ballina and lose young adults to Southeast Queensland.

Historical migration flows, Lismore City, 2011-2016






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 based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.

Housing role and function

The families who tend to move to Lismore are in part attracted by the variety of housing opportunities available. Lismore provides rural living on larger allotments in places such as Richmond Hill, village lifestyle in Nimbin and Clunes, greenfield developments in Goonellabah and emerging mix of housing types in and around the Lismore town.

Lismore also attracts population because it is a major service center for the region. Lismore is home to the Lismore Base Hospital, Southern Cross University and Lismore TAFE, which all provide employment and education opportunities in the region.

Lismore’s rural land is used largely for agriculture supporting a diverse number of industries including macadamia nut, coffee, tea tree, tropical fruit and sugar growing, dairying and cattle. Agriculture provides opportunities for diversification in the agribusiness, agri-technology and food processing industries in region. It also provides a way of life for many people and the rural landscape is valued by the community.

Housing supply

It is expected that there will be continued demand for residential development in Lismore due to its high amenity, variety of housing, employment opportunities and education facilities. This demand will be meet by both greenfield, rural living and medium density developments. Significant opportunities for new residential development are in Goonellabah, North & North Lismore Plateau.

Longer term residential land supply will be met through recently rezoned residential growth areas such as the North Lismore Plateau. Combined with continued rural living options, and opportunities for medium density in and around the centre, Lismore is forecast to see a continuing and steady supply of housing construction over the next two decades.

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