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Tweed Shire CouncilPopulation forecast

Tweed Shire Council

Drivers of population change

Tweed Shire is located in the far north coast of New South Wales. The Shire is adjacent to the Gold Coast in Queensland - in fact the northern suburbs of Tweed Shire are essentially an extension of the Gold Coast urban area. European settlement of the Shire dates from 1844, with land used mainly for timber-getting and farming. Once timber supplies were exhausted the Tweed Valley became a centre for sugar cane and banana growing. The Shire contains large tracts of national parks and environmentally sensitive areas, including part of the UNESCO heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests.

Development history

Population was minimal until the 1880s, with growth during the late 1800s. The inland areas of the Shire were the early focus of population, with Murwillumbah the major centre. The Murwillumbah Municipality was formed in 1902. The Tweed Heads area developed as a tourist area assisted by a direct rail connection to Brisbane. In the post war period, Tweed Heads has grown from a small holiday resort to a large urban centre, with the population of the Shire increasing from about 19,000 in 1947 to 22,000 in 1961, then to 25,000 in 1971. Rapid growth took place from the 1980s, aided by tourism, with growth particularly in the areas along the coast and to the south of Tweed Heads. The population increased from about 40,000 in 1981 to 54,000 in 1991, and then to about 93,500 in 2016. Areas such as Tweed Heads South, Tweed Heads West, Banora Point and Bilambil have experienced significant growth from the 1960s onwards. In more recent years, coastal growth has extended further south with towns such as Kingscliff, Casuarina and Pottsville expanding rapidly.

Migration patterns

In recent years population growth has been driven by migration from other areas of New South Wales and to a lesser extent Queensland. This migration has included large numbers of retirees as well as families with children. In the 2011-2016 period, the Shire attracted large numbers of persons from overseas as well from Sydney and south east Queensland. It is expected that there will be continued demand for residential development in Tweed Shire due to its high amenity level, coupled with transport improvements that have shortened commuting distances to the Gold Coast in particular.

Historical migration flows, Tweed Shire Council, 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 Shire comprises some diversity in terms of residential and economic role and function. Tweed Heads comprises large numbers of medium and high density dwellings that attract retirees, as well as young adults seeking rental accommodation. Murwillumbah and the smaller rural towns are more traditional rural service centres with good access to the coast and are expected to slowly increase in population. These areas will continue to lose young adults (18-24 year olds) seeking employment, educational and lifestyle opportunities closer to Brisbane or the Gold Coast. Tweed Heads South, Banora Point, Terranora and Bilambil have more of a ‘suburban’ role in attracting families. Towns further south including Kingscliff, Casuarina Beach and Pottsville, as well as new growth areas such as Cobaki Lakes are expected to attract both families with children as well as retirees. This variety of function and role of the small areas in Tweed Shire means that population outcomes differ significantly across the area.

Housing supply

There are also significant differences in the supply of residential property within the Shire which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures over the next twenty five years. Large new ’greenfield’ opportunities have been identified in Cobaki - Piggabeen and Mid Coast-Casuarina in particular, but also Terranora, Tweed Heads and Tweed Heads South - Banora Point. Typically these developments attract young families seeking home owning opportunities, but also a significant proportion of older adults and retirees. As a result, these areas will dominate population growth in the Shire over the forecast period. Tweed Heads is also expected to experience new medium density residential development, similar to that in neighbouring Coolangatta on the other side of the State border. In contrast, rural areas are forecast to have stable or even declining populations, mainly due to continuing out migration of young adults, an ageing population combined with limited residential development opportunities. Overall, more than 16,680 dwellings are assumed over the forecast period, with the population reaching 132,220 at 2041.

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