State of Play: Queensland

Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city, yet as far as international recognition goes Brissy falls well behind rivals Sydney and Melbourne. That may all change after the pivotal G20 summit of 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, but in the meantime Brisbane’s relative obscurity remains.

The fact that Sydney and Melbourne have been neck and neck as Australia’s number one city over the last 200 years hasn’t helped Brisbane gain notoriety. Captain James Cook planting the Union Jack in Botany Bay certainly gained Sydney an identity, and the gold rush put Melbourne on the map. In fact, upon federation in 1901, the federal government mostly conducted business out of Melbourne rather than Sydney.

So what now determines the fate of Queensland?

It may be no surprise that although New South Wales and Victoria dominate immigration and population size, Queensland maintains a consistently positive net interstate migration figure. That means more naturalised Aussies move to Queensland than those that leave. A few reasons have been identified for this:

  1. Cost of living in Sydney and Melbourne push people into a more affordable city.
  2. The climate attracts ‘second or more’ generation Australians to Brisbane.
  3. Jobs …

It is no secret that Sydney and Melbourne are ‘teetering at the edges’ with concentration of economics and population. To combat this, various levels of government have encouraged migration to regional centres and alternative cities.

As Queensland’s economy further centralises due to a step back in traditional dependence for agriculture and resources met with an increase in professional services and healthcare, the demographic climate will also shift.

We are seeing this in a number of ways. One was looked at last Friday at our final business partner briefing of 2014. Today, 60 per cent of Queensland’s residential building approvals are houses. Thirty years ago, 80 per cent of approvals were houses. This now indicates a higher representation of high density living, which is consistent with the changing face of both Queensland and Australia’s economies, as well as their demographics.


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