Australia's population has officially ticked over the 25 million mark.
The historic milestone was recorded at 11.01pm (AEST) on Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ “population clock” which tallies up births and deaths, as well as those migrating or leaving the country for good.
Australia’s population hadn’t been expected to hit 25 million for a few more decades but is thought to have been given a boost by the arrival of immigrants to our shores.
Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge hopes that many of those new arrivals will opt to move to country towns rather than stay in Australia’s biggest cities where infrastructure is under pressure.
“There are some areas feeling the population pressures, particularly Melbourne and Sydney, while there are other regions in Australia which are crying out for more people,” he told the ABC.
“So I think we’ve got a distribution problem as much as anything else. And of course, we have to make sure that the infrastructure is being built in front of the demand rather than behind it, as we’ve seen in recent years.”
Associate Professor Amanda Davies, a geographer at Curtin University’s School of Design and the Built Environment, urged governments to come up with a population strategy as Australia’s cities will hit a limit in terms of how many people they can accommodate.
“The long-term disinvestment in regional and rural communities by successive governments has made it all the more difficult for these places to diversify their economic activities, grow employment opportunities and attract new residents,” she said.
“Many individual towns and cities across the country are trying, best they can, to cope with population growth, stimulate population growth, or, for some, curb population loss.
“Without a national framework to bring this knowledge and effort together, opportunities are being missed. Now is the time to get serious about a national population strategy.”
The ABS population clock estimates that the nation’s population is increasing by one person every one minute and 23 seconds.
If that pace continues, Australia’s population is expected to hit 26 million in another three years from now.