Last year saw a 1.7 per cent increase in population growth with nearly 400,000 new people living in Australia, and over half of that increase was attributed to overseas immigration.

This migration phenomenon has brought the population to more than 23 million people, a figure that is expected to continue growing with population expansion in major cities outpacing the national average.

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) has recently presented a report that highlights the importance of studied urban planning to manage population growth and determine future settlement patterns all across the country.

The State of Australian Cities 2013 report is the fourth in a series of documents created to present a comprehensive picture of how Australian cities are evolving. Population and settlement data is outlined in the report which, according to PIA chief executive officer Kirsty Kelly, contains invaluable information to help steer planning and policy decisions.

The report was released by Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a function in Sydney hosted by the Tourism and Transport Forum, along with a ministerial statement titled Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport.

Kelly said the PIA is proud to see the Australian Government make a commitment to work with stakeholders to improve transport planning.

“I congratulate the Government for picking up on the key findings of the Moving Australia 2030 report that included a significant PIA contribution,” she said. “The importance of bipartisan support for these initiatives is essential if we are to have real outcomes. The focus on transport planning and the value of integrated land use are key factors in achieving healthy communities and decent productivity in our cities.”

Top 10 Migrant Source Countries

Top 10 Migrant Source Countries

The PIA has also worked with the National Heart Foundation, the Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Local Government Association to deliver the Healthy Places and Spaces program.

“The Walking, Riding and Public Transport statement recognises this work and the Government makes the commitment to work with stakeholders to implement such programs,” Kelly said. “These reports are a pulse check on the trends and growth patterns in our major cities and they attract overwhelming interest from both the planning fraternity and the general public. The migration data in this report is invaluable and can inform the best possible planning decisions for our cities.”

The last edition of the report includes important data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census of Population and Housing which places an emphasis on migration, industry structure and human capital. It shows that capital cities have grown almost 50 per cent faster than the rest of the country.

Kelly congratulated the Federal Government on the way it has monitored the progress of Australian Cities since the first report was released in March 2010.

“Good planning decisions need the latest data and the State of Australian Cities reports are essential tools in the development of planning policy,” she said.