University towns are continuing to drive population and economic growth across NSW, according to the 2019 NSW Population Projections released today.
NSW Planning and Public Spaces minister Rob Stokes says Wollongong, Newcastle, Armidale and Bathurst will see their populations grow by up to 26 percent by 2041, driven largely by the 20-24 year old demographic.
“Some of the best and brightest minds from around the country and the world are drawn by NSW’s reputation for having some of the world’s highest-ranking universities,” says Stokes.
“Uni towns themselves benefit from the students living and spending locally, but the flow-on effects bolster the entire economy, attracting new cafes, restaurants, leisure activities, rental accommodation and visiting family and friends.”
Education is NSW’s second most valuable source of export revenue, injecting more than $13 billion into the State’s economy in 2018 and supporting more than 95,000 jobs.
In Wollongong, Newcastle, Armidale and Bathurst, education contributes $1.7 billion to the economy each year, and employs 10,000 people directly and a further 10,000 indirectly.
Projections to 2041 indicate Newcastle’s 20-24 age-group will remain a largest group of people in the area during coming years, many of whom will be students. Similarly, Armidale is showing one of the fastest growth rates in regional NSW and young people, including university students, are expected to remain an important part of the community.
“For every 100 direct jobs in the education industry, there’s 100 more created through people living and spending locally,” says Stokes.
More than 25,000 students study at the University of Wollongong campus, with the city seeing more than 80 new bars, eateries and cafes established since 2012. Population Projections show Wollongong will grow by 55,400 people by 2041.
In Bathurst, the Government is working with Charles Sturt University and Bathurst Regional Council to establish a “UniverCity”, developing a CBD Masterplan and precincts for health, performing arts and economics.
In Newcastle, the new $95 million NeW Space education and research precinct, developed with the support of the NSW Government, has also transformed the area.
In Armidale, home to the University of New England, the population is expected to grow by 26 percent, from 30,300 in 2016 to 38,100 in 2041, with people in their early 20s expected to remain the largest age group.
The NSW government says that it has responded to population growth with a capital works program estimated at $97.3 billion over the next four years that includes $10.2 billion for hospitals and health facilities, $7.3 billion for schools and skills infrastructure, $4 billion for justice and emergency services infrastructure, and $57.5 billion for public transport and roads infrastructure.