Growing population fuels Australian economy

Continued above-average natural population growth and steady migration flows were major contributing factors to Australia faring better in the global downturn than its OECD counterparts, according to a new study.

The Business & Population Monitor released today by PKF Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers, in conjuction with Access Economics, examined demographic trends in Australia and their impact on SMEs and found that a growing population and a steady influx of migrants helped to keep the Australian economy afloat in the economic crisis.

Overall, Australia’s population grew by 1.9 percent in the past year, and almost all States recorded population growths above their five-year average, The past boom also made Australia an attractive destination for migrants, and consequently there had been record-high levels of migrant intake when the global financial crisis hit. In the last year alone Victoria welcomed 68,000 new migrants, while New South Wales welcomed 74,000.

Chris Allen, national chairman of PKF’s Enterprise Advisers, said the report clearly highlights how a growing population, as well as Australia’s endowment in natural resources, had helped to cushion the blow of the GFC.

“Arguably the unsung hero of Australia’s defence against the downturn has been our magnificent population growth. ‘People power’ is part of what is driving us along relative to others. Put simply, more people equal more customers, and therefore more jobs,” he said.

Matthew Field, director of PKF’s Enterprise Advisers said that Australia’s strong migrant intake has continued to provide real opportunities for Australian business, and the challenge now is for businesses to identify the gaps or slow growth areas in their states, and work to address them.

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