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State population target takes a hit

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The State Government has revised down its population target for the next 30 years, in an ominous sign for future growth projections.

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Premier Jay Weatherill is giving a speech at an Urban Development Institute of Australia lunch today, at which he will detail an ongoing review of Labor’s 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, published in 2010.

“That document is being updated and will soon be released for consultation,” he says in an advance copy of his speech.

“A new proposed target of population growth of 545,000 people will be set in the revised plan.”

That’s 15,000 fewer than the population growth predicted in 2010, when then-Premier Mike Rann had a population growth target formalised in his state Strategic Plan.

That plan has since been usurped by Weatherill’s 10-point list of economic priorities, which do not explicitly identify population growth as a policy end in itself.

“The update recognises that some of the underlying assumptions regarding population growth, urban densities and land consumption need review,” Weatherill’s speech says.

He concedes the revised population growth rate is “slightly lower than the 2010 target, but still sits in the higher end of our projection series”.

The 2010 document said the state was planning for “steady population growth of 560,000 people, the construction of 258,000 additional homes, economic growth of $127.7 billion and the creation of 282,000 additional jobs.”

Weatherill argues today that “since our Budget was handed down in June last year, South Australia has had a net gain of 7700 jobs”.

“That’s more than the net 7500 jobs created in the five years from July 2010 and June 2015,” he says.

He also enthuses that “excluding minerals, petroleum and grains” state exports “were up 8.8 per cent in the year to March 2016”.

“This is a sign that we’re broadening our industrial base – avoiding an overemphasis on commodities,” he said.

He says the revised plan “will enable us to maintain our affordable cost of living, support healthy neighbourhoods, and provide opportunities for growth and investment”.

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