Queensland’s status as Australia’s population magnet has been strengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic, with annual net interstate migration for the Sunshine State at its highest level in almost 20 years.
Although overseas migration has fallen considerably after international borders were mostly closed in early 2020, lockdowns in NSW and Victoria took their toll on many southerners and they headed for warmer climes and a relatively COVID-free existence.
Net interstate migration to Queensland in the year to June 2021, the most recent data available, reached 30,939. That was the largest annual increase since the 35,498 in 2004. A net figure of 9,728 in the December quarter of 2020 was the highest rise on a quarterly basis since December 2003.
Extended lockdowns in NSW and Victoria over the past two years of the coronavirus pandemic have been cited anecdotally as the reason for southerners packing up and moving north of the Tweed.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said Queensland’s job creation and strong economy would continue to be a lure for southerners even if the state was no longer COVID-free.
“Queensland’s strong health response and nation-leading economic recovery from COVID-19 have once again shown the rest of Australia that Queensland is the place to be,” Mr Dick said.
“Through the pandemic, more than 30,000 people from other parts of Australia have decided to make Queensland the place they live and work – the equivalent of a new city the size of Gladstone in just 12 months.”
Queensland’s estimated population growth of 1 per cent for 2021-22 is expected to rise to 1.25 per cent in 2022-23, according to the mid-year budget update released in December.
The influx of migrants is helping to fuel Queensland’s economy, which is expected to grow by 3.25 per cent this financial year, up from the 2.75 per cent predicted in last June’s budget.
Queensland’s house prices have increased by about 25 per cent in the past year, but are still cheaper than in Sydney and Melbourne. The surge in property prices is expected to continue through to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.
Ms Rohan said she expected the attractions of moving to Queensland to continue regardless of the spread of the omicron variant.