Friday, June 06, 2008

Canberra - more of us are leaving than arriving

We are heading interstate at the rate of more than four per day.

The latest population figures released by the Bureau of Statistics yesterday show that in the second half of last year the number of Canberra residents leaving for interstate exceeded the number arriving by more than 800.

The outflow is a turnaround from the first half of that year when those arriving outnumbered those leaving by some 1,160.

The manager of the Live in Canberra campaign Simon Kinsmore said he was unable to explain the increase in people leaving.

“They’re really hard to track. The people we speak to are obviously still here – they’re fairly happy...

But as for the people who leave, unless they give us feedback or speak to us directly we just don’t know. Generally they won’t talk to us, they just pack up quietly and leave,” he said.

The government-funded Live in Canberra campaign is claiming more success in luring people from overseas to Canberra.

In the last year 960 more people came to live in Canberra from overseas than left Canberra to live overseas – the best result in two decades.

“I wouldn’t be so bold to claim that it was only the Live In Canberra campaign,” Mr Kinsmore said.

“But I think we have certainly assisted the majority of those people in some form or other in the work we do with the skilled and business migration program and our marketing. I am sure we have touched some of them.”

Asked whether the Live In Canberra campaign should focus more on the Australians who had lost their interest in moving or staying here Mr Kinsmore said there could be case for extending the campaign’s reach beyond its present targets of South Western Sydney and Wollongong.

“The rest of Australia might know about Live In Canberra from the web and so on, but we don’t actively market to them, he said.

“Young families from overseas are easier than Australians to persuade of the advantages of living in a place like Canberra. Its harder to convince people live by the coast.”

Live In Canberra has been targeting the United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands

The latest National Accounts show that spending in investment in the ACT shrank in the three months of this year. In every other state and territory they increased strongly.

The Chief Executive of the ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce Chris Peters said that most Canberra businesses stopped investing and hiring in the lead up to the November election and appear not to have restarted.

The biggest increase in Canberra’s population during 2007 came from births. A record 4,750 babies were born in Canberra last year – around 90 per week - easily outweighing the 1,600 people who died.

As a result Canberra’s population grew by 1.3 per cent, well below the Australian average but faster than NSW which last year lost a net 24,028 of its residents to interstate.