Berrigan Shire records six per cent population growth in 14 years

By Daniel Hughes

The Berrigan Shire population has grown by more than six per cent since 2006 and is currently recorded at over 8750.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the estimated population of the shire earlier this year.

The estimates are built on a determined 0.6 per cent growth from the previous year.

The trend of population growth in the shire was indicated in the last council meeting, indicating that in 2006 the estimated population was 8160.

Council's director corporate services Matt Hansen said growth in the shire's population is still on the rise.

He said the shire has seen growth beyond expectations compared to rural council areas in NSW.

“The figures provided by the ABS are very interesting and Berrigan Shire’s population growth since 2006 is in contrast to much of rural Australia,” he said.

“Growth has largely been driven by migration from Melbourne and regional Victoria. This tends to be for lifestyle reasons, i.e. retirement – or for employment and our proximity to the Murray River and to Melbourne are attractors.

“Population growth has been concentrated in the southern part of the Shire, although Finley and Berrigan have been able to retain their population unlike other rural towns in the Riverina.”

The shire's growth in the last year draws assumptions of Australian and domestic migration.

“Estimates include 34 overseas migrants and 43 migrants from elsewhere in Australia coming to Berrigan Shire, less a natural decrease (births less deaths) of 27,” the ABS study said.

In an effort to continue its study on the demographic of the shire, the council commissioned .idcommunity to conduct a further population forecast.”

The research company found that while the shire is gaining an increased population each year, it is losing residents to Wagga Wagga, Goulburn and Ovens-Murray areas.

“It (.idcommunity) forecasted a continued growth at 0.68 per cent per year over the forecast period (2016 and 2036) and that Berrigan Shire will have a population of 9,818 in 2036,” Mr Hansen said.

Finley real estate agent Nathan Everingham said housing development that specifically caters for the demographic of people moving to the area has allowed the population to grow.

“I do think the real estate development within the Berrigan Shire would have played some part,” Mr Everingham said.

“The development of elderly housing such as the housing project that is going up in Finley at the moment is certainly a contributor to the growth in population of the shire.

“In my opinion though a big part of the steady incline of population would be the simple attraction to a beautiful region plus the low cost of house prices in comparison to other areas.

“Any local development can only be a positive to our local economy, bringing in more trade to the local shops etc.”