Capital cities to drive Gympie expansion
SYDNEY and Brisbane are the keys to Gympie sustaining its growth of 799 new residents a year.
That is the assessment of the city by one of the country's leading population and economy experts.
Analysis of new Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the region's population grew by 7995 people from 2004 to 2014.
Gympie is now home to 48,464 people compared to 40,469 residents in 2004.
The city's prospects depend on the state's south-east delivering the "Sydney effect" to the region, resource economist John Rolfe says.
"Gympie in some ways depends on the growth in south-east Queensland and the transport links," the CQUniversity School of Business and Law professor said.
"(For example) cities within four hours of Sydney get a Sydney effect as people move out to those regional centres.
"Gympie is less than two hours from Brisbane so it should be well within the Brisbane footprint.
"As Brisbane grows faster and Brisbane house prices begin to follow those in Sydney and Melbourne, Gympie will become a flow-over lifestyle centre.
"I don't see that Gympie has got a lot of prospects for other growth apart from that."
Gympie Mayor Mick Curran said jobs and growth went hand in hand.
"Well-managed population growth will be an important driver for the Gympie region's future prosperity, bringing with it future investment potential and an increased focus on the region for its significant opportunities and prime location," Cr Curran said.
"Growth must be linked to employment opportunities.
"The council carefully monitors population growth trends to ensure that our planning supports all of the other things that make this region the natural choice to live, work and play.
"This includes facilitating economic growth whilst also retaining our sense of community, protecting our environmental assets and enviable lifestyle."
Opening up land for residential development, particularly in the region's south, should help house the re
gion's projected population of 57,000 by 2026.
"South-east Queensland will contribute to our attraction for new residents," Cr Curran said.
"Our planning will also have a significant focus on maintaining the things that make the region unique and contribute to our lifestyle.
Cr Curran said the council was reviewing its infrastructure plan so investment matched population growth.
GYMPIE AT A GLANCE
The region covers 6884.5sq km.
It has 48,464 residents.
Between 2004 and 2014, it attracted about 799 new residents a year.
City planners hope to have 57,000 residents in the region by 2026.
SOURCE: ABS, Gympie Regional Council