HOT TIP: Leading demographer Bernard Salt.
HOT TIP: Leading demographer Bernard Salt.

BOOM TIME: How long until Coast is home to 550,000?

EXCLUSIVE: ONE of Australia's leading demographers has tipped massive growth in the number of young couples shifting to the Coast to live, work and raise families in the next 20 years.

Bernard Salt released his report, The Activated City: Imagining the Sunshine Coast in 2040, in Brisbane this morning, unveiling expected growth in both young people and the elderly in the region.

He's tipped the Coast's population to grow from about 350,000 today to about 550,000 by 2040 and by the year 2036 Mr Salt forecast the number of Coast children aged between 0-14 to have grown by 27,000.

The number of people aged between 30 and 49 is also tipped to swell by 34,000 in the same timeframe.


KEY SITE: The Maroochydore CBD future vision.
KEY SITE: The Maroochydore CBD future vision.

His report indicates there will be strong growth in families in the region, while the number of people in the age brackets 50-64 and 65-74 will grow more slowly than they have in the last 20 years.

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Mr Salt's report found the number of people aged 75 and older would continue to grow strongly as baby boomers in the region continued to age.

Sunshine Coast Business Council chair Sandy Zubrinich stressed she was yet to view Mr Salt's report, but said population growth was welcomed, so long as the infrastructure and jobs were being created in the region to sustain the added growth, noting a deficit of about 4700 jobs in the region in the 12 months to November, 2016.

Mr Salt said the growth in "family formation" on the Coast would be driven by thousands of "knowledge worker" jobs in the new Maroochydore CBD and Kawana health precinct.


Bird's eye view, Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Bird's eye view, Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Sunshine Coast Hospital and Heal

He believed growth in the technology, aviation and renewable energy sectors would also draw more workers to the region and help take the population breakdown closer to that of a typical Australian city.

"Instead of gravitating to the Sunshine Coast in retirement, as has been the case for a generation, in the future Aussies will be attracted to the Coast in household formation," Mr Salt said.

"The old structure gives way to the new; the Coast loses its retirement tag and re-emerges as an active and energetic city more interested in active as opposed to passive sports."

"By 2040 the Sunshine Coast has sufficient critical mass that its own 'demographic' converges upon the Australian average. The Coast's culture shifts; it is a demographic outlier no longer."

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