Friday, October 15, 2010

Yet more problems with NSW official projections

Oh my God, I get so tired of commenting on silliness.

The latest population projections released by NSW Planning show:
  • the population of the Northern Statistical Division, really the Northern Tablelands and Slopes declining from 180,000 in 2006 to 168,000 in 2036
  • the population of Armidale city declining from 20,500 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2036
  • the population of Uralla LGA declining from 6,000 in 2006 to 5,600 in 2036
  • the population of Guyra LGA declining from 4,400 in 2006 to 3,900 in 2036
  • the population of Glen Innes declining from 9,200 in 2006 to 7,600 in 2036.
  • and so it goes on.
I am aware of all the assumptions and uncertainties involved in population projections, but given the importance of the projections for planning purposes, you shouldn't put them on the record without an on-ground validity check. Just for the record, on the latest estimates population increases since the 2006 census have been:
  1. Armidale LGA up from 24,607 to 25,696
  2. Uralla LGA up from 6,007 to 6,238
  3. Guyra LGA up from 4,416 to 4,521
  4. Glen Innes up from 9,159 to 9,257
Accepting that Armidale city and LGA are different classifications, the numbers don't stack up. Our problem is that projections based on what was that ignore both subsequent changes and what should be, then get built into official planning and can become self-fulfilling prophecies.   


Greg said...

Jim, I can't help being cynical, but I suspect that dodgy estimates of declining populations are used to justify not providing government services, or at the very least, to justify not expanding them.

I personally find it hard to believe that each of those districts will go backwards by up to 10% over the next 25 years when NSW overall population is expected to increase by up to 25%. And if they do then that is a sad indictment on government in NSW. Just how do they propose to address this?

By comparison the population of the Newcastle metropolitan area was projected to increase by 160,000 in the next 25 years. Yet recent trends appear to indicate that the increase is likely to exceed 200,000. The planning seems totally inadequate to enable the lower Hunter to cope with that level of population increase. Unfortunately NSW does not seem to have a commitment to invest in the infrastructure required. Public services and infrastructure, which are already woefully inadequate or under stress will be even more so in the coming decades.

Jim Belshaw said...

Greg, I will do a post on this, on problems with statistics.