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Population growth slows in WA, booms in NSW

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New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows population growth dropped off in Western Australia, even as New South Wales attracted a record number of migrants.

Nonetheless, the west coast remains the most popular destination for new transplants.

Over 2013, the population of Western Australian increased by 2.9 per cent, a higher rate than any other state.

However, the flow of people into the state appears to be moderating, as growth dropped by 0.8 per cent from 2012 to 2013.

Housing Industry Association economist Geordan Murray said the west coast trends were linked to the mining slowdown.

“Migration in WA appears to be mirroring the trajectory of resource sector investment,” he said.

“Growth due to interstate migration has slowed markedly and growth due to overseas migration is also showing signs of moderating.”

In New South Wales, on the other hand, population growth reached an almost 20-year peak.

“The population grew by 1.5 per cent during 2013. Outside of the 2008/2009 period, when migration was influenced by the financial crisis, this is the highest rate of population growth the state has recorded in more than 20 years,” Mr Murray said.

Elsewhere, the population expanded by 1.9 per cent in Victoria, 1.7 per cent in Queensland and 0.9 per cent in South Australia.

Overall, 396,000 people were added to Australia’s population over the past year, a growth rate of 1.7 per cent.

While down from the 1.8 per cent growth recorded over 2012, the rate remains “well above the long-term average”, Mr Murray said.

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