Population surge downgraded

GLADSTONE was told in 2002 to expect a population surge of up to 13,000 people by mid 2005.

But the latest population estimates are far more modest.

In 2002 the population of Gladstone City was just over 27,000 and with several projects on the table, there was much talk about the rapid expansion of the region. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie released the Gladstone Growth Management Initiative (GGMI) to a packed audience during a Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited (GAPDL) enterprise lunch in July the same year.

The study aimed to anticipate and plan for the potential impact of population growth arising from the number of industrial projects planned for the region.

It was mind-boggling news for businesspeople and residents wondered how the region could possibly handle such a population explosion.

However, in 2005, with over half of the projects listed in the GGMI delayed or cancelled, the actual population increase has been calculated at about 2500.

The predictive model estimated the "total project workforce requirements; the number of new workers to be sourced from outside the Gladstone/Calliope Local Government areas; and the consequent population increase'', the GGMI report stated. But since the Department of State Development and Innovation developed the model, it has revised its method of making estimates.

Where before they were based on short-to-medium term projects and projects that were expected but not yet under way, the model is now based on growth generated by stable long-term projects.

In December last year GGMI developed a new model that took into account other factors such as migration.

The new estimates for Gladstone City by 2011 is just under 35,000, with Calliope to grow to nearly 20,000.

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