Does Victoria's population grow more than 10 times faster than South Australia?

By Louise Evans and Tiffanie Turnbull

The Statement

"At the moment the South Australian population is growing at around 10,000 people per year. To put that in perspective, I think Victoria’s growing by 10,000 people every 26 days.”

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall. June 3, 2019.

The Analysis

Premier Steven Marshall said South Australia needed more people to address a skills shortage that’s negatively impacting the state’s economy. [1]

To help address the problem his government had signed up to a $19.4 million federal government plan offering migrant workers jobs and residency in regional areas. The Designated Area Migration Agreements plan allows regional employers to sponsor overseas workers into positions they were unable to fill with locals. [2]

The new federal cities, urban infrastructure and population Minister Alan Tudge said five regional areas - south-west Victoria, Adelaide, regional SA, far-north Queensland and Kalgoorlie-Boulder would benefit from the Designated Area Migration Agreements plan. Mr Tudge said the plan was designed to take population pressures off the east coast by putting more skilled migrants into the regions. [3]

AAP FactCheck examined Premier Marshall’s claim that South Australia’s population was growing by around 10,000 people per year and that equated to the growth Victoria experienced every 26 days.

According to the most recent data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SA’s population grew by a total of 65,215 people across five calendar years from 2013-2017. This five-year total figure of 65,215 was calculated using the following SA population growth figures from the ABS: 14,970 in 2013, 15,055 in 2014, 12,803 in 2015, 11,463 in 2016 and 10,924 in 2017. On average across those five years, South Australia’s population grew by 13,043 per year, which is above the figure of 10,000 quoted by the SA premier. [4]

Over the same five-year period of 2013-2017, Victoria’s population grew by 677,019, according to ABS data and the average population growth for the state was 135,404. Based on these figures Victoria’s population grew on average by 371 people per day, 9,646 people over 26 days and 10,017 over 27 days. SA’s five-year average of 13,043 people would be surpassed by Victoria’s growth after just 36 days with growth of 13,356. [4]

Looking solely at figures from the last calendar year of 2017 when data was available, Victoria’s population grew more than 10 times faster than SA. Year-on-year Victoria’s population rose by 141,742 or 10,097 in 26 days. Based on these 2017 figures Victoria’s population growth would surpass SA actual population growth of 10,924 for the whole year on the 29th day, when there would have been growth of 11,262 people.

Based on this data AAP FactCheck concludes that Mr Marshall’s claim that SA’s average annual population growth equates to Victoria’s population growth in 26 days is mostly true. The premier’s calculations appear to be based on 2017 figures when SA’s average population growth was 10,924 and Victoria’s average for 29 days. Mr Marshall said 10,000 people every 26 days.

The Verdict

  • Mostly True - Mostly accurate, but there is a minor error or problem.

The References

1: ‘Regions struggling to attract workers’. 7.30. ABC TV. June 3, 2019, 5min27sec:

2: ‘Migrants fast-tracked for regional areas’, by Rebecca Gredley. Yahoo Finance/AAP. February 8, 2019:

3. 'Crying out for workers': Five regional areas to receive new migrants’, by Eryk Bagshaw. June 5, 2019

4: ‘TABLE 4. Estimated Resident Population, States and Territories (Number)’ - Columns U & W. Australian Bureau of Statistics:

  • First published June 6, 2019 16:40 AEST