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Sydney to face population challenge   

Based on birth and death rates and a continuation of migration, both from within Australia and overseas, the DPE has predicted that 1.09 million people will be living in Inner Sydney by 2031, an increase of 267, 000. The City of Sydney, which is guided by the Department of Housing statistics, is predicting growth in resident numbers of up to 50 per cent by 2021, or 35,000 extra people, within its Local Government Area. Dr Kim Johnston from the DPE explained that Inner Sydney has had a unique age profile with high numbers of people in their 20s to 40s resulting from “the impact of in migration to Sydney for education and work”. While this is expected to continue, “we can see increases at all ages”, explained Dr Johnston. Along with an aging population, “there are more children in the inner city than we have seen in the past”. This places a higher demand on services such as childcare, schools and sporting clubs. “I don’t think people would have anticipated that as many people would want to retire here (or) … that people with kids would want to stay here,” confessed City of Sydney spokesperson Tye McMahon. Tye admits that the Council is struggling to reach these unexpected service demands but highlighted the need to effective planning. “We want to plan for it in the right way because in the city once the land is given up it’s sometimes lost forever in trying to retrofit a space.” Planning has been made difficult for the Council by having to navigate around other authorities such as the Barangaroo Terminal Authority and Urban Growth. “Not every decision is ours, not every decision is something that we influence and not every decision is something the City agrees with.” With the increase in population comes the question of housing. The DPE predicts that there will need to be 120,000 households added to Inner Sydney by 2031. Chris Johnston from Urban Taskforce explained that the Taskforce estimates that “in the next 50 years we have to double the number of households in Sydney”. While there is contention on how and where to create these new households, Associate Professor Mike Darcy concluded: “The one thing that’s not going to change is that the city is always going to change.”

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