Population boom in top mining towns, ABS says

There have been population booms in Queensland mining towns, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The ABC said six towns in the state grew by more than 3 per cent between 2006 and 2011 due to arrivals of mining workers.

ABS spokeswoman Jane Griffin-Warwick said the population increase had changed the town demography.

“In these towns it’s mostly 25 – 54-year-olds who make up most of the population, which is a lot higher than in general,” she said.

She added the figures accounted for established mining towns and new boom towns.

“Seven of the 10 towns that we looked at had also had high population growth between 2001 and 2006, but Clermont and Wepia were both new towns to be included in this high growth area,” she said.

Central Queensland was notably over-represented. The Bureau looked at towns where one in six employed people were in the mining industry. Their population grew by at least two per cent, she said.

Moranbah had the highest growth, followed by Wepia, Middlemount, Emerald, Clermont and Dysart.

But one person who disagrees is hotel manager in Middlemount, Nathan Hennessey. He said the population in the mining town is declining after the resources boom began slowing down last year.

He said mines have been cutting staff ‘left, right and centre’ since October last year.

“A lot of people which have lived in town or lived here 20 or 30 years lost their jobs and had to move on, or been offered packages to leave,” he said.

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