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[Podcast] Can we trust the powers that be with the looming infrastructure shortage? With Ross Elliot

[Podcast] Can we trust the powers that be with the looming infrastructure shortage? With Ross Elliot
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As our population grows, and it surely will, this will place an increasing demand on our infrastructure and maybe we won't be able to keep up.

Of course, it’s much more than just being stuck in the traffic or wedged in overcrowded public transport just to get where you need to get to, according to my guest today, Ross Elliot. My Podcast #365 The Looming Infrastructure Shortage 3

So, whether you’re a property investor wanting to understand how future development and infrastructure are going to influence demand for housing or you’re a business owner needing to understand what's ahead, I'm sure at the end of today's show you'll have more clarity from the insights Ross Elliot is going to share.

My Chat with Ross Elliot

It has taken over 200 years to reach a population of around 25 and a half million people and now we will have to squeeze an extra 12 million people into Australia.

And most of these, around 7 million are likely to come from overseas.

Sure, the last couple of years of the Covid pandemic halted population growth to merely a blip.

But with this large number of new people coming to our country we're going to need significantly more infrastructure - roads, schools, utilities, social infrastructure - are we going to be able to provide these?

These are some of the topics I’d like to discuss with today’s guest, Ross Elliott. Population2

The answers to these questions will be very important for those interested in property and business owners in general.

  • Has Australia adequately provided infrastructure for the population growth that we've experienced over the last few decades?
    • It’s the speed of growth that’s not keeping up
    • That translates into a lower standard of living.
  • We’ve overinvested in inner cities and haven’t invested in suburban areas to the same extent.
  • There’s debate about whether our annual immigration intake should be lowered to put less pressure on infrastructure, protect jobs, and keep house prices lower.

Discussion about schools

  • Ross writes about a shortage of schools as our population grows.
  • This is going to be a significant driver for space. School4
  • It will be a driver of where people want to live as well.
    • There are just over 25 million Aussies in Australia.
    • Of that, some 4,030,717 were school-age students enrolled in 9,581 schools.
    • Based on that ratio, every extra million people (as for example predicted for each of our major capitals in just a few short years) will mean an extra 160,000 students. At a rough average school size of 400 students, that’s another 400 additional schools for each million extra population.
    • In South-east Queensland, official forecasts suggest another 1.5 million people by 2041, which is another 240,000 school-age kids in need of an additional 600 schools.
  • It's not just schools - the education sector is a major employer.
  • It employs 1.153 million people nationally, 62% of whom are full-time workers.
  • That’s nearly one in ten of the national workforce.
  • It’s also the third fastest growing industry in the country, predicted to add another 150,000 jobs in the five years to 2026.
  • So schooling is going to be very largest industry, which is going to grow in line with predicted population growth. Clearly, we're going to need lots more new schools in suburban locations. 3 Private School
  • We’re also going to have to find ways to fund all of these new schools.

The bottom line is that with population growth comes the demands of that population – and schools are at the top of the list, or very near it.

Our traditional approaches to locating schools will have to change if infill strategies to soak up growth are to work.

This will require some forward-thinking from urban planners and policy leaders.

We made a mess of the housing market by failing to plan ahead.

Can we avoid doing the same to schools?

Links and Resources:

Michael Yardney

Ross Elliott – subscribe to Ross’ blog – The Pulse

More from Ross at SuburbanFutures.com.au

Read Ross Elliott’s blogs on Property Update here

Get the team at Metropole to help build your personal Strategic Property Plan Click here and have a chat with us

Get your bundle of free eBooks and reports at www.PodcastBonus.com.au

Some of our favourite quotes from the show:

“There’s no doubt that we are going to have a population growth, both sides of parliament have agreed with that.” – Michael Yardney

“First of all, failure is never permanent.” – Michael Yardney

“The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Michael Yardney


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.

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