Improving population retention in northern Australia: clues from German-born Territorians

Anita Maertens, Andrew Taylor

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    Background: Population growth rates in many parts of northern Australiahave slowed considerably in recent years. Governments are interested inidentifying northern migration ‘markets’ as potential targets for a mix ofmarketing and policy-based approaches to improve population attraction andretention. In the Northern Territory (NT), German-born residents present aninteresting case study. Many are long-term residents (‘sticky’), highlyeducated, in professional jobs and say they are likely to stay.

    Aims: We profile and report on a study of German-born NT residentsas one important international market for offsetting population losses. Understandingfactors which have contributed to the attraction and retention of this groupmay help to inform policies and initiatives to improve the population positionof the NT and northern Australia more broadly.Data and methods  Data forthe paper is sourced from the 2016 ABS Census of Population and Housing(Census) and the 2017 German Territorian Survey (GTS) conducted by CharlesDarwin University.

    Results: German-born residents are a relatively immobile(‘sticky’) and educated population group in the NT with a high ratio offemales. Many of those surveyed, in particular those who had arrived as workingholiday makers or tourists, exhibited little or no intention of leaving.Lifestyle factors, climate and job opportunities ranked highly in decisions tostay.

    Conclusions: The study of German-born Territorians holds promise fordeveloping targetted niche migration initiatives to address skills andpopulation deficits in the NT and northern Australia. Analysis of responses tothe GTS highlighted opportunities for recruiting skilled women and theimportance of tourism as a source for labour supply and population growth.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39–51
    Number of pages13
    JournalAustralian Population Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2018


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