Today sees the release of the ABS Regional Population estimates as at mid-year 2015 and they show us a small decline in the estimated population of the Cassowary Coast Local Government area to 28,689 (from 28,694 a year earlier). Over the course of the past decade the population of the CCRC region has fallen from 29,124 ( a 1.5% decline) which is in stark contrast to a 25.9% increase seen in the Cairns Regional Council area to 160,285.
When we consider the breakdown within the CCRC area into the Statistical Area 2 (SA2) regions of Innisfail, Johnstone and Tully over the 10 years we see that Innisfail has seen a 2.7% drop, Johnstone has fallen by 2.5% while Tully (which includes Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach) is down just 0.6%. Over the past 4 years we have actually seen some growth in the south with Tully SA2 up 0.8% while Johnstone SA2 and Innisfail SA2 have both contracted (by 1.2% and 0.3% respectively). Given the information released by the ECQ on the size of the electoral divisions in the region (see table below) it is not hard to see that the population growth in the south has been exclusively focused in Division 3 (Mission Beach, El Arish and Kurrimine Beach). The fact that the ECQ electoral roll shows growth in the northern divisions (4, 5 & 6) since 2012 would appear to suggest that the ABS estimates for the SA2 areas Innisfail and Johnstone may need to be revised somewhat higher when the 2016 estimates are produced.
We must take care however when considering this data since the ABS and ECQ data are not only taken at different times (i.e. ABS data relates to estimates at June 2015 while ECQ electoral roll is for March 2016) but they relate to different areas and different counts. While the CCRC area is largely SA2 areas Innisfail, Johnstone and Tully the two are not strictly the same. In addition, while electoral divisions 1, 2 and 3 are roughly equal to Tully SA2, they are not exactly the same. Finally, the ABS data relates to total population while the ECQ data relates only to registered voters.