I became one of the 43,000-odd (and I mean more than 43,000 and not the other more literal interpretation of the word) New Zealanders who have decided to call Queensland home since the last Census. The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census was released late last week to much salivating amongst number-crunchers, and contains so many facts and figures it will probably take us five years to decipher it all and then the 2016 will be released and we’ll be back to square one. Ah well, it will keep us out of trouble I suppose.
It appears in the five years between 2006 and 2011, the number of Queenslanders who were born in New Zealand increased by 29 per cent to now number some 192,066 hardy souls who have decided to live life in the sun and possibly earn more money too. Yes, indeed, we are a fiercely brave lot. The numbers of kiwis living in Queensland however is still not as many as those born in the United Kingdom – they are top of the list at some 220,000 people.
The total population of Queensland increased 11 per cent between 2006 and 2011 which means the Sunshine State is now home to nearly 4.4 million people. That is about the same as the population of New Zealanders who actually live in New Zealand. And Queensland had the second highest percentage of population growth in the nation over the census period and it is easy to understand why.
This is the second time I have lived in Queensland in the past decade with an 18-month stint back in NZ in-between when I was trying to work out where I wanted to live permanently. The answer to that existential quandary is now, of course, fairly obvious. And for those of us who didn’t grow up in this beautiful State, Queensland’s attributes are as many as they are varied:
- It is warm most of the year. Indeed, my winter clothes are now what I take to wear in New Zealand when I go to visit in summer;
- Unless you live in Outback Queensland (now those people are truly hardy souls) it is never far to travel to a waterway, river, or beach to cool down. In the South Island of NZ where I am from, you may be able to get to a beach pretty easily but unless you’re wearing a wetsuit it’s too cold to get in the water;
- There is more to watch on the TV than just rugby union, all-year-round;
- Brisbane is big enough that you can go dancing until 5am in the morning if you want too, but small enough that you may bump into some of your old uni or work mates on the dance-floor;
- There is a huge variety of houses to choose from to live in and while, like NZ, most don’t have heating, it’s because they don’t need too;
- You can see many of this country and state’s animal emblems in the bush if you are lucky and not just in the zoo or on the telly;
- There are no earthquakes (I am from Christchurch);
- Brisbane is now home to more than 2 million people, so that old derogatory tag of being like a big country town doesn’t really fit anymore. Indeed, Brisbane’s population is now bigger than many countries;
- Melbourne is too cold and Sydney is too expensive, yet they are both just a short plane ride away;
- If you’ve had a tough week at work, you can hop in your car and drive to a tranquil rainforest location or go to a beach with golden sands and chill out for a wee bit. Why would you live anywhere else?
By Nicola McDougall, Media and Communications Manager, REIQ