Territory's demographic trends and challenges put under the microscope 

Professor Tony Barnes

The Northern Territory’s economic situation, population characteristics and labour force needs, are just some of the issues Professor Tony Barnes and Dr Sarah Rummery will put forward in their presentation at the Charles Darwin Symposium on 28 September.

Professor Tony Barnes and Dr Sarah Rummery, both research fellows with Charles Darwin University’s School for Social and Policy Research, will present a paper titled Demographic trends and challenges which draws on their research into the Territory’s economic, population and labour trends and their drivers.

Professor Barnes said the Territory experienced highly volatile growth rates, had a commodity focus and was export-orientated.

“The Territory economy is characterised by a small and dispersed population, a large land mass and is dominated by a small number of key industries, the most significant of which is mining and energy,” he said.

The researchers will discuss the demographic characteristics of the Territory, including its unique ageing profile, and the significant differences between the characteristics of the Indigenous and non Indigenous populations.

“The key driver of population growth in the Territory is the contribution of net interstate migration. This is a feature almost exclusively of the non Indigenous population, and is very closely linked to employment opportunities and economic growth,” Dr Rummery said.

The presentation, which will be part of the day-long free Symposium at CDU’s Alice Springs campus on 28 September, will conclude with discussion on both the challenges and opportunities of the Territory labour force which is set to have significant implications for the future of the Territory.

The Symposium is titled A Skilled Workforce for Regional and Remote Australia: Keeping, Attracting, Training, and is designed to generate discussion and debate about workforce development, with a keen eye on existing and future alignments of people, skills, work, structures and place.

The Symposium will run from 8.30am to 5pm on Friday, 28 September at CDU’s Alice Springs campus.

For more information go to www.cdu.edu.au/cdss.