THE NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure projects Orange will grow by half the number of people Bathurst will over the next 20 years.
The department’s calculations, based on figures gathered in the 2011 census, estimate the population of Bathurst will increase by 12,600 people by 2031, while Orange will grow by 6,300.
Cabonne Council is projected to grow by 5,400 people in the same time period.
Orange mayor John Davis simply can not believe the figures.
“Orange grew by about 3000 people between the last two census dates alone,” he said.
“I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I would think it would be close to what Bathurst is, maybe 10,000.”
The department’s acting deputy director-general Andrew Jackson said the projections were based on existing trends, such as birth and death rates, as well as migration data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and NSW Health.
The figures will be updated next year following the release of revised ABS data on August 30 and other ABS population statistics compiled over the coming months, he said.
“I’m still staggered a bit, my opinion would be at least double,” Cr Davis said.
“We’re back in business at council and when you look at the future projects of council, the figure is grossly under the mark.”
Cr Davis referred to the expansion of the Calare aged care facility on Forest Road, the expansion of Charles Sturt University’s Orange campus and the fact “there will no doubt be a major upgrade or redevelopment opportunity at the old hospital”.