Census statistics from 2001 up until the last Census in 2016 show a dramatic drift of population away from Bourke.
The population of the Bourke Shire has dropped by almost one-third in that time. Thirty two percent per cent of the people have left the area in those 15 years.
In 2001 there were 3899 people in the Bourke Shire, but in the 15 years since, 1265 people have left. In 2016 the population of the Shire was 2634 people and with three years of drought since, that number is estimated to have dropped again.
By the time of the 2016 census the number of people living in Bourke had dwindled to 2,634. In 2011 there were 720 families in Bourke but a decade later that number had dropped by 159 to 561 families living in the town.
The population decline showed government intervention was needed if Bourke is to thrive into the future, according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler.
Mr Butler said he was determined to fight for the survival of small regional communities but said the state government needed to ‘change its setting’ in order for those communities to remain viable.
“Since the last Census in 2016 we have had three years of drought, so I hate to think what those statistics are showing now,” Roy said.
Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.
Local State MP Roy Butler (second from right) had the recent opportunity to discuss population decline in the bush with Bourke Councillors Bob Stutsel, Sarah Barton, Mayor Barry Hollman and Victor Bartley. Photo TWH