Solid population base to build mining town Nhulunbuy’s future

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Nanydjaka (Cape Arnhem Coast) Cape Arnhem is the extreme eastern tip of Arnhemland. Image: Tourism NT http://www.travelnt.com

New demographic modelling for Nhulunbuy, in Australia’s North, indicates that the town’s base population at the end of the year may be double the original projections.

Nanydjaka (Cape Arnhem Coast) Cape Arnhem is the extreme eastern tip of Arnhemland.  Image: Tourism NT http://www.travelnt.com
Nanydjaka (Cape Arnhem Coast)
Cape Arnhem is the extreme eastern tip of Arnhemland. Image: Tourism NT http://www.travelnt.com

Rio Tinto Alcan’s own early estimates had originally indicated the town’s population may dip down as low as 1200 after the refinery is curtailed. But in a sign of local confidence levels, analysis by demographers from Charles Darwin University suggests that the decline may be much less dramatic. CDU modelling suggests a population of 2400 in Nhulunbuy at the end of the year, potentially rising to 3000 in the longer term,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

Mr Giles revealed the government had been working hard to build up the region and show residents they have a future in Nhulunbuy.

According to a statement from the government, the CDU modelling was jointly funded by Rio Tinto Alcan and the Department of the Chief Minister, as part of the transitional support offered to the town. Research looked at the intentions of existing residents and international examples of towns that have experienced similar scenarios.

The government is expected to spend $1 billion on services and infrastructure in the region over the next five years, in order to diversify the economy as Nhulunbuy transitions away from a one industry town, primarily supported from jobs generated by Rio Tinto’s Alcan aluminium plant.

The Department of Chief Minister has been working with Rio Tinto, the Northern Land Council, the Gumatj and Rirratjingu corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation and the East Arnhem Regional Council to identify potential opportunities.

“Late last month, the government also announced financial support for a new tourism venture that will see visitors travel to Gove on a working cargo barge. It is innovative ideas like this that will help the town move in a new direction,” Mr Giles said.

An executive summary of the report can be accessed at:

http://www.nt.gov.au/ntg/gove/docs/demographic_modelling_for_Nhulunbuy.pdf