Reliable data the key to success

March 29, 2024 BY

HIA chief economist Tim Reardon said Australia's population reached 26.8 million in September 2023, more than a decade ahead of the federal government's forecast.

Reliable forecasting is something government, business, and the community rely upon the make good and timely decisions for the future.

Whether it Is farmers planning cropping and harvest seasons, the construction industry looking at future labour and supply chain needs, or governments planning for necessary infrastructure to service growing communities, data, and reliable forecasting is needed for any industry to be on the front foot.

It is not an easy game forecasting, there are so many unknowns that can put a spanner in the works and change the outcome dramatically from its forecast course, catching all of guard.

This week, the HIA has highlighted where forecasting has got it wrong, and in a big way.

HIA chief economist Tim Reardon said Australia’s population reached 26.8 million in September 2023, more than a decade ahead of the federal government’s forecast.

“The Intergenerational Report (IGR) in 2007 projected that Australia’s population would not reach 26.8 million until 2034-35,” Mr Reardon said.

“Underestimation of population growth is a systemic policy failure that compounds the challenge of delivering sufficient housing.

“The ABS projected the national population to reach 26.9 million by the mid-2024, a figure that had been exceeded by the time their announcement was released in November 2023.

“An investment in improving ABS data collection, especially around land and population, could have a greater impact on housing supply than other Australian government initiatives.”

State and local government cannot be held solely accountable for under supplying homes, without clear guidance on population growth.

The HIA revealed this was not just a short-term problem emerging due to a spike in population after the pandemic.

“A core component of the Australian government’s initiatives to address the undersupply of housing, including delivering 1.2 million homes, is to invest in improving the quality of data around housing supply,” Mr Reardon said.

“An investment by the Australian government in improving the quality of housing data is an important component to addressing this systemic policy failure.

“This should focus on national reporting of land supply to enable performance benchmarking of local councils’ delivery of new homes.

“Good policy decisions require good data.”