Influx of residents transforms remote Flinders Island

Flinders Island's population increased 18 per cent from 707 to 833 in the past five years and local authorities say there is no more room for newcomers.
Flinders Island's population increased 18 per cent from 707 to 833 in the past five years and local authorities say there is no more room for newcomers.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/VISIT FLINDERS ISLAND TASMANIA

SYDNEY - Off the north-east tip of Tasmania is Flinders Island, a remote outpost that has just one school and has only had an electricity grid since the 1980s.

But the island is now "full".

Its population increased 18 per cent from 707 to 833 in the past five years and local authorities say there is no more room for newcomers.

The island - like Tasmania - has had an influx of residents from the mainland, seeking a switch to a quieter, more affordable lifestyle. But the influx has led a lack of housing and meant some local families have been forced to leave because they could not find large enough houses for their families.

Flinders Council wants to increase the population further but says there is currently no more accommodation.

"There is no housing," the Mayor, Ms Carol Cox, told Fairfax Media last month. "We've got to the stage where we're turning people away or people can't come because we can't find the housing."

Much of the island's 1,333 square kilometres is farmland, mainly used for producing beef, lamb and wool.

There is also a growing tourism sector, with visitors attracted by the island's scenery and beaches, as well as fishing and diving.

 

But the local Flinders Island Tourism and Business Association has warned that a lack of housing will stunt the economy and make it impossible to find accommodation for holiday workers.