The number of new families like Amy King and her newborn baby girl Tiani are dwindling in Bundaberg.
The number of new families like Amy King and her newborn baby girl Tiani are dwindling in Bundaberg. Lea Emery

Bundaberg bucks the baby boom

QUEENSLAND may be in the midst of a baby boom, but for one of the first times the Bundaberg region has experienced a decrease in its number of births.

New mother Shenelle Brandt was surprised here there had been a downturn.

“I thought it would be the other way. The labour unit was flat out last week; they had more than enough babies to deal with,” she said.

Mrs Brandt, who gave birth to daughter Tasmyn on November 5, said the decision to start a family had taken into account their age and how stable they were financially.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show an increase in the statewide birth rate of 3% in 2008, whereas Bundaberg only had three additional babies for the same period.

The downturn has continued, with figures from the Bundaberg Hospital showing 69 fewer babies were born in the 2009 September quarter when compared with the same period in 2008 – from 331 down to 262.

The number of babies born in the September quarter also dropped by 49 compared with the June quarter.

New parent Jay and Amy King had not really noticed a drop in the number of families having babies around Bundaberg.

“A lot of friends had babies before us. We were just ready to have a family,” Mr King said.

Baby Tiani is the couple’s first child.

Adding double to Bundaberg’s baby count was solicitor Rebecca Ballantyne, who had twins, Emily and Alana, in late September.

“We had planned to have babies and we were trying for three months. We were just fitting it in around my career and our personal economic situation,” Mrs Ballantyne said.

Bubs Bargain owner Carla Schuh said she had noticed the store to be a little slow in recent months.

“But I’ve only had the store for about 12 months so I can’t really gauge if there has been a difference,” she said.

While the number of babies born dwindled in the 2007-2008 period, the Bundaberg fertility rate did jump from 2.16 to 2.26, meaning Bundaberg family sizes are getting larger.

Bundaberg’s fertility rate still managed to be higher than the state’s average fertility rate of just two.



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