Cooma-Monaro Shire mayor Dean Lynch has welcomed the latest population projections showing an increase to 10,800 in the shire's population by 2031, but says there is plenty of room for more.
With a large amount of land available and recently upgraded infrastructure, Cr Lynch said the Shire could sustain population growth of between 12,000 to 13,000.
The latest population projections by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure show the Shire's population will grow 6.9 per cent from 2011 to 2031, to 10,800.
It's a positive trend for the shire, Cr Lynch said, but one that could be better.
"We can cater for a 30 per cent increase with our current infrastructure," he said.
"We need that population increase to be sustainable into the future."
Cr Lynch said the projection of a small increase in population was good considering many regional areas had a declining population.
"As I travelled across Eden-Monaro, a lot of places look at Cooma as a shining light," he said.
"I want to see that figure get better to between 12,000 and 13,000.
"We have spent money on water and sewer upgrades, and we have the availability of land."
Projections show many towns in western NSW will experience a significant decline in population over the next 20 years.
Closer to Cooma, Tumbarumba will see a decrease of 5.9 per cent, Tumut will slump by 17.7 per cent, while Bombala's population is expected to drop 20 per cent.
Just over the Shire border, Snowy River Shire's population is expected to spike with an increase of 17.9 per cent to 9,200 by 2031. The main reason being the ageing population.
In Cooma, a high fertility rate and ageing population are given as reasons for the steadily increasing population.
Something Cr Lynch would like to address is Cooma's transient population. He said there are a high number of people moving to and from Cooma, and the Economic Development Task Force will be looking at ways of retaining this transient population.
A report by the task force with a list of recommendations will be released in November.