Australia does not need to grow its population

April 12, 2012 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Jenny Goldie for sending me this article, written by John Coulter and printed in the Canberra Times. Coulter is a former leader of the Australian Democrats, one-time VP of the Australian Conservation Foundation and presently National VP of Sustainable Population Australia. See:

Evidence behind Queensland’s cost of living fears

April 10, 2012

The Canberra Times — Opinion

Few commentators have spoken sensibly about the election result, JOHN COULTER writes.

Queenslanders’ perception that living costs have been rising is supported by objective evidence; these rising costs apply across Australia and have been evident for some time.

Ross Garnaut’s climate change update published in March 2011 pointed out that electricity prices had risen by 32 per cent in real terms between 2007 and 2010 ”well ahead of the general increase in prices and faster than growth in the average wage”.

Household electricity prices have been rising faster than those in other advanced economies since 2007. Most surveys and commentaries have identified cost of living pressures as one of the main factors leading to the collapse in Labor support in Queensland.

But few commentators have sensibly analysed the reasons for rising living costs and some have mistakenly dismissed the clear link to federal government policy. Many Liberal commentators have wrongly tried to blame rising living costs on taxes which have not yet been implemented.

Garnaut identified the cost of upgrading the electricity network as the ”single largest cause of price rises” accounting for about 68 per cent.

His report recognised especially the low voltage distribution network which was requiring enormous expansion in order to service a rapidly increasing number of consumers. Thus Garnaut established that population growth was a major factor driving up electricity prices. He predicted that these costs would continue to rise, presumably because governments continue to pursue polices of high population growth.

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