Congratulations to Jenny Goldie for publication of the following Op-Ed on the News.com website in Australia. Jenny points out that, despite the vigorous public debate in Australia about the merits of slowing down and stopping population growth as soon as possible, the actual numerical reality for the land down under is that they are headed back towards rapid growth.
We seem to be hurtling down the path towards an out-sized Australia
In June 2010, Prime Minister Julia Gillard famously said: “Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population.”
She was distancing herself from her predecessor Kevin Rudd, who had famously said on ABC TV’s 7.30 Report that he believed in a “Big Australia”, of 36 million by 2050.
Ms Gillard then indicated she would be putting the brakes on immigration. “We need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia.”
Bravo Julia, we said at the time.
Figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) tor the year ending March 2012, however, suggest that we are indeed hurtling down the track to a Big Australia.
The overall population growth rate of 1.5 per cent is up from 1.4 per cent. The increase is largely due to a rise in net overseas migration, 197,200 people -18 per cent higher than that for March 2011.
So much for putting the brakes on immigration.
Australia’s population increased by 331,200 people in one year to reach 22.6 million people in March – the 23 million milestone will be reached later this year. This was the figure that the Academy of Science agreed in 1994 was a safe upper limit for Australia’s population. Given we are now growing by a million people every three years, we will only be enjoying that ‘safe upper limit’ until 2015.
But we have probably exceeded it already. The State of Environment report that was tabled in the Australian Parliament last December, painted a bleak picture and cited population growth as a driver of environmental decline.
To read the full essay, please click here: http://www.news.com.au/news/we-seem-to-be-hurtling-down-the-path-towards-an-out-sized-australia/story-fnepjsb4-1226483691804#ixzz27ntkFqmt
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