Australia’s growth can’t go on like this

April 25, 2013 • Daily Email Recap

Australia’s growth can’t go on like this


A quick glance at the Bureau of Statistics population clock tells us we’ll reach a high point of 23 million as early as next week, well ahead of any previous prediction. This will bring population into sharp focus before the 2013 federal election.

Australia’s population is growing by more than 1 million people every three years. That’s the size of Adelaide.

Our growth rate now stands at an extraordinary 1.7 per cent a year. By comparison, the world average is 1.1 per cent, with most developed nations well below this average.

In June 2010, Julia Gillard promised she would not pursue Kevin Rudd’s ”big Australia” population target of 36 million by 2050. Why? Rudd’s unpopular stand became a flashpoint on talkback radio and reflected poorly for Labor in the polls. Gillard sensed this and used her first major announcement as Prime Minister to reassure disenchanted voters she did not believe in a big Australia. She unequivocally stated ”Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population.”

But what has happened since?

Baby bonuses remain on offer and the permanent immigration program has been increased – yes, increased. We are now on target for not 36 million but 40 million by 2050. Under Gillard, the permanent immigration program stands at more than 200,000 a year – the highest level in Australian history. On top of this we have more than 50,000 New Zealanders now freely crossing the ditch annually, without proper immigration management such as skills testing. To add to the population explosion, a recent Gillard government decision grants foreign students automatic working rights for up to four years, irrespective of their field.

In short, Gillard has spectacularly broken her first promise as PM. She even recently admitted that Australia would continue to run ”a sizeable immigration program”.

Regardless of whether you support a big Australia or a stable Australia, the 23 million mark gives us all a chance to reflect on whether population growth remains in our best interests. Has ”populate or perish” become ”populate and perish”?

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Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit