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The critical (Asutralian) election issue: population

August 19, 2013 • News

The critical election issue: population
See: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15336

With one or two notable exceptions, our political parties are not acknowledging that population lies at the heart of most issues.

In 2012, Australia’s population growth rate was 1.8 per cent. It meant an extra 394,200 people a year, nearly 400,000 people. Despite lower than replacement fertility rates since 1976, natural increase was still going up and had reached 158,300, or 40 per cent of total growth. Making up the remainder, net overseas migration had also risen, to 235,900 people.

Whether natural increase or immigration makes up the bulk of the growth is not really relevant; it is the size of the growth itself. Our annual increase is even greater than the population of the Australian Capital Territory of 379,600. It’s twice the size of the city of Geelong. These new people, be they immigrants or babies born here, must be fed, housed, schooled, and had their health and recreational needs met.

The infrastructure for supplying these basic needs ideally comes before people arrive, not afterwards. You can’t wait for the new arrivals to pay taxes before you build the road or the school or the hospital or the energy or water supply. And infrastructure costs, as any state or local government will tell you. And not only does government need to pay for new infrastructure; it must repair and upgrade existing infrastructure. If infrastructure fails to keep pace with population growth, then ordinary people feel it in terms of congestion, crowding, longer waiting times and unaffordable housing.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15336



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