Australia will benefit from population growth

27 June 2010

Federal government population projections already assume a sharp cut in Australias historical rate of population growth and more reductions would harm the economy, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel said Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 1.4 per cent over the last 40 years.


The Federal governments projection of 35.9 million people in 2050 already assumes a 14 per cent cut in our historical rate of population growth to just 1.2 per cent a year,” Mr Gadiel said.


If the government were to try and limit Australias population to less than 30 million by 2050, the average annual growth rate would plummet to just 0.7 per cent half its historical level.


It would mean the economy would be 15 per cent smaller than it would otherwise have been.


Any reduction to our nations rate of population growth puts at risk the very things that have made Australia what it is today.


Our population will grow because Australian women, on average, give birth to 1.9 children each.


It will grow because people aged 60 in 2050 are projected to live an average of 5-6 years longer than those aged 60 in 2010.


It will also grow because Australia attracts talented and skilled workers from all over the globe.


These are all fundamentally good things.


Mr Gadiel said increased population plays a key role in funding improvements to infrastructure.


More people mean a larger tax base for every level of government more populous cities are better able to fund high quality efficient public transport services, he said.


Well never see major new expansions in public transport infrastructure if our capital cities arent able to grow. Mr Gadiel said capping Australias population was unlikely to avoid surges in population in those capital cities that do enjoy favourable economic conditions.


Australians cant be moved around like pieces on a chess board, he said.


As our population ages, without a strong immigration program, we can expect significant labour shortages in key parts of our economy, including major capital cities.


Businesses in these cities will have to try and attract people from other parts of Australia.


Government-imposed caps on population are unlikely to kerb stresses on major cities and are instead likely to further drain rural and regional areas of people.


Mr Gadiel said the growth of Australian society is inevitable and essential to our nations future.


A restrictive population target would aggravate the problems associated with an ageing population, such as the greater demands for publicly funded social services, he said.


Immigrants help deal with the challenges of an ageing population because they are, on average, younger than the population already here.


Mr Gadiel said that the Urban Taskforces Going Nowhere report, released in April, shows what happened under the ‘Sydney-is-full’ policies pursued in the late 1990s.


Victorias population growth has been double that of NSW, and so has its economic growth, he said.


The last thing we all need is an ‘Australia-is-full’ policy.”


Mr Gadiel said that he hoped the Federal government would address these issues when formulating its new population policy due for release later this year.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.



Download PDF Version