New Population Minister should resist pressure to cap Australias numbers

04 April 2010

The Urban Taskforce has today welcomed the appointment of Tony Burke as Australias first Population Minister, but warned that campaigners for artificial caps on Australias population would try to pressure the new Minister to sign up to their agenda.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that the plan for a new Population Strategy would draw out a range of anti-growth political forces.


Any effort by the Australian government try to ˜lock in immigration or population numbers more than a few years in advance is unlikely to be successful.


Theres nothing wrong with good planning, but we also have to consider the difficulties governments already have in planning for just five years ahead.


The Federal government yesterday said that it will now consider the likely trajectory of population growth and the associated challenges and opportunities.


The government said that the Population Strategy will consider the social and economic infrastructure Australia will need to support a growing population, including the roads, housing and service delivery network … and the strategy will also seek to address the challenges associated with population growth, including the impact on the environment, water, and urban congestion.


Mr Gadiel said that while few people could disagree with the principles set out by the Federal Government yesterday, some will demand that the Population Strategy impose arbitrary limits.


I hope the government doesnt succumb to pressure and try to limit population growth.


Current Treasury forecasts say the population will rise from 22 million to 36 million by the middle of the century.


This actually represents a decline in the current level of population growth – from 2.1 per cent in 2008-09 to 0.9 per cent in 2049-50, Mr Gadiel said.


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


A low or declining population would aggravate the problems associated with an aging population, such as the greater demands for publicly funded social services.


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


In any event, key components of population growth are the birth of children and Australians living longer.


Who seriously wants to stop either of these things from happening?


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


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy.



Download PDF Version