People Power works

13 May 2011

The Federal Government will be releasing its new promised Sustainable Population Strategy today. And it seems that the Urban Taskforces recent People Power report has had some impact.


We have yet to see the final policy, but we understand the government has avoided imposing a top-down federal cap on population numbers either nationally or in any city or region. No limits on immigration have been prescribed. Our People Power report warned of the serious consequences of declaring any of our major cities full, drawing on the data of Sydneys experience over the last decade and fresh economic modelling by MacroPlan.


The government is now saying that decisions about growth should be made on a community-by-community basis. This essentially means local population capacity will be decided by state and local governments through strategic land use planning.


The report emphasises the need for more infrastructure to help those living on the outer-suburban fringes to travel to their work more easily, or alternatively a push to bring the jobs closer to where they live.


The strategy itself acknowledges that population growth can be a positive: “In many cases population changes clearly benefit Australia,” it says. “Increases in the size and mobility of our skilled, working-age population (whether natural increase or through migration) enable us to take advantage of significant economic opportunities, while greater cultural diversity increases the vibrancy of Australian society and helps build our relationships with other nations. These changes need to be well managed to avoid possible impacts on the quality of life in our communities, our economic prosperity and on our natural environment.”


The sustainable population strategy, (formally known as Sustainable Australia, Sustainable Communities) will be available on a government website here later today.