Population policy

24 September 2010

Population policy has been a central issue in the recent election campaign.

If Labor itakes office, they have promised to finalise a population policy by April 2011, which will focus on distributing population growth. They intend to release an issues paper before the end of the year and invite public submissions.

If the Liberal/National parties take office, the Productivity Commission will be re-named the Productivity and Sustainability Commission and they will conduct an inquiry to determine the best population number for Australia as a whole. The Coalition will complete a policy “white paper” on immigration by May 2011. The paper “will reframe the structure and composition of Australia’s immigration programme to address the policy challenges of sustainable population growth”. They expect to finalise a discussion paper by the end of 2010. This process will also inform the composition of the 2011-12 migration program.

During the campaign period both Labor and the Coalition heavily campaigned on population issues.
The Coalition made it clear that it is opposed a population of 42 million (see their flyer here) by 2050 and accused Labor of supporting such a goal.

Labor has decried the idea of “arbitrary targets of 40 million people” (see their flyer here).

Irrespective of who takes office in the next week, it seems that a discussion paper on population policy will be released by government before the year is out. The Urban Taskforce will be engaged in this process.