16 December 2010
The Federal Government has today released a Sustainable Population Strategy Issues Paper for public comment. Submissions close on 1 March 2011.
The paper distils the major issues identified in reports prepared by the three independent Sustainable Population Strategy Advisory Panels established by the Minister in July. The reports focus on demographic change and liveability, productivity and prosperity and sustainable development.
The paper acknowledges that a strategy that enables growth in areas rather than nominating or prescribing new growth areas will be most effective. It says that this can be achieved by ensuring that growth areas are adequately served by economic and social infrastructure, and that environmental assets are protected and costs managed.
The paper says that it is only when population growth exceeds our capacity to absorb that growth, whether evidenced by economic, environmental, or social stress (for example, in gaps in our ability to provide infrastructure or services), that growth compromises the sustainability of Australia.
In response to the threat to our biodiversity from the continued growth of our urban
settlements, the paper highlights the potential for infill development. The paper talks approvingly of:
- “clever urban planning”;
- adopting greater infill while protecting urban green space; and
- improved regional planning across all levels of government.