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One more Australian every 2 minutes: Rapid population growth a disgrace, says expert


Australia's population growth out of control

World leading reproduction expert Professor Roger Short, of the University of Melbourne, says Australia’s population growth is out of control, increasing the rate of global warming.

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian population is increasing by one person nearly every two minutes.

“Australia is a disgrace. We have one of the highest rates of population growth of any developed country. What are we going to do about it?” he says.

Nature too stressed already without us adding to stress even faster

According to a paper submitted on to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Nature is already under stress from human activities. The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005 concluded that two-thirds of ecosystems on which humans depend are currently being degraded or used unsustainably.”

The report recommends the Copenhagen conference acknowledges the importance of population as a key driver of climate change and places the issue high on the agenda.

The latest population projections from the United Nations, reveal that the world’s population at 1 July 2009 will be 6.8 billion and by 2050 will be 9.1 billion.

Governments need to instigate population control policies sooner rather than later

Professor Short spoked at the University of Melbourne Festival of Ideas on 16 June. He said that the planet is already stretched for resources and space and governments need to instigate population control policies sooner rather than later.

Professor Rob Moodie

Fellow presenter Professor Rob Moodie, says Australians need to start their own internal carbon trading scheme by “getting out of the car and off the couch at every opportunity”.

Professor Moodie, who is Chair, National Preventative Health Taskforce and Professor of Global Health Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne, says we have the irony of burning too much fossil fuel, but not burning enough of our own personal fuel.

“Addressing climate change will require cultural shifts in the way we treat our planet, the way we treat each other, the way we treat ourselves, and the way we build our cities and towns,” he says.

“We have been lulled into a false sense of sedentariness. One hundred years ago we had to stop our work every so often to rest. Now, because sitting still for long periods increases our risks of heart disease we actually have to get up every few hours and move.”

Need for different land-use planning focus - 'Sub'-suburban

He says the design of cities and towns must go sub-suburban by re-creating local villages – “metropolettes” - where we can get to shopping, food, recreation, entertainment and schooling on foot.

Source: 'News' from the University of Melbourne, Festival of Ideas website Contact: Rebecca Scott, University of Melbourne, Mobile: 0417 164 791

Other speakers included Sana Nakata (University of Melbourne PhD candidate) and Associate Professor Catherine Bennett (Chair) from the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne.

Comments

According to the Productivity Commission, implications of population ageing in Australia means that said economic growth would slow during the next 40 years and consequently there would be deep deficits in government budgets for many years. Maybe we should encourage older people to voluntary lay down their lives for the benefit of the economy!

Further restricting access to entitlements such as the age pension and increasing the official pension age to 70 or 75 would lead to a further reduction in the living standards of pensioners who are already victims of our country's greed. Chronological age cannot be matched to health or needs.

Our population is socially engineered to be constantly increasing, fed by our excessive immigration that is stressing infrastructure and raising the costs of natural resources as they become less available. We can never keep a population young, and the numbers of older people will continually rise. We can't keep replacing older people without blowing out our numbers!

Better than the squeeze on vulnerable older people would be to not keep accommodating our population growth and the current spending on new arrivals.

Click to see the article in the Australian

We don't live in an economy, we live in a society of people of all age groups and globalisation means that our older and less productive senior citizens are being treated as a liability to "economic growth" rather than as humans who should be treated with dignity and respect.

Australian and state governments[1] are creating major political and budgetary problems by flooding the country with people when they are already unable to provide adequate water, transport, employment, land or housing. The vastly over-sold problem of funding an aging population has nothing on this kamikazi economic policy. Public private partnerships, corporatisation and privatisation are all failing hopelessly to attract private funding for (deeply unpopular) projects like salinisation, toll-ways, housing and socially and other financially costly major infrastructure. The industries and companies involved in such projects expect governments, State and Private, to fund their projects by raising taxes and increasing public debt. And Australia is already deeply in debt. Even though governments are increasing charges for most power and resources, private businesses based on the inflation of resources are still not viable and the world is in financial crisis.

For several years now NO government can claim a mandate to increase the population and charges and taxes to 'manage' water and power, because the electorate has never been asked to choose this as an option. Governments at federal and state level have misled Australians about the origin of our population problem by pretending it was something they were somehow obliged to 'manage', as if they had no responsibility in it, when in actuality, Federal and State governments have been running advertisements and internet sites encouraging people to migrate here in larger and larger numbers. At the same time there have been concerted efforts to encourage women to have more children here, by misleading women about economic prospects.

The commercial press and the ABC have consistently failed to inform the public of the government's role and the opposition's collusion in the democratically anathema business-case to overpopulate Australia. Although the media have begun to publish articles about how out of control the costs of population growth have become, they still fail to show that Australia has been willfully overpopulated to the extent that vital resources, especially water, are now dangerously overstressed.

All state and federal governments had a duty to advise the electorate of their activities in raising immigration numbers and that this would cause rises in all basic costs. All oppositions also had a duty to allow the public a choice to not go down the route of overpopulation, yet they have failed to do this and continue to fail to do this. All governments should have made this matter a voting issue at elections by using public money to give proper information where the commercial media did not.

The electorate is entitled to withhold taxes on the grounds that it has not had representation on these issues. The PAYE tax system makes it impossible for most wage-earners to withhold taxes, unless their employers do this for them. Many employers must be sick and tired of the increasing charges for rent, water and power, which raise their costs and lower their margins. Withholding PAYE tax would be a democratic option to bring the government to its senses.

The PAYE tax system was brought in around the time of the second world war. Unions and employers could attempt to cooperate with Australian citizens in withholding the PAYE tax at the request of salary earners, by organising resistance and legal strategy. Ratepayer groups could cooperate to assist residents to organise together to withhold their rates from councils which, by failing to limit building permissions, undemocratically commit residents to subsidising the costs of infrastructure expansion to accomodate unwanted and avoidable population increase.

[1] Yes, State governments are deeply involved in the people-importing business. It is not just the Commonwealth that has power and responsibility in this.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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