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Melbourne bursts its seams as Australia's population hits 25m - aerial photos

The Victorian branch of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) expresses deep concern that Australia will reach 25 million people this week. In anticipation of this milestone, SPA literally took to the sky on the issue by flying a small plane over Melbourne to see first hand whether bigger means better.

In an ex-military Cessna Birddog ideal for photography, SPA member Dr. Graeme Dennerstein and professional photographer Tanya Fry flew over Melbourne during a morning week-day rush hour to investigate the magnitude of traffic congestion, urban sprawl and high-rise development which are progressively impacting the people of Melbourne as the city reaches a population of 5 million this year.

Photographer Tanya Fry said of her experience:

“We flew over Melbourne city all the way to Kerang. Camera in hand I thought I knew what I was about to see. The sights I saw from the tiny plane both shocked and saddened me. I expected a long urban sprawl and traffic jams of course but nothing like the scale I saw. The urban sprawl went on and on as far as the eye could see. Every freeway was at a standstill.”

“ When we finally did reach the outer parts it was the treeless paddocks all the way to Kerang that was so surprising. Where have all the trees gone? What is wrong with us humans.”

“From up in the air high above you see what we are doing to this great land of ours. If only there was more respect and more consciousness about how much we are thoughtlessly destroying.”


SPA Victorian/Tasmanian Branch president, Michael Bayliss, said: “It is impossible to imagine what Melbourne will look like from the air if the forecasts are true, if the city’s population reaches 8 million in 35 years time by 2050.”

“Our country, our capital cities and our regional centres are growing much faster than expected and this can’t go on indefinitely. Already our infrastructure is struggling to keep pace as we continue to build new suburbs over our precious food bowl, green space and wildlife habitats. We are leaving a poor legacy for future generations. Australia does not yet have a population policy and this has now become a primary concern for most Australians. It is time that our political leaders take notice and take action.”

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) describes itself as an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population. It expects to launch several new projects this year in order to encourage more public discussion around the impacts of population growth. It will be releasing a web series ‘Tough Crowd’ where Rod Quantock will interview other comedians and entertainers on the challenges of discussing population in wider society. It has also released a ‘PopCulture’ webpage and a series of videos to highlight the impacts of population growth on job security, traffic congestion and housing affordability.