Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) considers Australia’s population growth rate in 2022 too high and called on the federal government to put a brake on immigration. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the latest population figures today showing Australia’s population grew by nearly half a million (496,800 or 1.9%) in the year ending 31 December 2022.
Sustainable Population Australia
The Australia-India Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement reconfirms that Australian Prime Minister Albanese stands for an ‘Excessively Big Australia’, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). Voters are coming off third best.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has questioned the claim by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) that ‘two thirds of Australians believe that properly planned and well managed migration is good for Australia’. BCA has asked a loaded question, to get the answer they wanted. Their result is directly contradicted by the more reliable Australia Population Research Institute survey. Here, 70% want net migration at somewhat or much lower levels than the pre-COVID 240,000.
The Australian people, and most journalists, are being gaslighted by the Treasury budget papers’ superficial analysis of Australia’s immigration and population growth. That this is being let go to the keeper by virtually all media commentary is extraordinary, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
Response to new Centre for Population report: Australia must stabilise its population below 30 million to stop the growing impacts on climate and biodiversity, as well as preserve quality of life, according to the environment organisation Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). SPA president, Ms Jenny Goldie, was commenting on the latest report from the ‘Centre for Population’, the Treasury office which advises the federal government on population. Their report is due to be released Friday 6 January.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has welcomed the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that show population growth has fallen to near zero (0.1 per cent) despite an apparent baby boom. Yesterday, the ABS released figures for the year ending March 31. Australia’s population grew by 35,700 or 0.14 per cent. Annual natural increase was 131,000 and net overseas migration (NOM) was -95,300. This news came not long after NSW Health announced more than 19,000 babies were born in NSW hospitals from April to June this year, a nine per cent increase on the same period last year.
Victoria is also experiencing a baby boom with the maternity system stretched to “breaking point”, according to the Victorian health minister, Martin Foley.
“News that our overall population growth has dropped to almost zero is very welcome,” the president of SPA Ms Jenny Goldie says. “In the initial period of border closures, the large number of people leaving the country compared to those entering meant NOM was negative, though not quite enough to offset natural increase of 131,000. In the current year, growth will be higher since most of those that would leave Australia have done so already.
“Now is the perfect time to dispense with the Big Australia goal of perpetual population growth promoted by big business. Instead let’s aim for a stable and sustainable population. These new figures prove that it can be done.
“The annual growth figures from pre-Covid years, which sometimes exceeded 400,000, were simply not sustainable in environmental, social or economic terms.
“Environmentally, population growth causes loss of natural habitat through urban expansion and water diversion, and increases pollution, not least carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
“Socially, infrastructure never kept pace with the needs of a rapidly expanding population, and led to undue crowding in schools, congestion and longer hospital waiting times.
“Economically, workers suffered wage stagnation and capital was diverted from wealth- producing enterprises to speculating on rising land values, creating Australia’s housing unaffordability crisis.
“This is the time when we must review honestly the costs and benefits of the non-humanitarian parts of our migration program. We should never return to the days of immigration-fuelled high population growth,” says Ms Goldie.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) believes there is nothing to fear from the downward projection of population size in the Inter-Generational Report (IGR) from 40 million to 38.8 million by 2061. National President Jenny Goldie says what is to be feared are the environmental, social and economic cost of adding another 13 million people to the population.
“The IGR fails to take into account the costs of infrastructure which amounts to at least $100,000 in public money for each new person, be they immigrant or born here,” says Ms Goldie.
“The IGR fails to take into account the environmental costs of urban encroachment on natural bushland, threatening iconic species such as the koala, and adding to carbon emissions,” she says. “It fails to address the social costs of crowding, housing unaffordability and longer waiting times that generally accompany population growth.
“Having more people generally means a bigger GDP but not necessarily GDP per capita, which is a better measure of living standards. In fact, GDP is well past its use-by date and, before the end of the IGR time frame, will have ceased to be used. In looking so far into the future, we should be using a range of the newer measures of living standards and well-being.”
Ms Goldie says neither should we fear an ageing population.
“The projection that there will only be 2.7 workers per person aged over 65 in 40 years’ time will probably be wrong,” says Ms Goldie. “In fact, as the working age population shrinks and the labour market tightens, fewer people will be unemployed, and employers will improve wages and conditions to attract job-seekers.
“This will have the effect of drawing more people into the workforce who were not working, or keeping people in work who would otherwise have retired. In other words, the participation rate will improve.”
Ms Goldie says rising health expenditure, while a problem in narrow fiscal terms, is actually a good thing, by keeping people happier and healthier for longer, and by reducing human suffering.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) are partnering with filmmaker Maxine Trump on the Australian premiere of her award winning film To Kid or Not to Kid in Melbourne and Perth on the 26 and 27 February. The documentary is being screened as part of SPA’s ‘Stop at Two’ campaign. This will be the first time the film will be screened in theatres before being released on Amazon Prime on February 27th.
SPA National President, Sandra Kanck, says the aim of the campaign is to normalise the choice of having small or childfree families.
“The choice whether or not to have children is one of the biggest decisions any individual or couple will make in their lifetime,” says Ms Kanck.
“This decision is often swayed by family and social factors that have traditionally encouraged larger families. It is clear, however, that overpopulation is playing a very significant role in humans’ unsustainable impact on the planet, including climate change and these matters are now bearing on the decisions made by many to have smaller families or no family at all.
“As an environmental NGO, we advocate for smaller families as one solution towards reducing pressures on the Earth and support those who go down that path,” says Ms Kanck.
“We applaud director Maxine Trump for turning the camera onto her personal life to bravely dive into the taboo and stigmatised topic of child-free living and to explore the reasons behind this choice,” she says.
“As Director Trump has herself declared ‘’’Why can’t we talk about not having kids?’ We think it’s about time we did.”
Ms Kanck also advised that this month will see the launch of Childfree Magazine, founded by Brisbane based Tanya Williams, author of A Childfree Happily Ever After.
“The launch of this new magazine is another timely contribution towards a less judgemental world where it’s OK not to have children,” says Ms Kanck.
“To Kid or Not to Kid” will be screened in Melbourne on February 26, 08:30 pm at Cinema Nova, bookings here. It will be screened in Perth on February 27, 06:45pm at Bassendean Community Centre in cooperation with Transition Town Guilford, more information here. The Melbourne screening will also include the short film ‘Talking Heads: Choosing to Have Children….or Not’ made in house by SPA.
For more information, please contact Michael Bayliss, SPA communications Manager, at [email protected]
Tanya Williams, Chief Change maker at Childfree Magazine>/em>, can be contacted at the website.
'It's not about the source, it's about the numbers, stupid'
Professor Carr was the longest serving Premiere of NSW from 1995 to 2005. He also served as Federal minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 - 2013.
Bob Carr has been a long time advocate for a sustainable population. In 2000, as Premier of NSW, he stated that Sydney was full, bringing the issue of population into the headlines at a time when domestic population policy was rarely discussed.
While serving as foreign minister, Carr also advocated for a global population policy, including foreign aid for family planning and empowerment of women. During this time, he was approached by SPA to be Patron, a post to which he accepted.
Since leaving politics, The Honourable Bob Carr is Industry Professor (Business and Climate Change) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
In this video, Bob discusses his role in advocating for a sustainable population when in politics, public opinion on the issue, and why organizations such as SPA are crucial to advocate for this critical issue.
"Media resistance has always been one of the big problems," says Sandra Kanck, who came from a family where there were seven children and she learned early that one wage did not go as far for seven as it might for fewer. From 1994-2009 Sandra served as an Australian Democrats’ Member of the upper house of the South Australian Parliament. Her ‘maiden’ speech in parliament was – predictably for those who know her – about population. For more than nine years Sandra Kanck has been either President or Vice-President of SPA, mostly the former, including reluctantly juggling the role of Acting Treasurer for three months during one of her stints as President.
Australia has no coherent population plan other than to inundate the major cities with people. Instead of a well though-out population policy, the strategy has been to stoke overall economic growth to support big business. This suits the property industry and retailers but GDP per capita growth is stagnating while ordinary Australians are worse off.
Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott have both recently called out for a reduction of immigration to Australia. To quote Mr Abbott: "At the moment we’ve got stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, clogged infrastructure and there is no doubt the rate of immigration impacts on all of these things.”
We support Mr Abbott's comments but it's unfortunate he didn't consider this while he was Prime Minister. Australia is suffering cumulative economic and environmental damage from unconstrained growth.
It is incorrect of Peter Dutton to suggest that “in the Labor years the number peaked at about 305,900 in one year which was an enormous number, we’ve got that number down now below 190,000 ”
While it is true that net overseas migration (NOM) – which includes both permanent and temporary long-term residents – peaked under Labor (at 315,700), it was still running at 245,500 as at the year to June 2017.
Most importantly, Peter Dutton failed to mention that Australia’s permanent migrant intake has never been higher than under this Coalition Government, set at nearly 210,000 a year currently.
Currently 60% of Australia’s growth is skilled migration whereas the humanitarian intake is less than 10%.
Foreign aid has also been significantly cut whilst the coalition has been in power. This is particularly true for overseas family planning services and the access to education that is required to empower women to choose the size of their families.
Paul Hawken, who was the keynote speaker at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival, stated that family planning and access to education are together the most significant global responses to addressing climate change.
SPA calls for a fundamental change to population policy that addresses population issues both nationally and globally. This should involve reducing total migration to around 70 000 per annum (without any cuts to our refugee program) while also implementing a generous proactive humanitarian aid program that will address global overpopulation and displacement issues without coercion.
This will help to lead us towards stabilising populations both at home and abroad in the most sustainable and equitable way possible.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is 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.
Public Seminar with two speakers: Jack Roach, immediate past president of Boroondara Residents Action Group and Adrian Whitehead. Adrian Whitehead will speak on "Population Perspectives, from global to local." Public Welcome. Free Parking near venue. Financial members may nominate for any committee positions. See details inside re how to nominate.
Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian and Tasmanian branch)
Annual General Meeting
Saturday November 25th 2017 at 2.00pm
Hawthorn Library meeting rooms 3-4, 584 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
Nominations for Committee Positions: Financial members of SPA may nominate for any committee positions. Please email before 17thth November to [email protected] or write to:
Returning Officer, Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch,
P.O.BOX 556 Hawthorn 3122
Following the formal proceedings, please stay for our public seminar
Population perspectives: from global to local
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Presenters: Adrian Whitehead, Environmental campaigner &
Jack Roach: Immediate Past President Boroondara Residents’ Action Group
Free parking is available near the venue.
You are invited to stay for afternoon tea following the seminar
"As Sustainable Population Australia is an environmentally focused organization, we advocate policies that encourage human activity that is sustainable within finite natural limits and question the ongoing growth paradigm. Growth in the capital cities is reaching limits, whilst coastline development impacts fragile ecosystems. However, inland Australia is more subject to temperature extremes, water shortages and a lack of locational comparative advantage to sustain livelihoods. Within the context of an increasing climate emergency and peak fossil fuel energy, investment will be better spent on resilient communities and foreign aid rather than growth for growth's sake."
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities
SPAVicTas Submission to the Inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which advocates to establish an ecologically sustainable human population. It works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population.
SPA advocates for a generous humanitarian program for refugees whilst addressing the causes of displacement abroad. SPA questions policies that encourage high population growth rates, particularly when motivated by narrow economic goals (e.g. we advocate for lower non-humanitarian immigration). We work with international colleagues to promote rights-based voluntary family planning programs in high fertility countries, and to elevate the rights of women and girls everywhere.
Our main response to the inquiry is for an amendment to Australia’s population policy. Currently, Australia has one of the highest population growth rate in the OECD. According to Australian demographic statistics, Australia grew by 1.6% pa. to the end of 2016, or by 373 000 people:
(1). This is high by world standards. Some states are growing disproportionately faster, e.g. Victoria grows at 2.4%. Most of this growth occurs in the capital cities which absorb around 80% of total growth. Melbourne expands by 92 000 thousand per annum and is Australia’s fastest growing city
(2). This rapid population growth contributes significantly to the difficulty in town planning systems to maintain or improve the functionality of our capital cities.
However, this population growth is not inevitable. Australia could maintain a broadly stable population and maintain humanitarian obligations without any changes to the current birth rate or the humanitarian program. Non-humanitarian (including skilled) migration is the largest driving force behind Australia’s growing population, which is motivated by economic ideology. SPA argues that it is difficult to meet town planning objectives with this rate of population growth, and that an amendment to population policies, in accordance with former MP Kelvin Thomson’s’ 14 point plan would assist in many of the town planning issues impacting our major cities (3).
As Sustainable Population Australia is an environmentally focused organization, we advocate policies that encourage human activity that is sustainable within finite natural limits and question the ongoing growth paradigm. Growth in the capital cities is reaching limits, whilst coastline development impacts fragile ecosystems. However, inland Australia is more subject to temperature extremes, water shortages and a lack of locational comparative advantage to sustain livelihoods. Within the context of an increasing climate emergency and peak fossil fuel energy, investment will be better spent on resilient communities and foreign aid rather than growth for growth's sake.
The submission shall now address the below criteria directly:
1) Sustainability transitions in existing cities2>
• Identifying how the trajectories of existing cities can be directed towards a more sustainable urban form that enhances urban liveability and quality of life and reduces energy, water, and resource consumption;
By virtue of our increasing infrastructure deficit and indicators that our capital cities are struggling to keep up with growth (4), we are becoming increasingly limited in our ability to reduce our per-capita footprint. This is because suburban sprawl requires longer commutes, increased biodiversity loss, loss of agricultural land and all round higher carbon living. Higher density increases the urban heat island effect, and is requiring increasingly costly and high-environmental-impact infrastructure, particularly for transport tunnels. This is where the dichotomy of population versus consumption starts to break down when discussing sustainability. The two are interconnected.
Melbourne and Sydney are both expected to double their population to over 8 million by 2050 by current trajectories. Therefore the impact of energy, water and resource consumption will also double unless drastic measures are implemented quickly to mitigate per capita consumption of these resources. Without amending our current population policy, this means reducing our per capita consumption of energy, water and resources by 50% in 35 years to maintain current levels of total consumption. Furthermore, there is no plan to stop at 8 million – following this path would lock in further subsequent growth. There is a limit to how far per person demand for water and energy can be diminished. Therefore, vast changes to the way we live, requiring sacrifices of amenity, will have little benefit for sustainability in the long run if population growth remains high.
The State of the Environment report in Victoria 2008 (5) refers to population growth and settlement patterns as contributors to degenerating environmental factors in the state. Academic Rachel Carey in Footprint from Melbourne (6) warns of the impacts of urban sprawl on Melbourne’s food bowl. Continued urban sprawl will reduce the city’s food bowl capacity significantly, from 40% currently to around 18% by 2050. The suburban sprawl model is increasingly viewed as an unsustainable way of living. In the documentary ‘The End Of Suburbia’, James Howard Kunstler refers to suburbia as the ‘greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world’ whereas Richard Heinberg states that ‘suburbs wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for cheap oil’.
The current town planning response to suburban sprawl is to (a) develop on brownfield sites and (b) increase density in the inner and middle suburbs. There is however a limit to which brownfield sites can address rapid population growth. To provide an example in Melbourne, the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project in Melbourne will take decades from inception to completion, yet it will only absorb 10 months worth of Melbourne’s population growth. Meanwhile, town planning academics such as Bob Birrell and Michael Buxton criticise the current high rise paradigm. Reasons include that most new apartments are being built to accommodate specific demographic groups (e.g. too small to house families) and that they are geared towards investors. A downside of this is that new apartments are rarely built to last. Melbourne City Council planner Leanne Hodyl released a 2015 report that said high-rise developments were being built at a rate four times higher than that of some of the world’s highest density cities, and the current Victoria state Planning Minister has admitted that many Melbourne apartments are too small, too dark and badly ventilated. The business model driving their construction is clearly not one intended to enhance urban liveability and quality of life. It is one which aims to force residents to accept the style of housing most profitable to developers.
Regardless of the method in which we continue to grow cities, the costs on infrastructure must be considered. A higher population growth rate means a greater proportion of total economic activity has to be dedicated to expanding infrastructure. The public cost (across all levels of government) per extra person for Gross Fixed Capital Formation (largely infrastructure) is at least $100 000 with some estimates much higher. Dr Jane O’Sullivan has explored the correlation of infrastructure costs and population growth in depth:
“These analyses show that acquiring the durable assets to support population growth has historically cost around 6.5-7% of GDP per one percent population growth rate. Thus, if Australia’s growth is 1.5% p.a., around 11-12% of GDP is diverted to the task of acquiring infrastructure and other durable assets, merely to extend to the additional people the level of service already available to the existing population.” (6)
This long-term average cost has been compounded in the last decade by the much higher cost of retrofitting already built-up areas, and the dis-economies of scale of high rise construction. For example, the East west link tunnel was costed at $1 billion per kilometre, around twenty times higher than above-ground roads and rail.
In its 2013 report “An Ageing Australia: preparing for the future”, the Productivity Commission warned that, due to elevated population growth, total private and public investment requirements over the next 50 years are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century. They noted that failure to finance this infrastructure would reduce total factor productivity.
Infrastructure has a considerable financial cost but also an environmental impact as all infrastructure requires the use of scarce resources and energy to make and operate. We are not making our cities more environmentally resilient by concreting over them.
• Considering what regulation and barriers exist that the Commonwealth could influence, and opportunities to cut red tape; and
We advise that many of the issues listed above could be mitigated if the Commonwealth government modified its policy on economically driven population growth so that population growth occurs at a slower rate, and tapers off at an anticipatable level. This will make town planning outcomes such as urban form and environmental objectives much easier to manage. National tax reforms such as negative gearing and capital gains concessions, selling the right to develop rezoned land (to capture the windfall gain in property values from rezoning) and reforms to political donations, may assist in mitigating the lobbying power of property developers and private interests over state and local council town planning decisions.
We reject the claim that housing and infrastructure stress is merely a supply problem and attributable to “regulation, barriers and red tape”. It is mostly a demand “problem”, where demand has been deliberately elevated to the advantage of developers, against the interests of existing residents.
• Examining the national benefits of being a global 'best practice' leader in sustainable urban development.
This would enable our conurbations to be in the best position to adapt to a low carbon economy with the knock-on effect of having far reaching economic benefits. However, if population growth continues at the current rate, we will lose the small window of opportunity we currently have to adapt our conurbations to a low carbon way of living. We must preserve the food bowls around our cities and it is imperative that infrastructure and affordable housing is in sync with population growth. (The lack of public transport infrastructure delivery on the urban fringes for example is very disheartening.) Otherwise we will continue to see an acceleration of car dependent sprawl on the urban fringe as well as a poor standard of urban intensification in the inner and middle suburbs (which instead of helping to reduce sprawl is contributing to it due to the spatial inequality that is apparent when there is a severe lack of social housing in new developments). This will also have huge implications for incoming migrants who will be forced further into non-walkable communities on the urban fringe.
Population growth rate itself diminishes prospects for good urban design. It is impossible to design for perpetual growth. All designs have a carrying capacity, beyond which they become congested and inefficient. If our population growth were slowing toward a predictable stable population level, urban design could optimise the functionality and amenity for that population. A perpetually growing population makes all designs ephemeral fixes. Our major infrastructure must spend half its life inefficiently under-utilised and the other half inefficiently congested. Australians who visit Japan or continental Europe often remark on the quality and efficiency of infrastructure. This has been achieved because their populations have been near stable.
Some growth advocates such as Bernard Salt and Lucy Turnbull advocate modular cities, composed of multiple adjoining “20-minute communities” around their own business centre. This is a fantasy which no real city has achieved. Attempts generally resort to secondary centres remaining dormitories with long commutes. The same can largely be said of regionalisation. The only centres to achieve growth at or above the rate of growth of the capital city are those which have become, through improvement in transport and diminishing expectations of commuters, viable for commuting to the capital.
2) Growing new and transitioning existing sustainable regional cities and towns
• Promoting the development of regional centres, including promoting master planning of regional communities;
• Promoting private investment in regional centres and regional infrastructure;
• Promoting the competitive advantages of regional location for businesses;
• Examining ways urbanisation can be re-directed to achieve more balanced regional development; and
• Identifying the infrastructure requirements for reliable and affordable transport, clean energy, water and waste in a new settlement of reasonable size, located away from existing infrastructure.
According to the Productivity Commission (7), regional Australia is generally not attractive for skilled migrants to settle long term. However, there is sufficient intrastate movement from capital cities to regional Australia (particularly from younger urban families) to assist prosperity in regional areas, if there is indeed demand for growth in those areas. For example, According to recent market research, approximately 450,000 people are planning to move to regional Victoria from Melbourne in the next three years. Increasing Australia’ population through the skilled migration program is not therefore an effective method in increasing population in the regions if current settlement patterns persist.
In the past five years (up until August 2016) Victoria's population has grown by five hundred thousand. Twenty six thousand of this was in Victoria's three main regional cities (8). That translates to just fifteen weeks of Victoria's overall population growth in the years since 2011. The potential for increasing the population of even smaller towns (especially those that are not in commutable distance from Melbourne) is considerably less and in the long term you would only be looking at perhaps a few thousand here and there (which is negligible in face of our current rate of population growth).
Previous attempts to decentralise people and jobs from the cities to the regions in Australia have largely been unsuccessful, though politicians still like to cite this as something that we should do. Most of the growth in regional areas currently occur in the peri-urban areas of capital cities (e.g. Newcastle and Wollongong in NSW, Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria). Many of these town are becoming effectively dormitory suburbs for the capital cities, and people are still dependent on capital cities for work and services. There is a limit however to how large these urban centres can grow before they start to have infrastructure and urban sprawl problems of their own. For example, if most of Victoria's population increase of 100,000 a year were to be directed away from Melbourne, the question remains how large regional Victoria could grow before we need to return to growing Melbourne? (Large regional cities in Victoria such as Geelong are already starting to be impacted with urban sprawl issues of their own.) Within a couple of decades we would be back to where we are now.
In terms of establishing new, self-sufficient urban centres, it is very hard to create a critical mass of economic activity, if there isn't a natural "attractant", and if there is one, you don't need to intervene - a centre will create itself. The problem is not caused by a shortage of people in that location and can't be solved by adding more. It can be argued that we don't have a shortage of people willing to live in rural areas, we have an erosion of livelihoods that rural areas can support (and this has a lot to do with the increasing share of the value of rural products that is captured up-stream in the supply chain). We don't have a skills shortage, we have a situation where employers are not willing to train and pay people enough to do the job. We don't have a shortage of working-age people to build the workforce, we have a shortage of spending, due to too much of people's income being siphoned off to "capital" (housing costs, and profits or interest payments going to overseas investors, or going to Australian investors who reinvest it in ventures that don't employ Australians, like paying ever more for the same piece of land, or gaming the stock market). It is spending that creates demand for workers, and it is lack of demand, not lack of supply, that limits the workforce.
There have been proposals for new cities, including the CLARA smart city scheme, which would include about 8 new cities along the main transport routes between Melbourne and Sydney, housing around 250,000 people each. However, the investment cost seems formidable, which would require around $200b worth of infrastructure over the next 40 years. Even then, this would still only accommodate six years’ worth of population growth.
We note that these new cities would be within the catchment of the Murray River, whose water is already over-allocated. Water could only be provided by withdrawing it from irrigated agriculture, stripping livelihoods from the rural communities throughout the system. Far from revitalising regions, they would directly undermine small communities. The livelihoods within these cities could only be generated by ongoing government intervention, to locate activities there despite lack of natural advantage. Such subsidies can only withdraw more resource away from addressing the intensifying social issues of our capital cities.
Most Australians also prefer the relatively less extreme temperature variations of living near the coast, which is one reason why we are ultimately a nation of urban-conurbations rather than boundless plains. It is hard to conceive that much of inland Australia, with higher temperature extremes, a drier climate and less access to water would be attractive places to settle for many people. To force people to accept these options, in order to mitigate a purely self-inflicted problem of major city congestion, is in no way improving liveability.
For the above reasons, Sustainable Population Australia does not see regional development as a viable solution to solving population growth issues in our capital cities without amendments to national population growth policies.
The concept of regionalisation is used to give the impression that we can enjoy the supposed benefits of population growth while directing the disbenefits elsewhere. Neither the claimed benefits, nor the proposed regionalisation, have foundations in reality. In contrast, reducing Australia’s population growth is very easily achieved, by the Federal government reducing non-humanitarian immigration quotas, just as it was doubled 13 years ago by increasing them. Instead of discussing the multifaceted benefits of reducing population growth, false “solutions” are offered. These range from regionalisation to densifying middle suburbs, massive government spending (and debt) for infrastructure such as schools, public transport and public housing, building smaller homes, and putting tolls on a range of trunk roads in peak periods (9). These options might mitigate some of the loss of liveability that unmanaged population growth would impose, but deliver no improvement on previous conditions. They provide residents with “less for more”, with severely constrained lifestyles and higher costs of living, rather than “enhancing urban liveability and quality of life”.
In conclusion, there are no solutions to the stresses of population growth, without reducing the population growth itself. Individual projects may provide improvement in the short term, but will soon be overtaken by further growth. While good planning can reduce the erosion of living standards, only ending population growth will allow environmental outcomes and liveability to be improved in a sustained manner.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Population http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/mf/3101.0
2. The Conversation - Three charts on Australia’s population shift and the big city squeeze https://theconversation.com/three-charts-on-australias-population-shift-and-the-big-city-squeeze-75544
3. Kelvin Thomson’s 14 Point Plan For Population Reform http://dicksmithpopulation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Kelvin-Thomson-MPs-14-Point-Plan-November-2009.pdf
4. The Age. Melbourne now as clogged as Sydney, and the city's north-east has worst traffic http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-now-as-clogged-as-sydney-and-the-citys-northeast-has-worst-traffic-20170702-gx2zup.html
5. Comissioner for Environmental Sustainably Victoria: State Of The Environment Report 2008. http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/publications/state-environment-report-2008
6. O’Sullivan, J.N. 2012. The burden of durable asset acquisition in growing populations. Economic Affairs 32(1), 31-37. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0270.2011.02125.x/pdf ; O’Sullivan J.N. 2014. Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia. http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/135517/subdr156-infrastructure.pdf
7. Productivity Commission 2016 – Inquiry Report: Migrant Intake into Australia http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/migrant-intake/report/migrant-intake-report.pdf
8. Networked Rural Councils Program: Rural Migration Trends and Drivers 2012. http://www.ruralcouncilsvictoria.org.au/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-Rural-Migration-Trends-and-Drivers_NRCP-5-2_14-December-2012.pdf
9. Millar R. and Cuthbertson M. 2017-Crammed: Ten ideas for dealing with Melbourne’s population growth. The Age, 8 July 2017. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/crammed-ideas-for-dealing-with-melbournes-booming-population-growth-20170707-gx6rw1.html
SPA Branch President, Victoria and Tasmania
On behalf of Sustainable Population Australia
Right now the UK is politically divided on whether or not to leave the European Union and the mood in many quarters is ugly. It seems that there is a very strong chance that the forthcoming Brexit referendum could swing in favour of the Leave vote, something that seemed unimaginable a few years ago. The main reason for most people wanting to leave is because they are concerned with the UK’s rapid rate of population growth. This article is by Michael Bayliss (President of Sustainable Population Australia Victoria and Tasmania Branch) and Mark Allen (Population, Permaculture and Planning)
A proportion of the blame can be placed on those who have a narrow vision of what it is to be British in the 21st century and who are often misled by those parts of the media that take a more sensationalist approach.
However, the left also need to bear some of the responsibility because they have for far too long placed the topic of population in the politically incorrect basket. With net migration last year coming in at 300,000, people have a right to be concerned, especially when there is no end point to this rate of growth in sight. What is all the more concerning is that the refusal by many on the left to engage on this important issue has allowed the right to exploit this to their advantage by peddling all kinds of fear and untruths. Sadly it appears to be working.
So what lessons are there to be learned here in Australia? There is a parallel because we too are experiencing rapid population growth with net immigration in 2015 at 168 000, so the impact here is larger on a per capita basis.
While it may appear that this would be tempered somewhat by the sheer size of the Australian landmass, this population growth is centered mainly around the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane conurbations. Until there are jobs, infrastructure and the political will, our boundless plains will continue to be just that. Considering that these plains are mostly desert and rangeland, there is an argument that they are mostly not suitable for new urban settlement anyway, so the focus is very much on our narrow strip of green along the Eastern seaboard. To put this in perspective, the populations of Sydney and Melbourne are growing by 1600 and 1760 a week respectively and people are beginning to feel it.
Meanwhile the government (and just about everyone else) are currently doing a good job of keeping our high rate of immigration away from the public radar. Instead we keep reinforcing the association in the minds of many people of migration with refugees. As John Howard famously promoted this very misunderstanding when he said on the radio 2014:
“One of the reasons why it’s so important to maintain that policy is that the more people think our borders are being controlled, the more supportive they are in the long term of high levels of immigration...And one of the ways that you maintain public support for that is to communicate to the Australian people a capacity to control our borders and to decide who and what people and when come to this country.”
However, the wool cannot be pulled over our eyes forever as the negative consequences of population growth only keep intensifying. Eventually more and more people will join the dots and it is then that we face the threat of the fear- mongering far right taking a foothold.
Do we really have to wait until then? If we engage in sensible rational discourse now about what constitutes a sustainable rate of growth we can avoid all of this. This means that the left have to come to the table. If the issue continues to be ignored we could end up with a situation similar to what is going on in the United Kingdom and it will leave the topic in the hands of those who feed off fear and hate.
This issue is only going to get bigger as Australia's population continues to grow by a new Adelaide approximately every three years. People of compassion need to be the ones who set the tone for the conversations that will ultimately come. If the compassionate fail in this responsibility, they will create a void where people with bigoted views will take centre stage.
Australia is a multicultural country with a proud tradition of supporting refugees and this needs to be the central message on the left. We do not need to be an apologist for the rapid population growth that is being used to justify an economic ponzi scheme.
It is time to put left and right ideologies aside and focus thoughtfully on delivering the most equitable and compassionate outcomes for all people and the earth as a whole. How rapidly we grow our population and how we distribute that population should be part of that discussion.
The views in this article do not necessarily correspond with the views of Sustainable Population Australia
Saturday April 23 rd at 1.00pm to 4.00 pm. Venue: Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Rd. Hawthorn Vic 3122. Members and non-members are welcome to attend. Speakers are: Mark Allen, Founder, Population, Permaculture and Planning; Dr Katharine Betts, Population Sociologist, Swinburne University; Hon Kelvin Thomson MP, Environmentalist and high profile sustainable population advocate; Rod Quantock, Environmental activist, Much loved comedian. M.C. SPAVicTas President Michael Bayliss. Audience Q&A and discussion will follow (Free parking behind venue or at nearby Glenferrie Station).
All welcome to come and join in this free public afternoon seminar and discussion!
Mark Allen, Founder, Population, Permaculture and Planning
Dr Katharine Betts, Population Sociologist, Swinburne University
Hon Kelvin Thomson MP, Environmentalist and high profile sustainable population advocate
Rod Quantock, Environmental activist, Much loved comedian
M.C. SPAVicTas President Michael Bayliss.
Audience Q&A and discussion will follow
Attitudes and communication in population and the environment
Venue: Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Rd. Hawthorn Vic 3122
Members and non-members are welcome to attend (free parking behind venue or at nearby Glenferrie Station)
Further details: Jill Quirk jillq[AT]optusnet.com.au 0409742927
Mark O'Connor, co-author of Overloading Australia talks on population fallacies and the IPAT equation and touches on Greens politics at the Sustainable Living Festival in a Sustainable Population Australia event.
“So, increasing the population – fast population growth and poor planning – they’re like a vicious circle. When I worked as a planner, I’d go to VCAT and, quite often, development applications would be turned down by councils and the developer’s argument would be, ‘I know, ideally, this isn’t the best place to build this development, but you do know that Melbourne’s population is going to double by 2040-something and so, therefore, we’ve got to start building high-density in areas where we wouldn’t normally build it, because, you know, unless we’re just going to sprawl outwards forever…’. But both are going to happen, so we’ve got to understand that rapid population growth and developers who are making sure that they’re taking control of the planning system - they’re intertwined.” Mark Allen, former planner, of Population, Permaculture and Planning in a speech at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, 14 February 2016.
Mark Allen of Population Permaculture and Planning asks: Is it possible to accommodate a growing population without unacceptably high density living and urban sprawl? If so, what rate of population growth should we be looking at and what types of community should we be creating? This workshop discusses the merits of village style living in combination with permaculture principles and asks the question, where do we go from here?
Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12-12.30pm: Mark Allen of Population Permaculture and Planning asks: Is it possible to accommodate a growing population without unacceptably high density living and urban sprawl? If so, what rate of population growth should we be looking at and what types of community should we be creating? This workshop discusses the merits of village style living in combination with permaculture principles and asks the question, where do we go from here?
Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12.30-1pm: Mark O’Connor, co-author of Overloading Australia, will look at why environmentalism is almost meaningless when there is no plan to limit growth of population, why this issue is often ignored, and what a better form of environmentalism could and should do. What are humane and practical ways to limit Australia’s and the world’s population? (Sustainable Population Australia - Victorian Branch (SPA Victoria) organised this event.)
http://www.slf.org.au/event/population-permaculture/Sustainable Population Australia presents
#505050">Sunday 14 February 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
#505050">Sunday 14 February 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) today called on the Federal Government to undertake a complete review of immigration into Australia in light of claims of widespread rorting of the system.
This week, Dr Bob Birrell and Dr Ernest Healy from the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University issued a report called Immigration and Unemployment. In it, they claimed that the Department Of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) had not only issued record number of student visas to people who may not be considered genuine students, but had granted permanent residency to large numbers of skilled migrant applicants who did not have the appropriate skills being claimed.
According to the report, large numbers of cooks and accountants are being issued visas despite there being plenty of local candidates. It called for a halting the recruitment of migrant workers whose occupations are in surplus in Australia or for which there are available resident candidates.
National President of SPA, Ms Jenny Goldie, says both Labor and Liberal Governments have been so focussed on stopping “boat people” they have allowed rorting to continue in the much larger skilled program.
“Related to this is the 12-year high unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent in July,” says Ms Goldie. “Birrell and Healy have revealed that since 2011, migrant workers have taken 380,000 of the 400,000 net jobs growth. Young Australians, in particular, are missing out on jobs with unemployment for 15-24-year-olds hitting 14.1 per cent
The report revealed that visas were issued to 7000 foreign accountants in 2012-13 despite 7200 domestic students completing bachelor or higher degrees in accounting in 2012. The Department of Employment declared there was “a more than adequate supply of accountants”.
“You would think that the respective Ministers for Employment and Immigration would confer occasionally on what was in the best interests of the country, but apparently not,” says Ms Goldie.
Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch, Annual General Meeting, 2.00pm Saturday July 12 th 2014, Balwyn Library meeting room. Guest Speaker: Jenny Warfe, spokesperson for Blue Wedges: “Politics, Population and Ports.” NOMINATIONS WELCOME - ALL POSITIONS!
Massive developments to enlarge Victoria’s port capacity are proposed by the Victorian Government.
What are the monetary and environmental costs? Who and what population levels are these developments catering for?
Hear Jenny Warfe’s analysis of how past and future port expansion projects underpin population growth; the environmental and social impacts of the shipping industry, and the infrastructure it demands.
Venue details : 336 Whitehorse Rd
Balwyn VIC 3103, Australia
Melway ref. 46E8
Contact: Jill Quirk Ph. 95097429 [email protected]
#transcript" id="transcript">Taking back the talking stick
"The talking stick, also called a speaker's staff is an instrument of aboriginal democracy used by many tribes. It may be passed around a group or used only by leaders as a symbol of their authority and right to speak in public. In a tribal council circle, a talking stick is passed around from member to member allowing only the person holding the stick to speak. This enables all those present at a council meeting to be heard, especially those who may be shy; consensus can force the stick to move along to assure that the "long winded" don't dominate the discussion; and the person holding the stick may allow others to interject. " An open mike is the same kind of thing. This talk is about how elites have got control of the talking stick and how to get it back.
Speech for Must Melbourne keep growing? by Sheila Newman June 14, 2014
The question is does Melbourne have to keep growing? My response is that it is not a natural inbuilt requirement that populations constantly increase in size. Many developed and undeveloped countries and regions are not growing like Australia. Pacific islanders had stable populations for about 60,000 years. Although most industrialised countries ballooned with industrialization and access to cheap fossil fuel, many reset their population growth downwards after the game-changing 1973 oil shock. But countries that inherited the British land-tenure and political system – the United States, Australia, Canada – did not reset; they borrowed to continue population growth and expansion. Secondly, there is no economic imperative to keep population growing, as is being done, via high immigration. Plenty of countries survive well with small stable populations.
So why is Melbourne’s population projected to skyrocket? Unfortunately, the problem is that population increase is being engineered by sociological forces that are responding to focused benefits from the very things that cause suffering to the rest of us and damage the natural world. By this I mean that, via high immigration policies, powerful people in various business groups are successfully enacting pro-growth ideologies. All that the counter-growth movement is really asking is for the growth lobby to desist and allow our population to evolve naturally and democratically. We are not the population controllers; they are.
These pro-growth forces are highly organized, very determined, and very wealthy. They own and control most of the assets and resources, including the mass media and, arguably, large parts of Australia’s parliaments. The rest of us are relatively disorganised and poor because of this political system which concentrates land, resources and power in fewer and fewer hands.
Some traditional avenues of resistance exist, although all are compromised in this system. One new one is present – the Internet. The traditional options are:
- power in public institutions and utilities;
- power of employment connections;
- power of family communication;
- power of local government;
Power in public institutions and utilities: Historically, even though our system placed much power in private hands, in the 19th and 20th centuries we built up public institutions that safeguarded citizens’ rights to affordable water and food, electricity, housing, education, reliable employment, regulated banking. Most of these public institutions that protected our rights have since been privatised and taken beyond our influence.
Power of employment connections: Unions once brought together workers with common cause to preserve financial and other easily identifiable benefits, but the supportive industrial relations and law institutions have largely been dismantled and Australian workforces are now dispersed and temporary.
Power of family communication: One of the problems of population growth and infrastructure expansion is that it means that planners constantly insert new people and groups and buildings and roads and activities among us, interfering with established human networks. Family communication is also an uphill battle with TV, Facebook, school, commuting to work, and if you are one of many isolated Australians going from one rental to the next, couch surfing or sleeping rough. Ironically, wealthy families and clans that stick together, like the Dennis Family Corporation, the Murdochs, the Packers and the Winsors, rule the world. As more Australians become unemployed and cannot afford housing, the upside is that they will default back to family, clan and locality and communicate with neighbours on issues of mutual convenience and grow food and trade at the same level. Direct power at local level, accessed by well-networked families and clans together with neighbours is probably the most effective way to counteract the growth lobby on the ground and decisions by unrepresentative distant central governments. Women seem to lead most of the coordinated actions against overdevelopment and overpopulation in Melbourne, heading democratic planning groups, public land defence groups, ecological and wildlife protection groups, contributing to alternative media, attending parliament and organising demonstrations. They are our great strength. Their political engagement is under-reported in the mainstream media as you would expect.
Power of local government: Most people believe that immigration is entirely managed by the Federal Government, but it is at the level of local government that population control actually starts. Local Government traditionally controls building permits to control population numbers by limiting subdivisions and land clearing. This mechanism gave Australians direct control over the size of their communities. State governments in Australia have been removing this very important local government power over decades, with local government amalgamations, administrative control and laws reducing local power. Local power is the most direct and potentially useful form of democracy, more likely to unite people with a stake in the same bit of the real world.
State Government: In Australia the states have the power over land-use and water sources and the ability and responsibility to signal when infrastructure is close to capacity. They have largely taken over immigration policy decisions from the Federal government by calling themselves regions in need of migration and setting up websites and industries to market housing, business investment, and citizenship to prospective economic immigrants all over the world. All the states do this, but in Victoria the website is www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au . Obviously this website needs to come down.
The National Government makes decisions to support wars and sets policies for humanitarian and economic immigration. The public messaging system has erroneously convinced many people that most immigrants are ‘refugees’, using the issue as a wedge tactic to prevent people speaking out on numbers. At the same time, the media fails to critically examine the fact that many of our refugees and asylum seekers come from the places where we are engaged with NATO in what are arguably illegal resource wars. The Australian public is given no say in whether we support such wars.
The pro-growth forces control the mass media – that is, the public messaging system, which seems largely to control election choices and politicians’ policies. The effect is that, although the majority of Australians do not want population growth or its impacts, their opinion is not clearly reported and they are not aware of each other. Most of the Australian media and much overseas media are owned by Packer, Fairfax and particularly the Murdoch corporations which have vested interests in massive population growth, most obviously in their property dot coms (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au) , which sell Australian land and housing all over the world in a market that is enhanced by the promise of continuous population growth. CNN, the BBC, Al Jazeera, the ABC and SBS and generally all mainstream Anglophone press share biases and syndicate reports.
The Internet: So, how do we overcome a commercially compromised and unresponsive public messaging system that repetitively purveys this propaganda, making us believe it is both irresistible and true? By going around it and creating media that is far more relevant to most people, on the principle that real news is of real interest and that people, although schooled to passively absorb anointed opinion, if they wake up, don’t want to go to sleep again.
The traditional media relies a lot on distant authorities and events, which we cannot verify or affect. The alternative media can convey news from people on the ground, almost anywhere in the world.
The traditional media creates ‘stars’ and elevates as ‘authorities’ people who continually tell us that we must have growth. It is hard to get the attention of family, neighbours, colleagues and friends to our divergent point of view because they are conditioned to give more respect to mass media stars and opinions than to direct communication and experience.
The alternative media can identify our own real heroes and authorities – like the many women in Melbourne who head up groups to fight overpopulation and its impacts us. We can use the internet to do this, as many grass-roots organisations and BRICS countries now do.
The traditional media syndicates news and feature articles. We should do the same by republishing each other’s work on our various websites, by reciprocal interviewing and by inviting each other to speak at events, thus raising our mutual profiles and amplifying our impact collectively. Whilst it is often helpful to get a ‘mainstream’ celebrity to speak at an event, try to put some of your own on the stage as well, so that they will become known in their own right. Present them as ‘experts’. This is what the Property Council of Australia and APop do.
The Candobetter.net website, where I write and edit, promotes population activists and their activities where the mainstream press ignores them, preferring paid spokespeople from big business who tout growth. Our articles get thousands and tens of thousands of reads over time. One recent article got 12,000 reads in 3 weeks. We are actually a website for reform in democracy, environment, population, land use planning and energy policy.
Ideally Candobetter.net would like to be one of the alternative sites that together will replace the mainstream media middleman with more direct and diverse analysis and reports from the field.
Direct and Reliable sources of information
Instead of just reacting to mainstream disinformation, population writers and activists can access direct sources of information. Hansard is a superb direct source of politics, laws and news providing great speeches, hilarious examples and insights into our parties and politicians. Scientific sources include the CSIRO Futures program which produced the Australian Resources Atlas project and the report, Future Dilemmas. The State of the Environment Report Australia 2011 is still a good guide, and is pessimistic about population impacts even though its population projections of 100,000 net migration vastly underestimate our current population trajectory. The State of the environment reports [for]Victoria are increasingly politicized, so that the conclusions of the 2010 one did not make sense in the light of its content. The most recent one, for 2014, lacks comparability with the 2010 one, which defeats an important objective of these reports. ABS projections are a very necessary source of important information and part of public education. They rely, however, on past trends and on getting good information. They do not or cannot predict or allow for changes of policy or influence of lobby groups, except in general terms of higher or lower projections. You Tube is another direct source of information, and of course there are independent blogs and videos all over the web. As well as this, instead of just hearing the NATO line, try getting the other side from RT (Russia Today) which has great interviews, documentaries, and news and war coverage. Some other well-known alternatives are Press TV, Global Research, Voltaire Net, PaulCraigRoberts.org, the
Land Destroyer Report and the Syrian Arab Newsagency (SANA). If you speak another language you can search foreign amazon sites for books with different perspectives then order them without the usual publisher restrictions via eBay.
Resource Depletion: Sustaining growth depends on fuel. For a while there it looked like people were beginning to wake up to the finitude of petroleum and the difficulty in replacing it, but recently there has been a desperate con-job called US shale oil independence. This petroleum energy renaissance can be shown to be a wild exaggeration and has been reported as such by Bloomberg in "Dream of US Oil independence slams against shale costs." http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-27/dream-of-u-s-oil-independence-slams-against-shale-costs.html, which costs shale oil production at $1.50 for every $1.00 produced.
It is really important for activists to get their heads around this because, if people believe that – first gas, now coal seam gas and shale oil – will keep business as usual, they will not resist unsustainable population growth as hard as they must.
 "Just a few of the roadblocks: Independent producers will spend $1.50 drilling this year for every dollar they get back." And, "Shale output drops faster than production from conventional methods. It will take 2,500 new wells a year just to sustain output of 1 million barrels a day in North Dakota's Bakken shale, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Iraq could do the same with 60." http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-27/dream-of-u-s-oil-independence-slams-against-shale-costs.html.
Packed meeting in Hawthorn backs vote on Victoria’s population
We will probably replace this film with another from another angle which recorded the size of the audience, the applause and the show of hand on the motions. In the meantime this gives the content of the Open Microphone session.
The Hawthorn Arts Centre was the venue for a large public meeting today asking the question “Must Melbourne keep growing?” Speakers, Hon. Kelvin Thomson MP, Ms. Sheila Newman, evolutionary sociologist, Mr. Clifford Hayes, former Bayside mayor and Planning activist and Mr. William Bourke president of “ Sustainable Population Party” all addressed the meeting with the ultimate message that Melbourne does not have to keep growing. The audience was given the floor for the open mic second hour of the program and took full advantage of this. The meeting voted unanimously for the federal government to hold a national vote on Australia’s population aiming to stabilise by 2040:
''That, on the basis of State of the Environment reports and in the interests of democracy, the meeting calls on the federal government to hold a national vote on population at or before the next federal election, with a proposal to allow Australia to stabilise its population by 2040. A working group will be formed by concerned citizens in order to draft an appropriate question."
Meeting voted for Gov to have scientific conference re long-term sustainable population
Additionally the meeting voted unanimously for the Victorian Government to convene a scientifically based conference to establish the long term sustainable population for the state, on a motion proposed by Ms Julianne Bell, of Protectors of Public Land:
"That this meeting calls on the Victorian government to convene a scientifically based Victorian conference on what constitutes a long term environmentally sustainable population for Victoria, with reference to the Victorian State of the environment reports of 2008 and 2013 indicating environmental damage from current population levels."
According to the President of Sustainable Population Australia’s Victorian and Tasmanian branch, Ms. Jill Quirk, ”The first resolution is to give the Australian people the right to determine their own quality of life and quality of the environment for the present and future. The second is asking the government to undertake its absolute responsibility and to stop the reckless, irreversible destruction caused by needless rapid population growth and over development happening now.”
This coming Saturday July 20th, 2.00 p.m. at the Annual General meeting of Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch at the Balwyn Library meeting room, guest speaker, Dr. Bob Birrell of Monash University's, Centre for Population and Urban Research will address the facts and figures which explain "Why is immigration running at record high levels when unemployment is increasing?"
Dr. Birrell says:
"The Australian government is running a record high migration program. Recent arrivals are adding massively to Australia's workforce each year. About 100,000 have found employment in each of the past two years. This is about the same as the total annual growth in the employed workforce in Australia since 2011. As a result they are squeezing out resident workers from employment, particularly young people looking for entry level jobs. This is why the number of Australian born persons on unemployment benefits is increasing by around 50,000 a year.
"The most striking increase in the overseas born numbers is among those in Australia on temporary visas (including 457s, working holiday makers and students). The stock of these temporaries (most of whom have work rights) increased from 1.03 million in December 2010 to 1.13 million in December 2012."
President of Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch, Jill Quirk says:
"Whilst Sustainable Population Australia evolved from concern about the environmental impacts of an ever growing population on the most arid and infertile inhabited continent, the organisation has a broader scope, aiming to contribute to public awareness of the limits of Australian population growth from ecological, social and economic viewpoints.
"Dr. Birrell's talk this Saturday will be of critical interest to all those who care not only about population impacts on the environment but also about the employment climate which confronts those not in secure employment, especially young people who have not yet had a chance to acquire much of a work history. We look forward very much to hearing Dr. Birrell's important talk and commend it especially to policy makers and journalists all of whom are welcome to attend."
Contact, for further information: Jill Quirk, President, Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch,
Once again members of the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia braved the usual dreadful hot conditions at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, which has just come to an end.
Candobetter supports SPA's message and admires SPA Victoria. We salute them for their almost single handed contribution to opening debate in Victoria on population numbers.
Jill Quirk, the President of the Victorian Branch, has shown great skill in bringing together various conservation and environment organisations, as well as planning activists, together on the issue of population growth.
It is hard to imagine that only a few years ago most environmental and planning activists actually could not see the connection. Although they could see the connection between development and loss of ammenity, democracy and natural environment, they still believed the government's dishonest pretention that population growth in Victoria was falling. They did not understand what was pushing overdevelopment and they often did not realise that their local problems were repeated not just in other suburbs, but in other states, all across Australia.
Despite some attempts to silence debate from bullies who claim affiliation with Right to Life, the Socialist Alliance and the (non-incorporated) Refugee Action Alliance and seem to work to the advantage of developers and government, it has become possible to educate more people on what is actually happening, as our government tries to engineer our population and deprive communities of natural ammenity and citizens of reasonable rights to enjoy their property.
It is through the experience of trying to stop forced population engineering for commercial purposes that only bring benefits to a very narrow minority that more and more people are realising that effective democracy in Australia is an illusion. We may be able to talk, but we have little or no means to organise and act.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has called on the new Immigration Minister, Brendan O’Connor, to heed the findings of a paper issued yesterday. It found that the number of migrants arriving in Australia since the beginning of 2011 who found jobs about equals the number of new jobs created in Australia for everyone over the same period.
The paper was written by Professor Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy of the Centre for Population and Urban Research (CPUR), Monash University.
SPA National President, Ms Sandra Kanck, says this has had harmful impact on employment levels and working conditions of ‘incumbent’ Australians, particularly young people. Incumbents include migrants who arrived prior to 2011 as well as Australians born here.
“Since 2010, employment growth has slowed to about 100,000 a year,” says Ms Kanck. “Yet permanent immigration keeps increasing and is now at a record high level of 210,000 for the 2012-13 program year.
“This is on top of very high numbers of temporary migrants who might also work – 457 and working holiday visa holders, students and New Zealanders. There are over one million temporary migrants living in Australia now,” says Ms Kanck.
“Australia still has strong natural increase in its workforce, with the number of people turning 18 outnumbering those turning 65 by 80,000 per year. No extra jobs were made available to those young jobseekers over the past two years. Each one who found a job left an older worker unemployed.
“As a first step, the new Minister must match the immigration program to the number of jobs available and not disadvantage incumbent Australians, especially young people. Youth unemployment in northern Adelaide suburbs is now 42.6 per cent. It is also unacceptably high in the western suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney.
“As a second step, the Minister should note that immigration makes up 58 per cent of Australia’s very high annual population growth rate of 1.6 per cent. By cutting immigration, he will reduce population growth. This is vital for preserving the environment and for many other social reasons such as reducing housing unaffordability and hospital waiting times.”
The environmental group at the centre of the controversy between its national president, Hon. Sandra Kanck, and the Australian Democrats has countered claims by those who expelled Ms Kanck that it is a political party.
Spokesperson for Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Dr Jane O’Sullivan, says that SPA is recognised by the Dept of Environment (SEWPAC) as an environmental group, a prerequisite for obtaining tax deductible status through the Australian Tax Office. The regulations governing this are strict and include one that precludes any association with a political party, let alone running candidates for office as a party.
“For its 24 year history, SPA has had a mix of members from all walks of life and from all political parties. These include Labor, Liberal, National, Greens, Australian Democrats, Stable Population Party and the Stop Population Growth Party,” says Dr O’Sullivan.
“SPA is very mindful of being independent of political parties,” she says. “We are a lobby group that seeks to inform the public and policymakers of the need for an ecologically sustainable population.
“Because an ecologically sustainable population is less than the one we have at current standards of living, SPA calls for an end to population growth through lower migration and birth rates.
“It thus comes as no surprise that the leader of the coup against Ms Kanck, John Davey, is a migration agent who clearly has a vested interest in either maintaining or increasing migration levels,” says Dr O’Sullivan. “That is what this dispute is really all about.”
Dr O’Sullivan says that the national executive of SPA acknowledges the huge amount of work Ms Kanck undertook in trying to keep the Australian Democrats viable.
“This has, however, been entirely separate from the work she has done for over three years in running our organisation,” she says.
By upwards engineering population growth, the Victorian and Australian Governments are showing disregard of "ultimate deprivation" and leaving "future generations with the task of rationing energy, oil and food..."
Today, Friday, 18thth November, 2011, Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian Branch president, Jill Quirk has condemned Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy's recently announced approval of a development at Clyde North of up to 6600 houses covering more than 400 hectares to expand the population by 18,500.
The previous Victorian Government's ‘Victoria in the Future’ (VIF) projections estimated that Casey could reach a population of 370,000 by 2026 which is larger than the present city of Canberra.
No food at the Infill
“Due to government growth policies, we are risking future food security by destroying prime agricultural land for new housing estates. As one of Australia’s most fertile and valuable agriculture areas, Casey should be preserved for the vital role of food production. Casey has a favorable climate, topography, fertile soils, supportive transport and recycled water infrastructure. With climate change, limited arable soil and oil depletion, Australia needs markets close to cities as Casey is to Melbourne.” said Ms. Quirk
Dangerous Government engineering of population growth in Victoria
“The push for ever more population growth by governments and business is denying us the chance of an environmentally sustainable future. The apparent lack of real long term thinking with regard to population and the emphasis on the electoral cycle from our politicians will leave future generations with the task of rationing energy, oil and food, and untangling the transport gridlock. The Victorian government should now concentrate on providing reliable transport services to the existing outer suburbs rather than seeking to swell these areas with anther million people by 2025.”
“Instead of planning and policies based on growth and the disregard of ultimate deprivations, we need policies based on realistic appraisals of our long term needs, a sustainable population, and sustainable economy” said Ms Quirk.
Further comment: ph. Jill Quirk, President Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian branch) 0409742927.
(The patrons of Sustainable Population Australia are Patrons: Hon Bob Carr, Dr Paul Collins, Prof Tim Flannery, Prof Ian Lowe, Dr Mary E White.)
"Despite this grim picture, unlike global population growth, our own population future is very much under our control and we need not be overwhelmed. Stability of population numbers is within our reach this century. We owe it to Victorians who will be born 50 years from now to take control so that those who come after us can enjoy what we have enjoyed – clean air and water and reliable food and housing supplies. To do nothing is the real crime against humanity." Jill Quirk, President, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) Victoria.
Today, 28 October 2011, Jill Quirk, President of the Victorian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) spoke about the frightening trends in human population growth world-wide and in Victoria and Australia. Her message was that, despite the fact that Victoria and Australia are part of the overpopulation problem, it is still possible to stop before we are overwhelmed. Politicians and the commercial interests they serve by fanning local population growth here need to be made instead to serve the public good by stabilising our population.
"On October 31st the world’s population will zoom past the 7 billion mark just 12 years after reaching 6 billion. Despite taking all of human history up to 1800 to reach 1 billion, many seem to think the phenomenon of ever increasing human numbers is inevitable and normal!" said President Quirk.
"Globally we are growing at the expense of the environment on which we depend, threatening our water, air and food security. Our numbers are impacting on all the other creatures with whom we share the planet."
Ms Quirk said that, to many, the global human population “explosion” seems so vast that it is difficult to see how we might ever exert control over it.
"No one can be sure when this staggering increase might reach its zenith. We do know however that growth, even slower growth cannot continue forever."
Despite the impression we are given that "For those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share,"  we are running out of pure fresh freely accessible water, our few good soils are being impoverished and built over in Victoria, or threatened by extreme mining technologies like gas-fracking. Yes, our population is growing much too rapidly and is already too big. But this is not because of natural growth, it is because of government policy for extreme immigration numbers.
"Sadly, Victoria’s population also grows very rapidly cheered on by vested interests, lobbyists and the government. This growth and associated development is destructive to coastal areas, waterways and biodiversity, all of which also struggle with a changing climate," says Jill Quirk.
On a more optimistic note, however, she adds, "Despite this grim picture, unlike global population growth, our own population future is very much under our control and we need not be overwhelmed. Stability of population numbers is within our reach this century."
She says, "We owe it to Victorians who will be born 50 years from now to take control so that those who come after us can enjoy what we have enjoyed – clean air and water and reliable food and housing supplies.
To do nothing is the real crime against humanity."
We are often given the impression and even schoolchildren receive this propaganda that Australia is nearly empty and should therefore take on as many people as wish to come here, as if this arid continent could somehow act as a relief valve for the rest of this enormous planet. In fact Australia is already very densely populated on the thin green fringes around its southern and Eastern coasts, but very sparsely populated in the interior. There is a reason for this settlement pattern. Climate, rainfall and soil fertility make much of Australia almost uninhabitable for industrial society. Quite a bit of Australia is dry hot desert, similar to the Gobi Desert in China, which is also sparsely populated. Contiguous to Australia's deserts are rangelands. Those parts contain some mines and rangeland grazing, but little else. Even when only Aboriginal peoples lived here they only occupied the rangelands in very low numbers, which they kept low with very strict marriage laws that limited fertility opportunity for clan members.
Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian branch)
Patrons: Hon Bob Carr, Dr Paul Collins, Prof Tim Flannery, Prof Ian Lowe, Dr Mary E White
 From "Advance Australia Fair," Australia's National Anthem.
Melbourne people can hear MP Hon. Kelvin Thomson speak at the A.G.M. of Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian branch) on July 16th at 2.00p.m. The topic will be, "The population issue in Australia - post Population Strategy." The title refers to Minister Burke's recent "Population Strategy." In this article we talk about why this meeting is so important for Victorians and Australians and discuss events leading up to it, from Barry Jones's Australia's Population Carrying Capacity Inquiry (1994), through the Bracks Population Summit (2002) and Tony Burke's "Population Strategy" (2011). We at http://candobetter.net hope that subsequent events in Victoria will maintain and support SPA Vic's promotion of a better population policy for Australia. (Inside: Link to Steve Vizard's surprisingly good program contrasting Jones Report with Burke Report.)