South East Queensland

The Courier Mail beats the drum for more Queensland population growth

This article was written in January 2007 and published in the March 2007 Newsletter of the South East Queensland branch of Sustainable Population Australia. I was moved to republish the article on this site on 30 April 2008 after I read a story "Wanted: a room to rent" in the Today section of Brisbane's Courier Mail newspaper of 29 April 2008. The story is yet another about one of many aspects of the crisis in the supply of rental accommodation in South East Queensland. Now, more and more people, who could once afford to rent whole units or houses are, of necessity, rather than choice, seeking shared accommodation. (In Sydney there have been, in recent times, still more disturbing reports about shared room accommodation becoming more prevalent.) This is all a direct and predictable consequence of the Courier Mail's own past encouragement of population growth that this article documents. In spite of the rental crises and many other problems caused by the increase in population, the Courier Mail continues to peddle pro-population-growth propaganda.

by James Sinnamon

Brisbane's Courier Mail newspaper has been running an hysterical campaign for further population growth, seemingly oblivious to its many other stories, some of them on its front page: the water crisis, threatened power blackouts, hospital crises, housing accommodation shortages, community struggles against overdevelopment and the destruction of bush-land; traffic congestion, bus stop rage and crowded trains. All primarily the consequence of that same ongoing population growth that the Courier Mail apparently aims to perpetuate. Examples include :

  • 8 July 2006 Banner ad: "Position Vacant - 36,800 workers needed" followed by a list of job vacancies by category and "Apply to the smart state".
  • Headlines shrieking, "We want you!", claiming that, "Tens of thousands more workers are needed to head off a skills crisis which is threatening to strangle Queensland's economy."
  • Further inside, story titles: "Skills crunch slows state"; "It's an uphill battle getting jobless to work"; "Jobs galore but no one wants them".
  • Friday 22 September: "State's people on the up and up"; Baby boom buoys growth against immigration drop". The story here is how a taxpayer-funded baby boom is saving Queensland's population from collapse as new arrivals from interstate decreased. Deeply buried among the photos of new-borns and their parents is a sombre warning from Queensland Academic, Bob Stimson, that state governments aren't providing adequate infrastructure for more people.
  • Wed 8 November: "Migrant workers a last resort in staff crisis". Claiming "Aussie kids don't want to do the job", luxury Hayman Island resort manager calls for more relaxation of immigration rules to fill 30 vacancies in a 500 strong island work force.
  • Friday 10 November: In among "Feast of Jobs", "Business plea: who needs to earn a crust?", the tragic tale of Pizza shops struggling to attract delivery boys and junior pizza makers; and another about advertising campaigns to lure grey nomads and European backpackers into the workforce, were some oddly contrasting accounts of people being unable to find work in fruit growing areas.

Poor pay and working conditions, lack of career path and the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the service economy are not the stuff to attract your aspiring interstate or overseas immigrant.

Clearly, however, Queensland's booming mineral exports &emdash; coal and aluminium in particular &emdash; cannot be divorced from the many signs of climate change here. Whatever prosperity some Australians may enjoy now from the massive extraction, processing and export of these finite and non-renewable materials is truly at the expense of the planet and of future generations.

What becomes of the extra workers when boom inevitably goes to bust?

Following another hyperbolic campaign about a claimed shortage of computer professionals in this country in 1999, poached IT immigrant professionals proliferated way beyond the moderate amount of work available. Many of those jobs were off-shored to low wage economies, with the result that not a few IT graduates are now marooned as cab-drivers and security guards, with out-dated skills in their rapidly changing profession, according to Labour Market Consultant, Bob Kinnaird.-fn1">1

Clearly, the Courier Mail newspaper will not be the vehicle to help the people of South East Queensland grasp the necessity of stabilizing population to preserve any of their standard of living and environment.

See also:


-fn1" id="main-fn1">1. "Migrants blamed for IT jobs cut" by Jewel Topsfield, The Age January
10, 2006 -txt1">[back]

Independents to challenge pro-developer Gympie Council

The of the bid of group to win control of the Gympie Council chamber is to be held at the Gympie Bowls Club at 2.00PM on Saturday 2 February 2008. Integrity Gympie was formed by independent community activists together with three currently serving councillors who were concerned that the current Gympie Regional Council led by Mayor favours the interests of developers at the expense of their own constituents.

Integrity Gympie is committed to making the Gympie Regional Council more open and accountable and to consult properly with local communities before arriving at decisions which will impact upon their lives.

Integrity Gympie will actively oppose:

  • The Traveston Dam (see )
  • The threatened dissection of Gympie with the Bruce Highway by-pass
  • The Norman Point Marina in Tin Can Bay
  • Nuclear power stations anywhere in the region

Integrity Gympie will actively pursue

  • Fair contributions from developers so that existing residents don't have to pay extra rates to maintain basic services like:
    road repairs drainage waste management
    parking community halls etc, etc
    sewerage upgrades strategic planning
  • Solutions to problems of traffic flow and parking along Mary Street
  • Rainbow Beach Centre block development
  • A more effective management of feral pests

What you can do

If you live in the area and wish to help the people of Gympie get the council they deserve on Saturday 15 March, then contact the Gympie Integrity Group through their Phone numbers of the candidates are also listed on that page.

If you live outside the Gympie Regional Council Area, you find candidates standing in your area who stand for similar policies. If not, there may still be time left for you and likeminded people to stand for council. The information on how to do so can be found on the ( The deposit for candidates is: $150.

Alternatively, if you live outside the Gympie region and wish, in any way, to help in bring about a council which would set an example for other councils to follow that help would be greatly welcomed.

Integrity Gympie Candidates

"The Watchdog", candidate for Mayor -article-1">1


-article-1">1. Ron Owen's includes a mix of quotes. These are from a number of generally admired historical figures including Edward R. Murrow, known for his stance against the McCarthyite witchhunters, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Niemoller. However, there are also quotes from a few which the editors of the site would consider unsavoury. These include Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. Naomi Klein's towering work of 2007 (see also on WebDiary) demolishes a prevalent view of Milton Friedman, presumably shared by Ron Owen, that he was an idealist determined to pursue, through peaceful democratic means, for the benefit of all humanity, his goal of achieving a global free market unfettered by Government interference. Instead, he and his followers from the Chicago School of Economics, since the early 1970's collaborated with military dictatorships who murdered, tortured and imprisoned those who opposed Friedman's free market agenda. In all countries, the result was the impoverishment of the majority, destruction of much productive capacity, whilst a privileged few together with foreign corporations were enriched. Countries which were ravaged by Friedman's polices include Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Iraq. One of the last acts in Friedman's career was to help -201045">exploit the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in order to force the privatisation of Schools and public housing in New Orleans in 2005. The fact that Ron Owen has a mistaken high regard for people such as Friedman should not detract from the fact that he is, as an elected councillor, a hardworking principled servant of the people of Gympie and is, by far, the best available candidate for Mayor.