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Australian Conservation Foundation calls to stabilise Oz population mid-century

Population growth a threat to biodiversity

The Australian Conservation Foundation has nominated human population growth as a “key threatening process” to Australia’s biodiversity under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

“The bigger our population gets, the harder it is for us to reduce greenhouse pollution, protect natural habitats near urban and coastal areas and ensure a good quality of life for all Australians,” said ACF’s director of strategic ideas, Charles Berger.

“More people means more roads, more urban sprawl, more dams, more transmission lines, more energy and water use, more pollutants in our air and natural environment and more pressure on Australia’s animals, plants, rivers, reefs and bushland.

“We need to improve urban and coastal planning and management of environmental issues, but we can’t rely on better planning alone to protect our environment. Rapid population growth makes sustainable planning nearly impossible, so stabilising Australia’s population by mid-century should be a national policy goal.”

The EPBC Act nomination cites many government reports that acknowledge the direct link between population growth and environmental degradation.

The nomination looks at four specific areas where human population growth is directly affecting native species and ecological communities – the coastal wetlands of South East Queensland, Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Bay in Victoria, the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia and the Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia.

ACF is calling on the Government to set a population policy that will:

* Stabilise Australia’s population by mid-century.
* Increase humanitarian migration and continue to support family reunions, but substantially reduce skilled migration.
* Return Australia’s overall migration to 1990s levels.
* Adequately fund strategies to minimise the environmental impact of population growth.

Source: Press Release Date: 23-Mar-2010


It would be better to increase refugee intake.
"Humanitarian" can cover some blurry political areas and create favorites.
Family reunion carries the risk of chain-migration, unfortunately and is one of the ALP's old favorites.
Family reunion should not be increased, but judiciously maintained, with the principle of 'balance of family' in mind, bearing also in mind that the huge recent immigration means that 'balance of family' may mean a heck of a lot of immigrants.

It's good to see the ACF finally come out. It's usually a sign that it doesn't want to be left out of a win.
But we are nowhere close to winning this battle. The growth lobby has democracy in its teeth and has no intention of listening to anyone. Just read about Anna Bligh's growth summit.

My first job out of Uni in 1974 was as a project officer with the ACF when their office was in East Melbourne.

Even then, the ACF was split into the purist Greenies who cared about forests and national parks.

And the Brownies (like me) who cared about pollution, use of non-renewable resources and population growth.

Through the following 40 years, the purist Greenies have always been in the ascendancy at the ACF -- notable characters being Geoff Mosely, Peter Garret and Phillip Toyne.

I've had nervous breakdowns and prison for most of this century.So now I see the ACF from a different angle. After living in a tent and a car for a few years, I now live in a boarding house in South Melbourne with 17 other blokes. All of us are broken in some ways, alcohol, drugs, prison, marriage and family break-ups. None of us have full-time employment. Only two of us struggle to find casual jobs. Our household is at or near the bottom of the ladder. All of us are on the Housing Commission waiting lists, some blokes for five or six years.

But none of us move. There are lots of new people getting Housing Commission flats ($60pw for 3-ded walkupss) But It's always refugees who get the vacancies. And yes, lots of these new faces we see in South Melbourne streets are covered with head scarves.

So, viewing from my boarding house, I can't understand the reasoning of the ACF (and SPA etc) who use twee political correctness to argue that black is black, but in some circumstances black is white. Either Australia cannot suffer anymore net immigration. Full stop. OR hang-on, we can suffer more net immigration just as long as it's refugees. Why? Because refugees won't take jobs from us?. Because refugees won't engage in chain migration like all the other ethnic tribes before them? Because refugees will never live in our leafy middle-class streets? Because refugees are a boom industry for middle-class social workers? Fair go.

Who will have the spine to speak what all old environmentalists know in their hearts? Planet Earth is grossly overcrowded. Australia's population must decrease to below 10-million. The globe's population must decrease to under one-billion.

By calling for immigration to end by mid-century the ACF are as reactionary as Latrobe Valley power station owners. Lord make me pure, but not for another 40 years.

I am yet to meet a 'purist greenie'. Should a 'purist greenie' be anyone favouring protection of rare old growth native forests and that they be incorporated federally into national parks, then I presume there will be hundreds of thousands of ordinary people across Australia (including myself) who would consider a 'purist' label bullshit.

David's pigeon holing of people's views is simplistic and insular.

That people can be either 'greenies' and 'brownies' is childish media indulgence and even Orwellian. Simplistic labelling only serves to divide otherwise like minded people who may be receptive to agree if only asked.

Ever considered asking about the people's views that you prejudge?
As they say, 'never let the truth get in the way of a good argument.'

Many with conservation leanings, or whom are construed 'anti-destructive', tend to favour protecting old growth forests and reducing pollution and reducing population, but if this makes them both 'greenies' and 'brownies' does such simplistic labelling warrant them being 'olive'?
Many can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Yes, clearly Australia's population is too high. This is fact when demands exceeds supply, congestion is chronic, costs of living have risen, environmental degradation is perpetuated to accommodate the hoards and sprawl persists. Perpetuating immigration when resources and infrastructure can't already cope with the existing numbers is grossly reckless and irresponsible - economically, socially and environmentally. Forced mass immigration on a local population is an undeclared invasion.

If as you claim the ACF is calling for immigration to end by mid-century, they are a bit slow. Can you elaborate on this last point as it seems to be the thrust of your argument? What is ACF policy on immigration?

I disagree with dividing the conservation movement, but criticism is valid of a lead conservation group like ACF if it is adopting a laisse faire approach to environmentalism.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

In reply to Tiger Quoll, I'm not perpetuating division. I'm just stating my opinion that the ACF was a bunch of gutless wonders on population and immigration in 1974, and they've got worse in the 36 years since. Australia's population in 1974 was 11-million.

I think its one of Gareth Hardin's sayings, but oh so true ---- "Whatever your cause its a lost cause with population control". Immigration worsens foreign debt, so we have to export more woodchips, so we have to log more old growth forests.

If you belong to the ACF, cancel your membership and join Marie Stopes International. MSIA -- under a lot of womens rights and maternal health spin-clouds --- actually issue contraceptives and do a few abortions.

Dont whatever you do give away The Pill over the internet. Prof Alan Fels and his ACCC with visible assistance from the AMA and US giant pharma Schering-Plough, jailed me 12 times for running a website called "CrowdedPlanet" in 1999-2001.

The Australian Conservation Foundation would bid to make population recognised as a key threat under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) and has called for Australia’s growth to be stabilised by mid Century.

According to Urban Taskforce's Arron Gadeil, the growth of a human society should never be equated with the problems caused by feral cats, cane toads and gamba grass.

According to their website: Urban Taskforce has been established to represent the views of the people engaged in the development and planning of the urban environment .

Growing cities and regions provide the engine room for the economy - creating jobs and investment benefiting everyone. We need to balance the economic benefits with initiatives that protect our environment and quality of life.

The Urban Taskforce is a non-profit organisation representing Australia's most prominent property developers and equity financiers.

Clearly their interests are in growth! The ideals of protecting the environment and quality of life are to be dubiously "balanced" with the economic benefits of limitless growth for the benefit of developers and financiers.

No matter the economic, social and intrinsic value of the human species, over-population will make us into a destructive pest species. We are all part of Nature and must fit into our finite ecological systems. When demand outstretches supply, then we end up being a destructive force on the planet.

Our ageing population is the result of the post war baby boom and our massive immigration program in the following decades. Continuing to add more people, no matter how skilled, will not keep our population young.

Once our environment is compromised, all the skills and economics won't compensate for the downturn in living standards, the extinction of wildlife, or the loss of viable ecological systems that provide our livelihoods.

Why wait until mid century to stabilise population growth when the damage will already be maximised and maybe gone too far to prevent further damage? Surely prevention is better than cure?