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We need a population policy

The following article provides some common sence reasons for stablilising our population:

Population policy is everybody's business; OPINIONS & ANALYSIS
Stephen Williams. Herald. Newcastle, N.S.W.: May 2, 2008. pg. 9

AUSTRALIA needs a sustainable population policy and therefore a population target.

For too long the subject has been put in the too-hard basket by all sides of politics, including environmentalists.

As things stand, our economy, like a sick person propped up by medication, relies on the continued injection of more people to drive demand for goods and services.

But all nations have a finite carrying capacity.

The carrying capacity is not simply a question of area we have plenty of that. It is primarily a question of resources: water, arable land, energy and our unpredictable climate and fragile ecosystems.

It has been assumed that Australia's vast area and resources means that we are nowhere near our carrying capacity. Yet the reality suggests something entirely different: that we are already overpopulated given our current lifestyles and technological development.

Sure, a large population gives a nation economic advantages over smaller nations (so-called economies of scale) and Australian politicians in particular see it as their duty to increase our power and prestige through increasing numbers.

But the continued degradation of the natural environment should give us pause. Human environmental impacts are the result of the total number of people multiplied by their consumption of resources (or the way they consume resources).

In other words, the land can accommodate more people if they consume less, and less people if they consume more. Yet we are continually increasing both sides of the equation with predictable results.

As the 2020 Summit has hinted at, the solution will lie in a paradigm shift in our economic thinking.

The good news is that the business community, primarily because of global warming, is slowly realising there can be no healthy economy without a healthy environment.

To a large extent business, together with the general community, is driving political change on climate. Can business now put short-term interest aside and help build a sustainable economy based on an ecologically sustainable population?

Our birth rate more or less balances our death rate.

But under the Howard government Australia experienced a massive increase in the number of immigrants, culminating in about 150,000 in 2007-08.

This is a clumsy and naive way to give the semblance of a healthy economy, with continued growth in GDP based on an ever-increasing population.

Yet the whole edifice is a house of cards, just waiting to come crashing down.

Skills crisis? How about having a decent education and training program?

Ageing population? A sustainable population is one where the birth rate more or less equals the death rate, preventing gaps in age cohorts.

The latter steady state is no doubt easier said than done, particularly when medical advances increase life expectancy and refugees must be accommodated.

But the essential point seems undeniable: Australia is a long way from environmental sustainability with a population of about 21.3 million people and rising and an environment that is continually degrading.

A healthy, sustainable economy and a stable, relatively small population (by global standards) should not be mutually exclusive.

swilliams[AT]theherald.com.au

Comments

Australia does have a population policy.
It's not in the 'too hard basket' at all.

Our population is actively manipulated and controlled by the federal government, right now.
The policy is: 'continued percentage growth, as per last century'.

The fertility rate of 1.75, is modest and sustainable, and therefore unacceptable to your blind and twisted government.
Policy (Baby bonus and immigration), is being used to combat this natural sustainability,.. to replace it with a more familiar, circa nineteen 50's population growth rate..
An increase that ensures continuous clearing, and construction, just like the good old days (before the internet, and transistor radios).
The ultimate cost being Australia's economic, social, and environmental future.
But we won't worry about that.

When your government looks at the population 'projections', or population 'predictions', they are actually referring to population 'plans', signed for, instigated by them on behalf of you, the blind, stupid masses.
To help 'the economy', so you can have 'jobs', to pay for your 500 thousand dollar 1/4 acre block that used to cost 50 thousand dollars.
But don't worry, you monkeys, we'll fix the housing crises by selling your state forest to developers, who will then sell it back to you, no, to new customers imported from overseas, and we'll use the profits to buy a fat cigar and bottle of pretentious 50 year old wine, and congratulate ourselves on the great job we've done sending your country to hell.