We have noticed many more letters to the local newspapers raising the issue of high population growth mainly due to immigration. A recent survey conducted by The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRIS) has reported that “74% of voters thought that Australia does not need more people”. The following points set out some of the reasons why we should be demanding better immigration controls by our governments:
· The reason why many people feel they haven’t benefited from Australia’s long stretch of economic expansion is because they haven’t.
· Our pay packets haven’t increased while many of our essential goods and services have gone through the roof
· High Migration makes it nearly impossible for Australia to fall into recession.
· It’s great for business because it keeps wages low and there are more people to buy their goods and services.
· It looks great for governments because it means that economic growth looks better than it really is.
· But it isn’t that good for our existing ordinary wage and salary workers.
· More people means more demand for scarce goods and services. When there’s tight supply it results in huge price rises (such as Housing).
· As the new Reserve Bank Governor, Phillip Lowe, has stated “the role of good economic policy should be to raise living standards – not make the population and therefore the economy bigger”.
· And why don’t the politicians do that? Political donations influence? Maybe too many have investments in property and development that require more and more customers.
0ur very high rate of population growth is twice the world average and three times that of UK, France, the US and similar western countries. Our governments over the last 20 years or so have claimed that this has driven our economic growth without us suffering from a recession like other countries. The reality is that our citizens have gained no real fiscal benefit from this population growth.
In 2016 our intake was reduced to around 200,000 p.a. from the 250,000 mark and just recently our Minister for Immigration was suggesting we should reduce our intake by a further 20,000. However our Prime Minister was not prepared to do so. Why not?
The reality is that, since the GFC, Australia has seen per capita income go backwards as evidenced by stagnant wages growth. The slight reduction in the long term arrivals to departure ratio presents a misleading picture because migration to Australia is still proceeding at a record pace with a massive lift in long term visa holders which are not included in our immigrant numbers. There are currently around 2 million long term visa holders in Australia right now all needing somewhere to live. Overall our rate of population growth has averaged 1.7% which compares with around 0.7% average for UK, France & the US.
Right now the rate of population growth for Melbourne is up around 2.4 %. That’s four times more than UK, France & the US and other OECD countries.
Time for action. There is an election coming so take advantage and confront your local member and vote for change. If we reduce our migrant intake to around 70,000 p.a. we would still be ahead of the pack and meeting our international obligations. That would give us breathing space to catch up with the infrastructure upgrades we desperately need for our existing population and, maybe in time, we could provide infrastructure to cope with our future migrant intake.
To continue as we are will result in further degradation of our environment, lifestyle and flat financial position and ultimately end up living in overcrowded high rise ghettos and no one wants that do they?
Consultant to the Boroondara Residents’ Action Group. (BRAG)
Hoddle Street is a very long road in Melbourne, Victoria. Congestion in Melbourne is reaching ludicrous and unforgivable proportions. The treelined part of Hoddle Street is apparently being sacrificed without public consultation for the no-win race of government-engineered population growth.
Ian Hundley, of Protectors of Public Lands,Victoria took these photos yesterday of the before an after tree removal for lane widening in Hoddle street Melbourne. He wrote:
"I checked out the Hoddle Street capacity road works today. See photos taken from the Vere Steet footbridge (near Collingwood Town Hall) to the south which shows trees retained and to the north which shows where trees have been removed from the median. Also one of the signs which declares this is a project to connect communities. We must try to contain the mirth on that one - if they pull it off it will be the first traffic sewer to have brought communities together."
The sign Ian refers to reads, "Streamlining Hoddle Street-Connecting our communities." How completely facile! It must have been coined on a morning tea break without realisation that "streamlining " in this case means de-tree lining!
All this destruction is to help accommodate the additional 100,000 cars each year in Melbourne. The only way to widen a long established street like Hoddle Street is to either knock down houses and appropriate land or remove anything not absolutely necessary, that won't cost the government money, and for which the voices of complaint, from the avian inhabitants and the long-suffering public will not be heard.
I did not hear any public announcement of the removal of these trees. They are just gone. What difference will the additional traffic and the absence of the trees make in the immediate area to the noise levels and the temperature? So much of the local environment in Melbourne is being ripped apart to make way for population growth that if residents can't mitigate any of the damage it will just lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. This plays into the hands of the growth manic state government and the various lobby groups feeding from growth.
Jill Quirk is the Secretary for Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria and was the long-time president of the SPAVICTas Branch of Sustainable Population Australia.
Thanks for the invitation to be involved in your recent Water leadership workshop. I enjoyed the experience.
Regarding my point about population in the notes you took and have reproduced below, I think your notes play down the problem and don’t reflect the entirely of what I said.
On the current trajectory Melbourne would be 8+ million by 2050- just 34 years away. And it is irresponsible to represent the issue as having any chance of stopping there.
The current growth rate means population would double every 38 years approximately. So by 2088 Melbourne would be 16+ million, and heading for 20 million by end of this century. Should or could we still be using your suggested 100 litres pp by then?
Clearly there is no logical end point on the business as usual model we are on. It is those people that continue to promote BAU who are the dangerous radicals in my opinion. They are prepared to threaten humanity, society and community in order to pursue their ideology. Sound familiar?
We need a campaign to change Australians' view on this issue. Great campaigns have been run in the past to change Australians' views on many important public health and safety issues like smoking, drink driving, safer workplaces, asbestos regulation etc., We’ve successfully changed how we all think about people who behave in ways that threaten our health and safety. Time to use those strategies on the business and climate dinosaurs who pose threats to our very existence.
We need to dismantle the economic model that these dinosaurs have created for themselves, not just re-arrange it. Time for a steady state economy and stable population – see http://www.steadystate.org
This is what I think EV should be working towards- everything else is just tinkering with a fundamentally flawed and dangerous model. And, as I said at the workshop, we are all going to get dispirited and exhausted running endless campaigns trying to push back against every outrage that the current system will continue to produce. Where's the sense - or indeed pleasure- in that?
From: Adele Neale [...]
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2015 5:09 PM
To: warfej [...]
Subject: Thanks - Six Steps to Water Leadership workshop
Thanks so much for coming to our ‘Six Steps to Water Leadership’ workshop in Frankston last week. We had a great discussion and you raised many useful and interesting points. These are summarised in the workshop notes included below.
We will be using your feedback to strengthen the Six Steps report. We can already see key areas around education (maybe a new step!) and more on capturing and using stormwater. We will use the revised report as our submission to the State Water Plan Discussion Paper which is due out in February 2016. More on that in the New Year!
If you have any more thoughts or feedback please get in touch – Juliet, 9341 8106, [email protected].
The report is available here.
And we would love to see you at Environment Victoria's End-of-Year party on Tuesday! It will be a fun and casual event to celebrate Environment Victoria volunteers' efforts, at the rooftop garden at our office building, 60 Leicester St, Carlton, from 5.30pm. Please RSVP here so that we can provide food and drinks for everyone.
Thanks again for your great input, conversation and care for protecting our waterways,
Juliet and Adele
6 Steps to Water Leadership
Frankston workshop notes
General questions and discussion
Water grid? Pipeline, Desalination plant – how are these to be used?
Filling Victoria’s coal mines? Hydro?
Planting trees to hold water in the landscape and create more rain?
Send snail mail to politicians, ministers – they must respond.
Education - How do we get people to care about rivers?
Should be the first Step. Engage in community broadly
In schools. Currently only basic concepts in young years.
Tread lightly, care for your ecological footprint, e.g. reduce meat consumption
Large population, and growing - 8 million people to share the water. Our society is reliant on the number of houses increasing, growth model.
Reducing consumption is also important.
Focusing on Step 1 – A Murray-Darling Basin Plan that restores our rivers, wetlands and national parks
Farmers – move to growing types of food that don’t need much water
In food costs we don’t pay for environmental damage
Cover dams to prevent evaporation
Globalisation of agriculture. E.g. High Chinese demand for baby formula
Focusing on Step 2 – A statewide plan for towns and cities
Indoor as well as outdoor
A personal water use target e.g. 100 litre/person/day to be used
Encourage water tanks
Reduce added bill cost so that water use makes up bigger proportion – there are pros and cons for taking this approach
Green star ratings for buildings
Businesses and residential
Kingston City Council and schools are doing well on this (and this helps with education)
Indigenous plants – they have low water needs
Art exhibition and fundraiser
Cow on Yarra float during Moomba Festival
Culture – use Man From Snowy River
Raingardens. Slow the passage of water moving through the environment.
Focussing on Step 3 – A VEAC inquiry into freshwater ecosystems
What is VEAC? Its purpose is to provide advice to the government. It is a statutory authority. The minister decides what VEAC does work on. You can see VEAC reports are on the website. There has been nothing done on water for 20 years.
Focusing on Step 4 – Reform the Water Act
What determines entitlement to water shares?
Sustainable caps – people use 1/3, rivers get 2/3
Change the Act – no ministerial discretion in decision making
Video inside: The Kennett era in Victoria represented a neoliberal makeover of government, state and local. Swept to power during a global property collapse in 1992, the Liberal premier imposed radical and rapid transformation without electoral platform or forewarning. It was a classic case of the international phenomenon documented by Naomi Klein in Shock Doctrine. This talk focuses on the transformation of the core municipality of greater Melbourne – the Melbourne City Council in its historic context. It was disempowered and its citizens disenfranchised between 1992-9 to give the Growth Machine of property interests and state government free rein. That Machine emerged from the mid 1970s, being reinforced under the previous Labor government, 1982-92, as the manufacturing sector was phased out federally; cranes on the skyline was Premier Cain’s catchcry. Kennett capitalized on a political and institutional tradition in which property interests (entrenched in the Victorian Legislative Council) dominated from inception. Other Australian colonies were founded by government rather than land seekers.
Video inside: This article is the text of a speech by Sheila Newman about how Kennett Government policies pushed up population growth in Victoria and Australia. Whilst many people remained for a long time under the impression that immigration numbers were a Federal domain, he began the practise of using regional migration definitions to attract people to urban Melbourne. He also de-toothed Victorian industrial law, affecting wages, condition and enforcement. The new interpretation of regional migration was adapted by other States and territories. Kennett's attack on Victorian industrial laws would ultimately pave the way for Workchoices and a much less effective system for ensuring that imported workers were not paid less than Australians, creating a new pull-factor in Australia.
Regional migration under Kennett
This is the text of a speech given to SPAVICTAS AGM 2015.
Way under the radar of the general public, the Kennett Government (1992-1999) began a practice of using the rural category of ‘region in need of migration’ to reclassify Melbourne itself.
Melbourne was thus reclassified a regional migration area by the Kennett Government in 1998, which meant it became a destination for people who traditionally migrated to country regions under softer entry rules. 
Regional migration categories permitted easier entry for immigrants. Rural employers could sponsor workers for positions they claimed they were unable to fill, with fewer tests than urban employers and immigrants coming in under classical federal schemes. They could also sponsor a wider range of family reunion, such as nephews, to work in family businesses. 
The trend that Kennett started was imitated by the other States. Over time all the other states also declared their CBDs in need of immigration under regional migration rules. This was the time of the rise of the internet. Before this time, immigration had been a long drawn out process that was hard for individuals to initiate or get approval for. Now Australian States started up state Immigration websites advertising state and private sponsorship of immigrant workers and their families. Currently, these include:
Kennet was congratulated by people in favour of high Migration for having increased migration to the regions and reversed the long-term trend of migration out of Victoria, much of it to Queensland.
This perception was criticised because the so-called ‘regional migrants’ mostly ended up in urban Melbourne. 
Nonetheless, I would make the following case that these migration policies and several of Jeff Kennett’s other policies were a major factor in creating conditions which would set Australian on a terrible path to rapid and uncontrolled mass migration.
Kennet’s changes to industrial law made it easier to import cheap labour
Before the Kennett government, most Victorian wage earners worked under state awards which prescribed minimum conditions and wages, including holidays, benefits and penalties for an extensive range of employment roles. Any employee could look these up or have them explained easily by the Victorian Industrial Relations Commission, through a hotline called Wageline – where I worked. But in 1993, the Kennett Government abolished the Victorian Industrial Relations Act, replacing it with the weaker and harder to enforce, and poorly staffed, Employee Relations Act. 
Other Australian states imitated this initiative.
Unions scrambled to cover employees by registering new awards under Federal law, under s.51(xxxv) of the Australian constitution. These awards, however, had to be negotiated between individual organisations and their employees. Their enforcement was very limited under the Federal constitution. They were mostly inaccessible and incomprehensible for individual employees.
This right-wing revolution in Victorian industrial law under Kennett in 1993 set the scene for Workchoices under the John Howard government, (11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007). The Howard Government, entering this weakened industrial law and industrial relations situation, went on to widen the use of the corporations clause in the Australian constitution, which exempted corporations from many employer obligations. 
Up until now Australian employers had not had much to gain by importing immigrant workers because they had been required to employ them under the same industrial awards as native born workers. That meant that there was not the same opportunity to import cheap labour as there was, notoriously, in the United States.
Today we are in a situation where the Australian labour market has been greatly deregulated and it is now possible to employ overseas immigrants according to individually tailored employment contracts where they have little or no bargaining power or recourse for legal protection.
Coupled with the deregulation of immigration, this has created local pull factors which the Australian growth lobby has been keen both to lobby for and to exploit.
Deregulation of housing market and Rise of the Internet as factors
Two further processes have helped to expand the trends that Jeff Kennett’s actions set in motion. These further processes were:
- Deregulation of the Australian housing market to permit overseas purchase and investment
- The rise of the internet, which was exploited by state governments, private migration agents in conjunction with employers; universities seeking students; and property financiers, conveyancers, developers and real-estate agencies, to globalise Australian employment, public institutions, universities, and property.
Steve Bracks and John Brumby would continue Kennett’s big population campaign, despite the different brand presentations of their politics.
Was Kennett aware of his contribution to setting in motion Australia’s unfortunate population tsunami? He was a great population growth spruiker and had served formally as Minister for Housing, Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in 1981 under the Hamer government. He has made many public declarations on his perception that very high immigration is desirable.
In The Age in March 1998, the following businessmen and politician argued that population growth was desirable and inevitable: Tony Berg, then Chief Executive Officer of Boral Industries (building materials and components) and still, in 2001, director of numerous banking, insurance and property trust related groups and holdings, and the Midland Brick Company; Jeff Kennett, populationnist Premier of Victoria (who presided over a developmentalist Ministry for Planning and Infrastructure which decreased housing lot sizes under a code and administration largely unresponsive to public outrage), and Phil Ruthven, who again claimed that by the end of the 21st century Australia's population would be 150 million.
An article in Civil Engineers Australia – December 1998, entitled, “Big Population Growth Needed, Forum Told – enVision ’98 Conference", reported speakers for high immigration and a big population. Among them were Tony Berg, Jeff Kennett, Alan Stockdale, Treasurer of the Kennett Victorian Liberal Government, Dr Jack Wynhoven, chairman of the enVision 98 organising committee and chief executive officer of Connell Wagner (Engineering and major infrastructure projects) and John White, chief executive officer of Richard Pratt's Visy [Paper and Packaging but also manufacturers of Visy board, a building material] Industries. (Pratt was Vice President of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures and has extensive involvement in business.)
The theme of needing a big population in order to repel invaders remains popular. In "More Migrants, Pleads Kennett", by Christine Jackman in the Melbourne Herald Sun, 12/2/1999, Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett was quoted telling "a New York business lunch" that "Australia's population was so low it would not even be able to defend Tasmania", attacking immigration levels as "almost negligible".... and underestimating them at "about 60,000 a year." (Source of quote is Sheila Newman, The Growth Lobby and its Absence, Chapter 6, http://tinyurl.com/p4ykwup)
The following graphs show interstate migration trends over the period discussed
 “Persons sponsored by relatives in the SDAS visa subclasses currently receive concessions in two ways: no points test to pass and a lower English language threshold criterion. More than half of those visaed are being sponsored by relatives living in Melbourne. Given that the underlying reason for providing points concessions is to attract persons to locations where the Government is anxious to promote settlement (notably regional locations) there does not seem to be any rationale for Melbourne to continue as a designated area in the SDAS visa subclass.” Evaluation of the General Skilled Migration Categories, Dept of Immigration, March 2006, by Bob Birrell et al, “Evaluation of the General Skilled Migration Categories,” Dept of Immigration, March 2006, p.178. http://www.flinders.edu.au/sabs/nils-files/reports/GSM_2006_Full_report.pdf
 John O'Leary, “The Resurgence of marvellous Melbourne - trends in Population distribution in Victoria, 1991-1996,” People and Place, Vol.7,no.1 and Catherine Best, “Culture shock strikes region,” The Courier, Fairfax regional media, December 12, 2003, http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/577142/culture-shock-strikes-region/)
 My reference is personal experience in the Victorian Department of Labor at the time, and, Richard Tracey, “Standing Fast, Federal Regulation of Industrial Relations in Victoria,” H.R. Nicholls Society, http://archive.hrnicholls.com.au/archives/vol14/vol14-3.php]
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WorkChoices: “Relying on the corporations power of Section 51(xx) of the Constitution, the Howard Government extended the coverage of the federal industrial relations system to an estimated 85% of Australian employees. All employees of "constitutional corporations" (i.e. trading, financial, and foreign corporations) became covered by the WorkChoices system. Other constitutional powers used by the Federal Government to extend the scope of the legislation included the territories power to cover the Australian territories, including the external territories of the Christmas and Cocos Islands, the external affairs power, the interstate and overseas trade and commerce power, and the powers of the Commonwealth to legislate for its own employees. Victoria voluntarily had referred its industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth in 1996, under Section 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution.”
 “Trevor Sykes, The Bold Riders, Allen and Unwin, St. Leonards, New South Wales, Second Edition, 1996, (Year 2000 reprint), p.337 mentions that Pratt controlled Regal Insurance and Occidental Insurance in the late 1980s and was one of the funders of a shelf company called Bacharach Pty Ltd, which corporate cowboy, Abe Goldberg, used to purchase Brick and Pipe Industries, which he believed to be an unrealised land bank. Additional information about business interests was obtained from the Business Who's Who of Australia, Dun and Bradstreet Marketing P/L, 35th Edition, 2001.” Cited in Sheila Newman, The Growth Lobby and its Absence, Chapter 6, http://researchbank.swinburne.edu.au/vital/access/manager/Repository/swin:7395 (with appendices) or (without appendices) http://tinyurl.com/p4ykwup
UPDATE 29 September 2015, Click here for video of speech.SPAVicTas AGM, 5 September 2015, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, 4th Floor Conference Room: 1.45 for 2pm. Speaker: Dr Angela Munro, Public Policy expert: "Kennett's 'commonsense revolution' and the Melbourne 'growth machine'."The unilateral substitution of an appointed commission for the elected Melbourne City Council in October, 1993 by the incoming, neoliberal Victorian Government, was followed by its disempowerment as a democratic institution before reinstatement in emasculated form in 1996. The resounding defeat of the Labor government, in 1992, coincided with an unprecedented global property collapse whose cataclysmic economic and political consequences in Melbourne were conducive to this marginalisation of the City Council and citizenry. A historic dual conflict over the governance and development of central Melbourne between the Victorian Government and the City Council on the one hand, and between central city property interests and citizenry on the other, was immediately resolved. Whereas efficiencies justified council amalgamations statewide, the Melbourne City Council was subject to separate and extreme centralisation of state government power, deregulation of urban planning and de-democratisation as a micro CBD council."
Sustainable Population Australia,
Victorian and Tasmanian branch
Annual General Meeting 2015
On - Saturday September 5th
At - 1.45 for 2.00pm. (if you arrive late and the front door is closed – ring 0405 825769 or 0409742927)
Venue: Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000 Hayden Raysmith Conference Room, Fourth Floor. – (Turn left from the stairwell; or from lift through fire door and then left. It is the corner room).
Guest Speaker : Dr. Angela Munro, Public Policy expert:
"Kennett's 'commonsense revolution' and the Melbourne 'growth machine"
"The unilateral substitution of an appointed commission for the elected Melbourne City Council in October, 1993 by the incoming, neoliberal Victorian Government, was followed by its disempowerment as a democratic institution before reinstatement in emasculated form in 1996. The resounding defeat of the Labor government, in 1992, coincided with an unprecedented global property collapse whose cataclysmic economic and political consequences in Melbourne were conducive to this marginalisation of the City Council and citizenry. A historic dual conflict over the governance and development of central Melbourne between the Victorian Government and the City Council on the one hand, and between central city property interests and citizenry on the other, was immediately resolved. Whereas efficiencies justified council amalgamations statewide, the Melbourne City Council was subject to separate and extreme centralisation of state government power, deregulation of urban planning and de-democratisation as a micro CBD council."
Sheila Newman (Masters by Research in Environmental Sociology, specialising in population and environment), writer and researcher, current president of the SPA VicTas branch whose own research is complementary will add population specific details to fill in the jig saw of the picture of the population pressures we are experiencing in Victoria: "Victoria's population numbers under Kennett."
Rapid population growth is political poison, and has brought down a second Victorian Government in four years. In the past decade Australia's migration rate more than doubled. The greatest consequences of this dramatic increase have been in Melbourne, which started growing by more than 200 people a day, 1500 each week, 75,000 each year.
But the incoming Liberal Government did not understand why it had won, and fell for the trap of believing its own propaganda. Melbourne's population growth continued apace, and Ted Baillieu said strong population growth was vital to the state's economic future. He did not last long.
His successor Denis Napthine did not last much longer. How he must be wishing he had put money into Victoria's emergency services and TAFE, instead of allocating billions to a new tollway to try to fix population driven traffic congestion.
I congratulate new Premier Dan Andrews on his remarkable win, defeating a first term government for the first time in sixty years. He showed great courage and foresight in supporting public transport approaches to Melbourne's traffic chaos, such as Melbourne Metro and removing level crossings.
The Federal Liberal Government must also accept its share of responsibility for this defeat. Both Denis Napthine and Dan Andrews have been professional, predictable and measured in their actions and campaigning. Tony Abbott has stomped into this relatively tranquil environment like an out of control Tyrannosaurus, attacking students and pensioners, cutting health, education, and the ABC, and trying to cut the Renewable Energy Target.
Prime Minister Abbott is out of touch with Victorians. Victorians want action on climate change and support renewable energy. Victorians support higher education and don't want to see a university education become unaffordable. Victorians support manufacturing industry and are dismayed at the Federal Government's contempt for the car industry and for SPC Ardmona. The result in Shepparton bears that out.
If the Prime Minister does not change, he too could lead a one term government. He should demonstrate that he is prepared to listen by abandoning his calls for the East West Tollway to proceed. This is an incitement to the new Labor Government to break its election promise on this. There was a time when Tony Abbott was very big on keeping election promises, on honour and trust in politics. He needs to remember what he used to say, and work with the new Government to implement its election commitments such as Melbourne Metro and the under grounding of level crossings.
Save our Suburb's Planning Survey exposes some fascinating trends among independents and small parties on population policy. I have put together some data on Victorian candidates for this coming election with regard to the population question on the poll plus any remarks. This was a late night operation and some candidates' remarks were partly obscured in the copy I made. Some Greens said they were in favour of such a policy, but I note that their own policy has for years avoided mentioning immigration and places the issue at a vague global level. It is well-known that this is a contentious issue with the Greens and that members and candidates tend to get punished for mentioning it and every attempt at workable local policy is suffocated from the top. Two Labor candidates - amazingly - said they were in favour of the policy. Note that the responses to the whole questionnaire are available here: http://sos.asn.au/vic/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/141117-Planning-Survey-of-Candidates-RO.xlsxUPDATE: As the survey is updated every 48 hours to include candidate responses, It might be best to use these links: Trend results and Individual candidate responses
Here is the question candidates were asked in the SOS poll, to which 35 had responded positively by 21 November 2014:
"While ensuring that human rights are protected, would you support wider public debate on a stable population policy for Victoria in order to address ecological sustainability, as well as infrastructure and employment impacts?"
Candidates who said they were in favour of such a policy were:
Australian Cyclists Party (All regions) Voice for the West (Altona, Broadmeadows, Essendon, Footscray, Koroit, Melbourne, Melton, Niddrie, St Albans, Sunbury, Sydenham, Tarneeit, Werribee, Williamstown. John Rinaldi, Independent, for Broadmeadows. Calre LeServe, Independent for Bass.
Nigel Hicks, Independent for Murray Plains. Lynette Bell, Rise Up Australia for East Bendigo Christopher Byrne, Independent for Eltham.
Peter Gardney, Climate Emergency, Gippsland East. Robert Anderson, Independent for Hastings. Matt DeLeon, Independent for Melton. Jordan Crook, Save the Planet Party for Monbulk. Dr Eleonora Lullone, Animal Justice Party, Prahran. Alan Menadue, Independent: Anti GST, Anti-Privatisation of Social ... for Prahran. Tom Keel, Independent for City Living of Richmond. Michael Challinger, Independent opposing selling off of public assets ... for Ringwood. Jamie Overend, Animal Justice Party for South Barwon. Safwat Ali, Independent for Tarneit. Thomas Di Parma, Independent for reducing congestion, crime... for Thomastown. Brenton Edgecombe, Animal Justice Party for Eastern Metropolitan. Voice for the West for Western Metropolitan, Western Victoria, Northern Metropolitan Maria McLaverty, Animal justice Party for Northern Metropolitcan. Bruce Poon, Animal Justice Party for Northern Metropolitan. Andy Meddick, Animal Justice Party for Western Victoria. James Purcell, Vote 1 Local, for Western Victoria. Joel Martin, Independent, Return TAFE and uni to the Yarra Valley, for Croydon.
Greens who said, "Yes", (in contradiction to their party policy and record.)
Most people aware of population politics know that the Greens always support the Liberal Party and the Labor Party's big population policies and their policy is mostly a vague one about 'global' population.
Bill Pemberton of the Greens Box Hill, responded with "Yes," and stood out from his fellows by adding the following remark, courageous for a Green:
"Although a Federal issue 2000 people a week coming to live in Melbourne is unsustainable."
Daniel Caffrey of the Greens for Morewell, also responded "Yes." Bruce Lindsay, Greens, Geelong also responded "Yes." Rod May, Greens for Ripon, also responded "Yes." Steven Merriel, Greens for Oakleigh, also responded "Yes." Danel Caffrey, Greens for Morwell, also responded "Yes." Paul Kennedy, Greens Ivanhoe, also responded "Yes." Clem Stanyon, Greens, for Bundoora, also responded "Yes."
Labor Party candidates who said "Yes" in apparent divergence from Party policy.
Steve Hosing, Labor Hastings. This is exceptional for a Labor candidate! Ian Spencer, Australian Labor Party for South East Metropolitan. This is exceptional for a Labor candidate!
Socialist Alliance vehemence against democratic consultation continues
Sean Brocklehurst, Socialist Alliance for Pascoe Vale is typically opposed to a democratic population policy and has written remarks to that effect, also relying on the old racists posing as ecologists argument to discredit the validity of the issue.
#CEECF5;line-height:120%;">I must start by extending a vote of appreciation to the Mayor for agreeing to debate population growth with Kelvin Thomson. Both debaters and the Moderator respectfully acknowledged the original owners of the land upon which the debate took place, the Wurundjeri.
Mayor Doyle took the position that would guarantee that the ongoing dispossession of the Wurundjeri should continue at an ever escalating rate because it was "inevitable". Kelvin Thomson's position was more respectful of the Wurundjeri and took the opposite view.
The great disappointment for many of us was the Mayor's premise that, in his opinion, population growth was inevitable and that his job was to respond to that inevitability in his role as Mayor. So he would not provide a frank opinion on whether he agreed that endless extreme population growth was unreasonable. He avoided the issue and would not concede his responsibility to the people of Melbourne who are being subjected to this ongoing process of dispossession.
The Mayor highlighted that we live in a free society where public policy debate allows this issue to be fully aired. He also explained the difference between his versions of dumb growth and smart growth. He didn't mention that a key issue is the RATE of growth - which is what concerns most people.
He praised the virtues of modern Melbourne compared to the Melbourne of the 70s and effectively claimed that we could not live in the halcyon days of the past.
He made no mention of:
We would not be able to "live in the future" either if Australia continued its autocratically imposed self-colonisation policy indefinitely
At 2.5% per annum, Melbourne's population growth is comparable to those of the most underdeveloped parts of Africa
Unlike such underdeveloped countries where growth is "natural", Australia's extreme rate of growth is due to an autocratic policy of extreme self-colonisation without the consent of the Australian people
The ABC does not support open public policy debate of this issue
Australian homelessness is escalating at a compound rate of 3.2% per annum (doubling time 22 years)
Australian unemployment is escalating at a compound rate of 2.3% per annum (doubling time 30 years)
The above rates, if directly influenced by population growth, are likely to be far higher in Melbourne than the Australian averages
There is significant evidence that population growth is directly implicated in the deterioration of the Australian economy, and that this is directly related to Australia's reduction in philanthropic aid both at home and abroad
The Mayor's (and the ABC's) approach to the issue is analogous to a public figure regarding homicide using semi-automatic weapons as "inevitable" and then proposing that nothing should be done to investigate ways to reduce this rate of homicide.
The Mayor's claim that population growth is inevitable is contrary to his policy of reducing the speed limit in the CBD to 40 kph. He claimed that this was done because nobody dies when hit by a car travelling at 40 kph or less.
The Mayor is the epitomy of what is wrong with the Australian ruling class. He appears genuinely motivated by the desire to do good, yet excludes rational, analytical, "limits to growth" thinking from his zone of responsibility. It was as if he was saying: "I was only obeying orders. The Feds told me it is inevitable. I am innocent. It's not my responsibility." I disagree. I think it is all our responsibilities.
The question is, what right have politicians and public figures to deny reality in this way? Well you might ask.
The Moderator chipped in to say there was no lack of food (in the world) because millions of tonnes of excess food was being distributed to the needy by SecondBite. SecondBite is a good cause that both the Mayor and the Moderator personally support.
So there you have it. By doing good do these two somehow justify denial of a reality that "inevitably" will do far more harm than any limited good they can otherwise do?
Infinite food in an infinite world with infinite population. Such is the nature of the illogical ruling (and moderating) class. Innumeracy does a lot to cripple analytical thinking. Australia's population will continue to double every 40 years or less, and the Mayor effectively advocates this.
On this basis, in 200 years Australia's population will be 736 million if it compounds at 1.8% per year. In 200 years Melbourne's population would be 628 million if it compounds at 2.5% per year. These are the numbers that will dictate Australia's future.
However, after infuriating many in the audience with avoidance of the real issue, the Mayor fully supported a referendum on population growth at the end of question time after the debate. For that glimmer of reasonableness we extend our thanks.
UPDATE: For the film of debate click here. The debate was attended by a 200 plus audience. The Lord Mayor showed courage under fire as he went down in the debate with only a pea-shooter of light-weight fashion statements like how many coffee shops Melbourne has vs a steady stream of deadly facts from Mr Thomson. The editors of candobetter.net are working to bring you a film of the debate, plus commentary and interviews with people who attended, ASAP. Mary Drost is to be resounding congratulated for achieving this important democratic event and also for calling for a referendum on population increase, which both Kelvin Thomson and Lord Mayor Doyle agreed would be desirable.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Kelvin Thomson MP will debate the topic of Victoria's rapid and increasing population growth at Deakin Edge in Federation Square from 5.30-7pm on 13 October 2014. A few months ago Planning Backlash leader, Mary Drost, challenged Melbourne Mayor, Robert Doyle, to debate much loved Federal Member of Parliament, Kelvin Thomson, who retained his federal seat by a huge margin in an election where most other members of his party lost their seats. In 2014 Mr Thomson established Victoria First, a not-for-profit NGO to safeguard and enhance Victoria’s way of life against overpopulation. He is the only politician in Victoria to represent the people against the big business drive for rapid population growth.
The rate of population growth affects people's lives by stressing services, infrastructure, and putting ever-increasing pressure on Victoria's (and Australia's) fragile environment. Residents' action groups, environment groups, flora and fauna protection groups all demonstrate and otherwise engage frequently to try and stop the brutal impacts of state-planned overpopulation on democracy, property rights, and the built and natural environment of this state. Our environmental and biodiversity protection laws are inadequate in the face of the growth onslaught.
The major portion of Australia's population growth is due to the very high rate of planned invited economic immigration in Australia. This is a situation promoted by the states, which like Victoria, all have government websites that seek to attract high numbers of immigrants to this country. Victoria's website is http://www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au/
Successive Victorian governments from the time of Jeff Kennett's have all deliberately brought on the population squeeze that has driven them to expend resources on successive planning blueprints for the state.
The major driver behind population growth is a number of focused beneficiaries which have formed organisations in order to keep those benefits coming. Property developers, mortgage financiers and their mass media representatives predominate in the growth lobby. The mass media has interests in population growth in stimulating business for property dot coms like www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au and is the growth lobby's corporate mouthpiece. Therefore Melbourne's The Age, the Financial Review and the Herald Sun constantly talk about population growth but report it in a biased way, pretending, as the government does, that it is inevitable.
Melbourne’s Mayor Robert Doyle will represent the growth lobby position by saying that growth is inevitable in urban centres and must be 'planned for'. The Mayor’s opponent, Kelvin Thomson, is advocating for a reduction in the rate of population growth, which is currently 1.82% compared with the world average of 1.1%, Russian Federation 0.2%, Korea 0.4%, China 0.5%, France 0.5%, UK 0.6%, US 0.7%, Sweden 0.8%, New Zealand 0.8%, Samoa 0.8%, French Polynesia 1.1%, India 1.2%, Indonesia 1.2%, Canada 1.2%, Haiti 1.4%, Malaysia 1.6%, Singapore 1.6%, West Bank and Gaza 3.0%. Australia's population, at its current rate of growth of 1.8% per annum, would double in 38 years. At 0.5 % per annum, France's would take 138 years to double, but France's rate is more likely to decline, so that its population will never double, whereas Australia's rate has been higher and the government intends to increase it.
The forum will address the pros and cons of population growth. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
Presented by Planning Backlash and a coalition of resident groups.
21 July 2014. Yarra City Council has voted unanimously to join Moreland Council in seeking a judicial review of the Minister for Planning’s approvals for the East West Link and the assessments committee’s recommendation to the Minister.
Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky said that under the Local Government Act Yarra has an obligation to act in the best interests of its community, which is why Council is taking this important action.
“Yarra has long opposed the East West Link because of the absence of a transparent and viable business case and the devastating impact it would have on our local community, local heritage, inner city traffic and many other important aspects impacting liveability”, Cr Fristacky said.
The Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act provides for appeal against the Minister’s decision to the Supreme Court within 21 calendar days of the Minister’s decision. The deadline for lodging an appeal in the Supreme Court is today (21 July 2014).
On July 8, Councillors voted unanimously to reject the State Government’s decision to approve the East West Link contrary to substantial evidence and the many professional recommendations of the Assessment Panel.
• reaffirm the Council’s resolution dated 8 July 2014 which stated its firm opposition to the East West Link project;
• joins Moreland Council in seeking a judicial review of both the Minister's decision under section 77 of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act and the Assessment Committee's recommendation to the Minister made on 30 May 2014, under section 73 of the Act;"
#A9F5D0;line-height:120%;">Congratulations to all who organised, prepared, worked for and took part in the rally yesterday Saturday 28 June . It was a monumental task and a great celebration of community spirit. What was so impressive was the amazing diversity of groups and spread of ages of marchers and participants.
One leader of a community group who has been to lots of protests speaks for many when she commented yesterday after the march in an email:
"That surely was a great rally today in Melbourne, I was in awe during the march from State Library along Swanston St. It was conducted so very well with police on their horses beautifully standing to attention outside Flinders Street station while the speeches continued. Was this really democracy in action?? And how about the beaut little middle-aged lady in a red jacket holding up high a very large poster with a simple six-word message which read STICK YOUR TUNNEL UP YOUR FUNNEL !" Also the writer said: " I have never been to a rally as large, powerful and widely representative. All credit to the organisers and speakers too!
The photos illustrating this article were taken by Jill Quirk. They are of the banner with the iconic message "Trains not Toll Roads" (with the Royal Park banner in the background) and of the children of the Save The Zoo contingent, dressed as Zoo animals gathered outside the State Library waiting for the rally to commence. I would particularly like to thank the Moreland Community Against the East-West Tunnel (MCAT) and their Save The Zoo Children's group. Also Rod Quantock our PPL VIC President who did a Pied Piper act and led the children and Royal Park groups at the front of the march. I understand that Channel 2 and 9 covered the rally but have not yet seen the record.
Protectors of Public Lands Victoria (Inc.)
This morning the Herald Sun reported that Melbourne has experienced its fastest property boom since the turn of the century. The median house price rose by over $100,000 in the past nine months, jumping over six percent each quarter from June last year to the end of March this year. These figures came from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, which is happy about them. But elsewhere in the Herald Sun, Tom Elliott, who has a radio program on 3AW, has a less rosy assessment of the situation. In an article titled "Home horror is a people problem" he pointed out that first home buyers face a housing market that is one of the most expensive on earth. According to the International Monetary Fund, Australian residential real estate prices as a multiple of average incomes are exceeding only those of Canada and Belgium.
And not only was Tom Elliott on to the fact that rising house prices is not a good thing for the young people who get locked out of the chance to have their own home, he was also on to the reason why. "What is the real reason houses are now so expensive?" he asked, and gave the following answer "Look around – its people. More specifically the huge increase in population that Australia, and particularly Melbourne, has experienced over the past twenty years". His conclusion was that until we work out a way to conjure up more land close to the city, reducing population growth is the only sure fire method of denting property prices".
He's absolutely right. And he's certainly right about the huge recent increase in Melbourne's population.
In recent years Melbourne's population has taken off. We have been growing at an unprecedented rate – 200 a day, 1500 a week, 75,000 a year, more or less, year in, year out. Each new population projection for Melbourne is bigger and more outrageous than the one before it. The latest says we'll get to 7.7 million by 2051!
The question we don't spend near enough time thinking about is, is this growth giving us a better city? Now I am not a zealot or an ideologue. I am fundamentally a very middle of the road, practical sort of person. So when I try to work out whether something is a good idea, I look around for examples to compare it with real-life examples. If I can't see how something works in practice, I don't set too much store by it.
Now in the case of thinking about an issue like the size of Melbourne, there seem to me two relevant kinds of example, two kinds of comparisons we can make. One is with other cities, both bigger ones and smaller ones. And one of the advantages of my life is that I've got to see a lot of other cities, both bigger and smaller. And I am absolutely convinced that in terms of living standards and quality of life that the smaller cities have it all over the bigger ones. We do not want to become Manilla or Mumbai, or London or New York.
Let me return to Tom Elliott's last line this morning "Until we work out a way to conjure up more land close to the city...." Of course some planners and policy makers, to say nothing of property developers, think they have achieved just that with their dual occupancies and multi-unit developments and in particular with their high rise. Let's build upwards, they say. The City of Melbourne reported breathlessly that in 2013 it had welcomed 11,000 new residents, making Melbourne City Council the fastest growing municipality in Australia. John Masanauskas wrote in the Herald Sun in May that over the past few years, in the CBD, 90 high-rise towers have been approved.
The advocates for high rise and multi-unit developments say they are necessary to maintain housing affordability. But if this is their purpose, then they are failing miserably. Housing has never been less affordable, as I pointed out earlier. Another thing they say about high rise is that we shouldn't stress so much about quantity – it's quality that matters. Reducing our environmental footprint and living sustainably is all about good design, and efficiency and so on.
To respond to that, let me turn from this morning's Herald Sun to this morning's Saturday Age. Aisha Dow reports that windowless bedrooms exist in almost a quarter of new residential developments in the CBD. A Melbourne City Council study estimates that more than half of the city's tallest apartment buildings over 15 storeys are of poor quality, with common design flaws and lack of natural light. All of the high rise apartment designs were considered either poor or average quality. Common failings include kitchens in hallways, poor storage, lack of ventilation and excessive energy use. The latter point is very significant, because there is a myth around that high rise is environmentally superior.
The Age says some Melbourne architects are so unhappy with the result of buildings they have designed that they have refused to have their name associated with them. The article quotes the Melbourne architect Jon Clements, representing the Australian Institute of Architects, saying "The general feeling among architects is that it's ridiculous to be forcing architects to produce buildings that don't appropriate quality and amenity standards". He is calling for minimum apartment design standards to be legislated. Some people would call minimum quality standards red tape. But I say the absence of them is a recipe for 21st century slums.
I lived in New York as an Australian Parliamentary representative to the United Nations for three months a couple of years ago. Fascinating, certainly, but not as good a city to live in as Melbourne, not even close. Even the relentlessly pro-growth, pro-business, The Economist ranked Melbourne at the time as the most liveable city in the world. New York was 56th. No doubt this has much to do with New York's well documented problems with crime, drugs, unemployment, beggars in the streets, and unaffordable housing. And all this is on a good day. It's intricately designed public and private transport networks have no margin for error and are incredibly vulnerable to adverse events like car accidents, train derailments, or storms. When these happen the whole system seizes up and hundreds of thousands of commuters are left stranded, seething with impotent rage.
Manhattan's intersections carry a myriad of signs warning of $350 fines for motorists who honk their horns. But they honk anyway. They honk constantly. They honk because they are angry, sitting there in gridlock in traffic. Is this really what we want for our city? Is it seriously worth sacrificing the vision of Melbourne's founding fathers of a city of parks, or the former Victorian Liberal Premier Dick Hamer of a city of green wedges, for this?
It is an urban myth that people living in high rise buildings use less energy and have a lower environmental footprint than people in detached houses. In Manhattan people run their air conditioners all day and all night to keep their airless apartments cool. There are no rainwater tanks, no solar PV panels, no people growing their own vegetables. Manhattan is not the self-sufficient, sustainable world of the future. It is a product of a time when we thought the sky was the limit. But the planet does have limits — food, water, energy, carbon.
The second kind of comparison I make is with the past. I remember what Melbourne was like when I was young. I remember what it was like 10 years ago. It is not getting any better. I've already talked about declining housing affordability. It is way harder for my children and their generation to afford a house than it was for my generation or that of my parents. And there's traffic congestion. We had a great deal of discussion about that at the February Victoria First Meeting with Dr Ernest Healy.
And then there is planning. We talked about that in Ringwood in April with Professor Michael Buxon. Developers use doublespeak terms like "housing choice", "sustainable", "exemplary design", and "efficient planning". But these are all code for removing residents rights to meaningfully object to developments in their neighbourhoods. I stand for the right of residents to have a say in the character of the street, the neighbourhood, the community in which they live.
You know they say that Melbourne and Australia used to be greyer and duller before we went all out on population growth. I grew up in the sixties and seventies. Jim Keays has just passed away. We had the Masters Apprentices, Daddy Cool, Skyhooks, Sherbert, Zoot, Chain! Seriously life was not duller or less interesting back then! We had more freedom more choices.
Is life better now for students? With youth unemployment at much higher levels than when I was young, and students being fitted with deregulated course fees and a student debt that goes up at the long term bond rate and gets bigger rather than smaller over time? I don't think so.
Is life better now for older people? With electricity, gas, water and council rates increasing above the rate of CPI, with increasing costs to visit the doctor, with cuts foreshadowed to the rate of pension indexation? I don't think so.
And is the environment in better shape than it used to be? We all know the answer to that one. Our list of endangered species grows ever longer, and climate change threatens more droughts, bushfires, and extreme weather events.
In recent decades Melbourne has grown both upwards and outwards. What have been the consequences? I have given a window into the consequences of growing upwards in talking about Manhattan, including beggars in the streets. And indeed the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle talks at some length about the problem of begging in the city in his Mayor's Message in their latest publication. Not something a Lord Mayor of the 60s or 70s would have needed to talk about.
But there are plenty of consequences from growing outwards too. We've expanded over fertile soils very suitable for vegetable growing. We've expanded into bushfire prone areas. And when fires come, and they always do, everyone wants someone else to pay for the damage — homeowners, insurance companies, councils, taxpayers. No-one thinks they should have to wear the loss. And just last Sunday the Sunday Age reported that thousands of homes in new estates from Grovedale on the outskirts of Geelong to Doreen in Melbourne's north, and including homes in the municipalities of Hume, Melton and Wyndham, have been built on highly reactive volcanic clay soils on "waffle slab" foundations. Soil movements under a home's foundations are causing walls to crack, doors and windows to jam, and floors to tilt. Homeowners now facing ruinous home renovation and legal bills will not think that housing has become more affordable for them as a result of greedy and short-sighted behaviour by property developers and planning authorities.
This is also an issue about quality of life and mental health of communities. Health experts have pointed out clear health benefits from exposure to nature. Children build up their immune system by playing with soil and being in the real world rather than indoors. What do you call a kid in a backyard? A free range kid. Joggers and walkers and cyclists have been found to derive mental health benefits from being doing their exercise outdoors rather than in a gym. Patients in a hospital recover more quickly if they have a view out their window of nature, rather than a wall, to look at as they convalesce. And retaining green spaces and trees and vegetation helps keep our city cool, and reduce the urban heat island effect. Most of you will notice on the weather report at night how Melbourne is warmer than surrounding areas. This is because of the extent of heat absorbing concrete, brick and bitumen we have in the city. This might feel like a good thing in June, but it isn't when we have the heatwaves in January, February or March. They kill people. We should be doing what we can to stop Melbourne from overheating.
We spend endless amounts of time on our grey infrastructure — the freeways, bridges, drainage and so on. We need to put more effort into protecting and advancing our GREEN infrastructure of parks and trees and vegetation, and our BLUE infrastructure of creeks and beaches and lakes and waterways. We shouldn't see this as an environmental issue, as if it's some optional extra that we can afford to care about some years but not others. It is a health issue. And our health is a core issue by any yardstick. The OECD says that health is, globally, the highest ranked issue of public concern.
The things that we used to be able to afford — free education, free health care, a home of your own, a say in what happens in our street — now we are told we can't afford them anymore. Well if we can't, we're not better off, we're worse off.
We need to show the same foresight the founders of this city showed when it was initially designed. They left us with a city with open space, extensive tram and train networks, and liveable suburbs supported by extensive local infrastructure in the form of schools, hospitals and social services. We should leave a legacy for future generations that we, and they, can be proud of.
#D8E9F4;text-align:center;margin-bottom:4px;">Embedded video of speech and transcript inside.
#FFFF66;line-height:120%;">Why is Melbourne's population projected to skyrocket, all of a sudden? What is driving this? Why are people confused between refugees and economic immigration. Why can't we communicate and organise in order to bring the government into line? Why do our governments ignore the people?
#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.
#D4EBF9;float:right;margin-left:6px;padding:4px;text-align:right;">Publishing on Candobetter.net is a lot surer than writing letters to the Editor at the Age, or the Herald Sun, or the Australian or the Fin Review. Try it some time.
Publishing on Candobetter.net is a lot surer than writing letters to the Editor at the Age, or the Herald Sun, or the Australian or the Fin Review. Try it some time.
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.
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.
#FFEB46;line-height:120%;">Videos of KELVIN THOMSON and all panel speakers have been added to this article. Open mic part now published here too. Today, June 14, 2014, a packed hall with people standing at the back in the Hawthorn Arts Centre voted for a national plebiscite to ask the people what size population they wanted. The forum interacted with a panel of four speakers: Kelvin Thomson, MP for Wills; Sheila Newman, Evolutionary Sociologist and Candobetter.net editor and writer; Clifford Hayes, former Bayside Council Mayor and planning activist; and William Bourke, Leader of the Sustainable Population Party. There was a queue for the open microphone and the meeting closed later than expected. All motions passed with an overwhelming show of hands.
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.”
The following article by wildlife biologist Hans Brunner comments on an unrealistic environmental policy statement from Frankston Council. Yet again, an Australian local council behaves as if it believes it can have its environmental cake and eat it. Surely the councilors and staff at Frankston are not really this naive. But if this isn't naivety, what is it? Some think that most people who have responsibility for environment in government mistakenly believe it is about a marketing exercise to develop 'customer' satisfaction; they really don't have a clue about thermodynamics or by what the environment is, that it includes nature, and that our impacts are enormous. - (Candobetter.net editor)
“Reasons for the strategy”
On page 11, under, "reasons for this strategy", the Council admits that “Human demand for natural resource is 2.7 global hectares per person, whereas the planet only has 1.8 gha bio-capacity available per person.”
This says it all.
Yet, Australia's and Frankston's population is still rapidly increasing, due to government policies to boost numbers. As a result, Frankston is under siege from developers in order to accommodate another projected16,000 people. Surprisingly, the council seems not to have a problem with this and so it was not included in their strategy for “Greening our Future”. From experience I can say that the Council stand on the Green Wedge is shaky at best.
P. 22-23. The glowing description here exaggerates and misrepresents Frankston’s environmental situation. Remarkably, there is no mention of the damage done to wildlife through the enormous loss of habitat when the Peninsula link was built. Frankston’s largest wildlife corridor was destroyed.
P. 31. Frankston Council claims to be “ensuring that all native wildlife are protected from cats, dogs, foxes and rats, intrusive human intervention such as bikes, fishing and unsupervised parting.” In spite of this we are still rapidly losing wildlife species and especially the nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot. Furthermore, it was the grass roots people who had to fight extremely hard to keep bikes, fishing and dog walking out of the Frankston Reservoir Reserve. This was after the council invited people to say what they would like to do in this reserve, engineering responses that resulted in asking for bike riding, dog walking fishing, canoeing, jogging, parting and many many more such activities, instead of simply being able to walk and enjoy nature without molesting it. I hope they never do this again!
P. 32. Instead of “Further opportunities to protect wildlife,” it should read, 'Urgent and Realistic Actions should be taken'. This does not seem to happen.
P. 40. Whilst stating that people pollute creeks and water ways, the Council fails to warn that if more people come to Frankston, this will exacerbate the already serious problem.
P. 42. The Council agree that water is already a scarce commodity. However they don’t forecast that an increasing population will make it even more scarce. I feel that the less water everyone uses, the more people the government invites to share what remains.
P. 54. More housing, however environmentally planned in construction, will, in most cases, still create the loss of green space and wildlife habitat. It is not the solution to 'greening our future' and these negative consequences have not been mentioned in this document.
P. 56. Advocates bike use rather than car use. Elderly people cannot ride a bike and most people with heavy shopping bags cannot easily use a bike or public transport (when it is available). They have to use their car.
P. 61. Asking to reduce consuming is OK but there is a limit. Asking to restrict consuming and then promote an increase in the number of consumers is hypocritical and defeats the purported purpose of reducing environmental impact.
P. 65. To increase business and promote capital growth is definitely not greening our future.
P. 72. Under “Targets” there is no mention of protecting and enhancing of biodiversity. It seems that, for the Council, nature has nothing to do with “Greening our Future.”
P. 74-76. 'Indicators for biodiversity' fails to recognise or admit to the drastic and ongoing loss of biodiversity. This is especially the case of the Bandicoots in Frankston, but also for many other species less conspicuous, such as moths and butterflies etc. I have never heard the Council complaining about the loss of wildlife. Maybe my hearing is bad.
P. 84. Just to adapt to climate change is not good enough. However, climate change is a worldwide issue and Frankston is only a small piece of a jig-saw puzzle and has no influence in reducing global warming except to set an example in how to slow it a little.
Sadly, these proposed efforts will really only infinitesimally slow down the process of the eventual disaster. The council should come to terms with, and the public should be made aware, of the seriousness of the issues.
P. 87 “Education”. Everyone, including school children, should be informed of the truth about our dim future. Young people have to know the reality of what we are leaving them with to inherit. Finally, while Frankston Council appears to be trying to do their best, they should not mislead the community with a false security by using the word SUSTAINABILITY and make people believe that whatever the Council recommends is good enough to save the world. Far from it!
Finally, I need to add that there should definitely be no dog walking in Nature Conservation Reserves especially such as the Pines.
Saturday June 14th at 2.00pm Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Rd Hawthorn, Chandelier Room (Melways 45 D10)
Public forum with Kelvin Thomson, William Burke, Sheila Newman, Clifford Hayes and numerous community groups. Sustainable Population Australia & Victoria First are hosting a panel discussion and open mike on Melbourne's population future. The event will be filmed to use as a document to show how Melbourne people feel about overpopulation. "Melbourne's population growth is treated by the media, by governments and by planners as though it is inevitable, giving the impression that the fate of Melbourne is to be a city of 7 to 8 million by mid-century. What the public seldom hears is that Melbourne's huge growth rate is not inevitable, nor that growth of the population does not magically stop at mid-century unless changes to existing trends are made. If present growth rates continued, Melbourne would be a city of about 20 million by the end of the century. The truth is that Melbourne's future could be largely in our own hands. This meeting is a chance for the people of Melbourne to question the ideology that "Melbourne must keep growing"" (Jill Quirk, President SPA Vic & Tas)."Melbourne has been growing by 200 people a day, 1,500 a week and 75,000 each year for some time now. The latest projections are that this rapid growth will escalate still further. But Melbournians are not asked whether this is what we really want for our city." (Kelvin Thomson, President, Victoria First)
Federal MP and President of Victoria First, Hon. Kelvin Thomson;
Clifford Hayes, former Bayside Mayor
Planning activist, Sheila Newman, population author and editor of candobetter.net
William Bourke, President of Sustainable Population Party.
Please come and have your say!
Contact: Jill Quirk, President, Sustainable Population Australia,VicTas branch
vic [ AT ] population.org.au ph. 0409742927 or Julianne Bell, Secretary, Victoria
First jbell5 [ AT ] bigpond.com ph. 0408022408
#F6D8CE;line-height:120%;">The Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel will be setting up tables to lobby those attending the ALP State Conference this weekend at the Moonee Valley Racecourse to reject any contract(s) signed before the State election to build the East West Link. MCAT members will distribute and discuss the attached flyer that argues: The absence of a mandate for the project, the lack of transparency surrounding it and the serious flaws being identified at the hearings before the Assessment Panel lend support to the view that the responsible course of action is to publicly state that any contracts entered into will not be upheld by Labor.
East West Link – The Case for Labor to Terminate the Contracts
The majority of Victorians are opposed to the East West tunnel project. It is not the winner that Denis Napthine had hoped. The public has made it clear that it believes infrastructure spending should be directed towards public transport not roads. They are becoming aware that the tunnel project is in fact a massive misdirection of public funds which does not make economic sense, which will not resolve traffic congestion on the Eastern Freeway or elsewhere, and which will have the effect of denuding much needed funds for public transport infrastructure.
• the absence of a mandate to enter into such a massive project;
• the lack of transparency in the Government’s handling of the project;
• the fact that the whole process has been conducted in secrecy and haste, and
• that it is now clear that the process being conducted is the product of a government acting in bad faith to bind its successors to a contract, which in the ordinary course of planning processes would not be signed until 2015 we believe that Labor’s commitment to honour the contracts if signed is no longer a fiscally responsible nor electorally wise course of action.
Labor therefore needs to state upfront that it will not uphold the contract for the Napthine government’s EW Link proposal because there has been no attempt to define the project in the context of a future for the city that the community wants.
Accordingly, the ALP needs to come up with a visionary comprehensive 21st Century transport infrastructure plan that is economically and environmentally sustainable and which reflects global best practice.
Arguments about sovereign risk are misleading. Visiting ANU Professor Nick Sneddon, Australia’s foremost expert on government contracts has made it clear that there are no legal impediments to state governments cancelling contracts entered into by their predecessors and believes that any compensation arising would be minimal.
A statement before contracts are signed that the ALP will not continue with the contracts will make the situation completely clear to tenderers.
The absence of a mandate for the project, the lack of transparency surrounding it and the serious flaws being identified at the hearings before the Assessment Panel lend support to the view that the responsible course of action is to publicly state that any contracts entered into will not be upheld by Labor.
There are electoral benefits for Labor in taking a stronger stand against the project. The community is hungry for a well-planned and fully comprehensive public transport plan. Labor can mark itself out as a truly alternative government and can damage the current Government by exposing what is essentially a shonky deal being rushed through the Parliament. Investment in comprehensive public transport will create more employment than Labor's target numbers.
Labor must announce that it is not prepared to support this dubious and discredited project, which will be a burden for generations to come.
#A9F5D0;line-height:120%;">Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2.15PM Saturday 10 May 2014, Flemington Community Centre: This is an important AGM as the election looms plus the climax of the great East West Link Toll Road battle in which the future of Melbourne is at stake. A question now on everyone's lips is, 'Will the ALP - the State Opposition - listen to the public and renege on the East West Link contracts should they win the election?' (Inside: download speech: "Can Governments break contracts" by Nick Seddon.)
When: 2 pm for a 2:15 pm start on Saturday 10 May 2014
Where: Flemington Community Centre in Debneys Park, 25 Mt Alexander Road, Flemington.
Guest Speaker: Kenneth Davidson will speak on "Kleptomania and the Contract State: the political threat to Melbourne’s liveability."
Kenneth is a senior columnist with the Age and a leading writer on economics and public policy. See his Age articles over the past year on State Government contracts and the question of "sovereign risk" also on the follies of the proposed East West Link Toll Road project. His latest Age article dated 25 April 2014 is entitled "Sovereign risk does not apply to Victoria's desalination plant".
Also see attached article "Can Governments Break Contracts?" This is a paper by Nick Seddon, adjunct professor, ANU College of Law, presented at the "Melbourne Forum on the EastWest Link - 16 April 2014"
Transport: Melways Map Reference 43 B1. There is ready access by tram, train and bike. There is parking on site. (This may be limited, however, due to another event on the site over lunch time. If the car park is full turn left out of the Flemington Community Centre carpark onto Mt Alexander Road and go left again into Victoria Street where there are usually car spaces. Walk back to the Flemington Community Centre across Debneys Park.)
Future campaign strategies concerning the East West Link and the contracts will be discussed at our meeting, We welcome everyone interested in the EW Link to the meeting!
Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
PO Box 197
Videos inside. Professor Buxton's speech and comments were hair-raising because he acknowledged our dire circumstances. He also confirmed a lot about how little government listens to citizens. Much of this comes out in the speech itself, but more comes out in the comments in the second film. We hope to find time to do a better commentary, with quotes, to whet your appetite and help you distill the information in the films. We would appreciate any help in transcribing the films and possibly subtitling the second because it is at times indistinct due to failure to remember to bring an extension cord for the camcorder. For the moment, however, we are mainly bringing these films to people who will find what Dr Buxton has to say most instructive.
Professor Buxton spoke of the historical government way of coping with population growth as waiting for a build- up and then a response to the added population. He pointed out that population growth now is adding millions much quicker than in the past. Measures need to be taken to limit population increases or to better accommodate them. It is certain that densities in our cities will increase. Investment capital is very interested in 14-16 storey buildings and it is eyeing off main roads for this. Expanding our cities outwards is not very attractive and there are big trade-offs for those who decide to live there due to the lack of services.
State governments develop new plans about every 6 years which is not conducive to long term planning.
Prof Buxton outlined the new zones in the planning scheme and said that the councils’ (protective) responses to the zones had been described by the Property Council as “locking up” the areas. Prof Buxton pointed out that the current government has not divested itself of Melbourne 2030 and has identified huge areas of land for population growth. Basically the new plans are just superimposed and added to Melbourne 2030. Prof. Buxton referred to cities in Europe especially in Scandinavia with stable populations and without all the concomitant problems of population growth, which our city and others in Australia suffer from. Melbourne is not the norm, and developers are not paying the costs of population growth. A few people are getting very rich while the rest of us pay, he pointed out.
Developers want to get into the middle established suburbs, demolish houses and build medium density. We stand to lose our heritage (pre WW 2 housing) and space. Prof. Buxton said there are alternative sites to accommodate population growth, land which has not been built on which would be a far better alternative, if we must have massive population growth (and he said he preferred we did not) to drastically changing Melbourne’s established suburbs.
In his speech, Professor Buxton had referred to the theory of focused benefits and diffuse costs as an explanation for high immigration persisting in the face of democratic objections. Sheila Newman mentioned that this was the theory of her 2002 research thesis, called The Growth Lobby in Australia and its absence in France. She said that since that time she had noticed how hard it was for students in universities to get support to do research against population growth and she asked Professor Buxton if he had the same perception that the increasing influence of the private sector on universities meant that there was little opportunity to question the established ideology. Professor Buxton agreed that this was the trend.
Questions and comments to Prof. Buxton included the importance of the back yard, employment, the effect of population growth and expansion of infrastructure on balance of payments. In addition people referred to the lack of power of local government and the way that State government drives growth. One person said he had the impression that the government was in a panic, responding to problems willy-nilly.
Michael Buxton pointed out at the end that we do not have a good choice and variety of new housing. Melbourne is now taking the worst from both Asian and US cities. He made the point that the Labor Government has recently been returned in SA on the basis of Premier Jay Weatherall’s public assessment of Adelaide as being a good sized city needing more infrastructure, rather than needing a greater population.
Editors at candobetter.net have not yet been able to confirm this. We would appreciate some opinions and more information.
Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle has called for an end to “dumb growth”, saying the Victorian capital needs to “stop spreading at the edges like some sort of stain”. The former Victorian opposition leader told a seminar on future visions for Melbourne that he was alarmed by new communities springing up in the outer suburbs, marooned from jobs and public transport.
Cr Doyle said the only “smart” way to achieve a “big Melbourne” was to inject new homes into established suburbs and the city's extensive urban renewal areas, such as E-Gate and Fisherman's Bend. He said the City of Melbourne believed an extra 3 million people could comfortably be housed within the current boundaries of the city.
The embedded Table shows that Melbourne, Queensland and Western Australia have achieved Developing World status in the rapid population growth stakes.
With the exception of Singapore and the UAE, which are wealthy City States with limited cost of infrastructure expansion; only Developing World states have higher rates of population growth than some parts of Australia. Hallmarks of such states include:
GDP per Capita roughly 4% that of Australia's
Extreme rates of population growth due to chaotic rates of childbirth
Extreme wealth in the hands of a few
Lack of human rights
Lack of social welfare
Lack of health care
Rapidly degrading environments
It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see some conceptual similarities between Australia and these states. It is all a matter of degree. A common factor, of course, being extreme population growth. Australia's is autocratically imposed on us all by the Federal Government.
The Mayor doesn't control the rate of population growth. However limits to growth do exist. He says the "City of Melbourne" viewed an extra 3 million as feasible, but did not mention a time span; when the expansion would slow or stop; or who has the right to impose that kind of growth on Melbournians. That all seems to be part of the "Vision" which is accepted without question; like subservience to an autocratic rule by "High Priests of Growth". No worries mate; we can just keep building more housing, on less land,............forever. And if the building industry slows down we can get jobs digging holes, in Western Australia, Queensland and NSW.............forever.
Housing might be crammed into the Greater Melbourne area; but with an economy geared towards this kind of development in the short term; where will the next 3 million people be housed? And the next 3 million after that?
In the long run, endless plans for massive population growth simply don't work. It's not sustainable. So why not admit it now and plan for slowing down?
Any form of rapid population growth, without questioning its long term feasibility, is "dumb growth", because it is a form of procrastination-in-denial. Ultimately the responsibility for change lies with the Federal Government.
#F8E0E6;line-height:120%;">Chair of the Plan Melbourne Committee, Professor Roz Hansen, has been quoted saying that the government is spending $6 billion to $8 billion on a road solution that belongs in the 1960s or 1970s and that ‘it is not smart, innovative or progressive thinking’. She is thus now in step with majority opinion among Melbourne's community groups. Attendance at the protest today was representitive of the broader community, comprising many members of important community groups, plus the Greens, Opposition politicians, and local government figures. Julianne Bell of Protectors of Public Lands Vic, has been battling to protect one of Melbourne's most important public parks, Royal Park, since 1996, in particuar from the regularly recurring attempts of successive Victorian governments to build the East West Link which would destroy what remains of Royal Park. This is an affront to democracy and would be the theft of one of Mebourne's greatest assets.
High Noon for Napthine
The event took place today on Melbourne's Parliament House steps at 12 noon. Master of ceremonies, Rod Quantock introduced the main speakers - Jackie Fristacky, Mayor of Yarra, Jan Chantry, Mayor of Moonee Ponds, Tony Morton, president Public Transport Users' Association, Richard Foster, Melbourne City councillor, Greg Barber, Leader , Greens Party Victoria MP, Richard Wynne Shadow Minister for Public Transport , Brian Tee, Shadow Minister for Planning , Joe Edwards,West Parkville resident, Keith Fitzgerald, Collingwood resident. Members of community groups announced future events regarding the East West Link campaign.
Motion carried and taken to Parliament House
The following resolution, addressed to the Premier of Victoria Denis Napthine:
"That this rally wishes to convey to you our total opposition to the East West Link Toll Road project and our support for funding instead of desperately needed public transport projects namely - the Melbourne Metro and the Doncaster, Rowville, and Airport Rail Lines" moved by Julianne Bell and seconded by Rod Quantock was carried unanimously and the message was relayed to staff at Parliament House.
Stop the Tunnel - Snap protest at Parliament
Thursday 12 December is a significant day in the ongoing battle over the East West Link Toll Road for Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc (PPL VIC) to host the snap protest. It is the last day of the sitting of Parliament before it goes into recess and is our last chance to point out again to the Government the folly of proceeding with the project which will signify damage to the environment, reduction of Royal Park to Ground Zero, heritage desecration, destruction of residential amenity and reckless expenditure of $8b on a mammoth roads project - the biggest in Victorian history. In addition it is D-Day for public submissions on the Comprehensive Impact Statement on the East West Link.
The protest kicked off at 12:15 pm on the steps of Parliament and heard from Members of Parliament (ALP and Greens), the Mayors of the Cities of Yarra and Moonee Valley and a number of Councillors plus of course the resident, protest and community groups who have led the great tide of opposition to the East West Link and have been advocating for public transport, notably the Doncaster Rail Link. The Public Transport Users’ Association spoke on their latest campaign “Public Transport not Traffic.”
Julianne Bell, the Secretary of PPL VIC commented as follows:
“News today reports that the Government’s own advisory Committee on “Plan Melbourne”, the new blue print for the city for 40 years, has resigned after having denounced the East West Road Link.
The Chair of the Committee Professor Roz Hansen is quoted in the media as saying that government was spending $6 billion to $8 billion on a road solution that belonged in the 1960s or 1970s and that ‘it is not smart, innovative or progressive thinking’.
A large group of representatives of community organisations were at the City of Melbourne meeting on Tuesday night and actually heard her full, electrifying speech. This is reflective of the lack of confidence in the East- West Link project being expressed right across Melbourne. ”
Public left in the dark to make submissions
The community is having difficulty trying to write submissions on the C.I.S of the East West Link as, to date, planning for the project appears to have been undertaken on the run so the community does not know its full impact and information has only been released by slow drip. The Linking Melbourne Authority even added another off ramp – the Ormond Road off ramp – just 2 weeks ago which will affect residences in Ascot Vale and overshadow Essendon Community Gardens.
No mandate, no democracy
Community groups continue to point out that the Napthine Government has no mandate for this tollway as the Liberal Government went to the last election on a public transport platform, including promises to build the Doncaster Rail. The rally will present Premier Napthine with resolutions from the meeting which will undoubtedly include the demand “Stop The Tunnel” and “Trains Not Toll Roads”.
Jill Quirk of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Victorian and Tasmanian Branch, writes about the many problems of Plan Melbourne. Indeed there are so many problems that it is crazy to go ahead. But most of us realize that the Planners and Ministers behind Plan Melbourne intend to just go on driving bulldozers until something bigger stops them or they run out of oil. There is no plan B and so no room to listen to comment. This is a real problem for the rest of us because we live here.
This graph comes from a website maintained by Sydneysider, Matt Mushalik. The title of the page is Australia beats them all in oil imports. Matt's graphs show that Australia is consuming oil at a profligate rate in the light of our need to import the stuff and compared to the rate of many other countries with larger populations and sophisticated economies. In an illustration at the bottom of the page he links this unwise consumption pattern to avoidable building of new infrastructure. He writes in 2011 but the current government is just as bad.
A 1950s plan for a 21st century problem that still could be avoided
Plan Melbourne is a strategic plan to accommodate very high population growth to the middle of the century, a mere 34 years away. A major flaw in this narrowly based document is that it is working on a projected population for Melbourne of 6.5 million, yet at current growth-rates, the population would actually be 8 million in 34 years time. By the end of this century these current trends would give a population for Melbourne in the order 20million plus – the size of Beijing now.
What is really needed is a vision for beyond 2050 and the sense to change direction before it is too late.
It should be the responsibility of the government through Plan Melbourne to paint the picture with graphic accuracy of what sort of future we face – and the lack of choices entailed - if population growth does in fact continue at the rate it has been in recent years.
The expected populations of the following Melbourne regions: central sub-region, western region and northern regions, are expected to rise by up to 100% by 2050; the Eastern region by 30% and the southern region by up to 50%.
These are drastic changes in population density and numbers. Melbourne will be very crowded. There will be very little choice in how most people live or survive. In fact these levels of population increase will make many parts of Melbourne quite unrecognizable. Virtually no link will remain to the past. It is known that rapid change in surroundings depresses and disorients people. This level of growth is so huge that it can’t fail to do this.
No good government should risk our lives like this
One elephant in the room that cannot be ignored is that growth does not stop in 2050. Unless measures are taken to reduce overseas immigration, the wheels are now set in motion for the ever-increasing population growth trajectory to intersect with ever decreasing fossil fuel resources, rising sea-levels and weather extremes. This is like bungee-jumping today’s and future generations on the end of the same frayed old rope over an increasingly shallow pond. No good government should risk our lives like this.
Population growth does not pay for itself and we are asked to foot the bill
The plan articulates a "pipeline of infrastructure projects". Funding measures or “value capture” are – predictably - paid for by the residents. It is misleading to list current residents as beneficiaries of infrastructure projects which are really for ongoing population growth, 60% of which already comes from overseas immigration.
I must point out that residents are not really beneficiaries of infrastructure which is built to service larger populations. Normally in the more stable populations experienced by residents of so many European cities, infrastructure planning is about maintenance of existing infrastructure – at a rate of about 2.0% per annum of infrastructure needs replacement. People to accept this as reasonable because we all understand “fair wear and tear.”
Our current rate of population growth however doubles this requirement.
Property value ‘uplifts’ a drain on productivity and real wealth
It is mentioned in the document that with new infrastructure residents get the benefit of “Property value uplift.” This is of absolutely no consequence unless the person is selling a house to live somewhere else lacking infrastructure and which has not had a “value uplift” from new infrastructure. “To make this clearer; If I only have one house and sell it for a high price, I still have to buy another house to live in and both prices will probably be inflated, with further costs in conveyancing.”
Furthermore such ‘value uplifts’ inflate costs of living and doing business for buyers and renters. Australia’s extreme rent, land and housing prices erode profit margins, raise cost of living, and cause upwards pressure on wages. Whilst workers may want higher wages, this is a drag on productivity if those wages simply go in paying rent and mortgages. The only people who benefit from high housing prices are those with more than one house, including professional developers. These people are not in the majority and, in another system, their activities would be construed – accurately - as a cost to the community.
Only certaintly constant upheaval
The document talks about providing “certainty” to businesses and residents about where development should be. In the context of never ending population growth, infrastructure expansion and layering, the concept of certainty is Orwellian for citizens. The only certainty for residents in a situation of explosive continuous population growth is uncertainty. This is a very poor substitute for local roots and empowerment in a stable and tranquil environment.
Certainty has more positive connotations for those who are professionally invested in the “pipeline of infrastructure projects”. Plan Melbourne will, it seems improve certainty for the companies who specialize in the industries that make, deploy and market infrastructure.
It seems like a never ending process of population growth and added infrastructure. It wouldn’t be so bad even with the costs to the population if “infrastructure” did not involve heavy losses of nature, livability, space, and peace whenever they go ahead.
Destructive consequences of growthist planning
Continuous development and growth is inherently extremely stressful, unpleasant, destabilizing and destructive of established communities.
Peninsula LinkTake for instance the Peninsular Link which decimated the pre-settlement property of Westerfield. This is a huge loss to the people of Victoria into future generations. It can never be restored.
East-West LinkThe other infrastructure project which is encountering substantial opposition from the community, especially those living in the area, is the East-West Link. This piece of road necessitates demolishing people’s houses, destroying the wetlands of Royal Park and bisecting the park especially during construction. All this pain, despite the fact that any planned relief of congestion will soon be overtaken by more population growth.
The East-West Link will remove a large proportion of a public asset from the public forever. Furthermore, this asset was a crucial part of the original forward thinking design of the Melbourne settlement, which sought to ensure open natural spaces for the general public. It was also a major corroboree site. Its historical significance seems to have been completely overlooked. Adding insult to injury, we who are to be deprived of it will be made to pay for our loss.
The avoidable problem of water shortage coyly called a‘challenge’
In the document the “challenge” of providing water (for an endlessly growing population) was mentioned. This is not a challenge but a depressing consequence. The Sugarloaf pipeline was a piece of infrastructure which also encountered huge opposition in the area from which water was to be taken. What would one expect? Such projects displace and dispossess stable communities which, in the line of right to self-government, ought to have more say, and the possibility of veto, in the matter of population engineering that results in this social and environmental disorganization and damage.
The construction of the Wonthaggi desal plant, removed part of Victoria’s natural heritage, causing huge destruction, protests, tears, and anguish.What more blights on our landscape are in the infrastructure pipeline?
Only economists could pretend that oil depletion is not a problem
Returning to the notion of “vision.” Australia’s economy in the living memory of all of us has been fueled by cheap oil. This has reached or is reaching the peak in its production, globally. The document cites oil reserves in Gippsland, but Australia is a net importer of oil. Whatever is found in Gippsland should be treated as rare and precious and something we should bequeath to future generations.
The Victorian short term government should lengthen its horizon. Thirty seven years is not a long time really. It should try to see at least to the end of the current century.
With falling availability of cheap oil, road networks will be outdated and redundant. The inevitable loss of arable land around Melbourne with continuing population growth and consequent infrastructure development, will put an unprepared and unsuspecting relatively newly arrived urbanized population in serious peril with respect to food.
Plan Melbourne’s dishonest presentation of population growth
Plan Melbourne treats high population growth as though it were inevitable. It is not. 60% of our population growth is from overseas migration. The Victorian government, rather than reassuring the Federal government that it can accommodate whatever level of growth is dictated by immigration levels, should tell it how it is, that people are suffering and will suffer more.
We need more effective local government representation
This is also where local government should play a role. Local government is closer to the locality and the local community (by definition) and is in a better position to respond directly and democratically to local feedback and capacity. It is unfortunate that the state has largely overshadowed the power and role of local government because people are maintained now at a distance and not listened to or taken seriously, with market principles (Coasian economic principles and Pareto superiority ideology) overtaking self-government, social responsibility and environmental connectedness.
It is quite telling that the document talks of protected areas within municipalities and those destined for more development and densification. It seems from reading the document that these latter are actually not protected. Don’t the people living in these areas deserve protection from loss of their amenity, from overcrowding, noise etc.? If fifty per cent of Melbourne will be “Neighbourhood residential” that means that fifty per cent will be unprotected!
Plan Melbourne’s Blinkered view of the future on course for Dystopia
The overall sense from Plan Melbourne is that it expects the future to be similar to the past, except bigger. It seems to be working on the assumption of a supply of new arrivals and a supply of infrastructure projects without reference to resource depletion and environmental entropy. This is the Archilles heel of modern economics; the externalizing of environmental and social costs – that is, pretending that they are not there. The document for submissions minimizes input on all political, social and environmental matters and on the most significant of all – the upwards social engineering of population growth.
Whether or not the government wants to hear about them, there are environmental and social costs and it is the duty of government to listen to the people on these matters.
The 2013 State of the Environment report states that greenhouse indicators are up, the condition of fresh water aquatic systems is deteriorating as is the fate of threatened species and native vegetations. Of 30 indicators covered by the report, 16 were poor, five were unknown and two were unassessed. The previous SOE report put down to population pressure most of its devastating findings. We are ruining our natural environment with population growth, but we could stabilise our population this century if we tried. If Plan Melbourne goes ahead, we will not stabilise our population this century, but instead will be like a contemporary third world overpopulated country. Plan Melbourne facilitates this dystopia.
Based on a submission by Jill Quirk, President Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian Branch
#E0FFE0;line-height:120%;">A report released by the Federal Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics underlines just how inadequate and incompetent Melbourne’s recent planning has been.
The report analysed population growth, jobs growth and commuter flows in Australia’s four largest cities. It found:
1) Melbourne was the only city in which jobs growth in the outer suburbs had failed to keep pace with the population boom. Parts of outer Melbourne now have less than one job for every three working people, forcing residents to commute further for employment.
2) Eighty-four per cent of outer Melbournians drive to work, the highest level among Australia’s biggest cities, and just 9% use public transport.
Monash University Professor of Public Transport Graham Currie said any city growing in population without expanding public transport was planning for decline. He said “the future cupboard of public transport projects is looking bare” and that “If population grows by 25% but services remain essentially static, we have a per capita decline of 25 per cent in service levels. We are not responding to growth. Rather we are going backwards”.
This report reveals as a fraud the idea that Melbourne’s rapid population growth is okay. Jobs are far removed from homes, and workers are not using public transport, leading to traffic congestion, long commutes, and reduced quality of life for everybody – a planning debacle.
It’s all very well to say that what is needed is better planning, but expanding the urban growth boundary and high rise and urban consolidation have both given us the outcomes we have today. The better planning never happens, and it won’t as long as Melbourne’s population continues to grow by 200 a day, 1500 a week, 75,000 each year.