Response to new Centre for Population report: Australia must stabilise its population below 30 million to stop the growing impacts on climate and biodiversity, as well as preserve quality of life, according to the environment organisation Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). SPA president, Ms Jenny Goldie, was commenting on the latest report from the ‘Centre for Population’, the Treasury office which advises the federal government on population. Their report is due to be released Friday 6 January.
A recent opinion poll by The Australian Centre for Population Research (TAPRI) found that 70% of Australians do not wish to return to pre-Covid immigration levels of 240,000 per year or anything like this number.
In contrast, an Essential Research (ER) poll suggested that a declining proportion of respondents were concerned about immigration levels being too high.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has welcomed the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that show population growth has fallen to near zero (0.1 per cent) despite an apparent baby boom. Yesterday, the ABS released figures for the year ending March 31. Australia’s population grew by 35,700 or 0.14 per cent. Annual natural increase was 131,000 and net overseas migration (NOM) was -95,300. This news came not long after NSW Health announced more than 19,000 babies were born in NSW hospitals from April to June this year, a nine per cent increase on the same period last year.
Victoria is also experiencing a baby boom with the maternity system stretched to “breaking point”, according to the Victorian health minister, Martin Foley.
“News that our overall population growth has dropped to almost zero is very welcome,” the president of SPA Ms Jenny Goldie says. “In the initial period of border closures, the large number of people leaving the country compared to those entering meant NOM was negative, though not quite enough to offset natural increase of 131,000. In the current year, growth will be higher since most of those that would leave Australia have done so already.
“Now is the perfect time to dispense with the Big Australia goal of perpetual population growth promoted by big business. Instead let’s aim for a stable and sustainable population. These new figures prove that it can be done.
“The annual growth figures from pre-Covid years, which sometimes exceeded 400,000, were simply not sustainable in environmental, social or economic terms.
“Environmentally, population growth causes loss of natural habitat through urban expansion and water diversion, and increases pollution, not least carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
“Socially, infrastructure never kept pace with the needs of a rapidly expanding population, and led to undue crowding in schools, congestion and longer hospital waiting times.
“Economically, workers suffered wage stagnation and capital was diverted from wealth- producing enterprises to speculating on rising land values, creating Australia’s housing unaffordability crisis.
“This is the time when we must review honestly the costs and benefits of the non-humanitarian parts of our migration program. We should never return to the days of immigration-fuelled high population growth,” says Ms Goldie.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) believes there is nothing to fear from the downward projection of population size in the Inter-Generational Report (IGR) from 40 million to 38.8 million by 2061. National President Jenny Goldie says what is to be feared are the environmental, social and economic cost of adding another 13 million people to the population.
“The IGR fails to take into account the costs of infrastructure which amounts to at least $100,000 in public money for each new person, be they immigrant or born here,” says Ms Goldie.
“The IGR fails to take into account the environmental costs of urban encroachment on natural bushland, threatening iconic species such as the koala, and adding to carbon emissions,” she says. “It fails to address the social costs of crowding, housing unaffordability and longer waiting times that generally accompany population growth.
“Having more people generally means a bigger GDP but not necessarily GDP per capita, which is a better measure of living standards. In fact, GDP is well past its use-by date and, before the end of the IGR time frame, will have ceased to be used. In looking so far into the future, we should be using a range of the newer measures of living standards and well-being.”
Ms Goldie says neither should we fear an ageing population.
“The projection that there will only be 2.7 workers per person aged over 65 in 40 years’ time will probably be wrong,” says Ms Goldie. “In fact, as the working age population shrinks and the labour market tightens, fewer people will be unemployed, and employers will improve wages and conditions to attract job-seekers.
“This will have the effect of drawing more people into the workforce who were not working, or keeping people in work who would otherwise have retired. In other words, the participation rate will improve.”
Ms Goldie says rising health expenditure, while a problem in narrow fiscal terms, is actually a good thing, by keeping people happier and healthier for longer, and by reducing human suffering.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) are partnering with filmmaker Maxine Trump on the Australian premiere of her award winning film To Kid or Not to Kid in Melbourne and Perth on the 26 and 27 February. The documentary is being screened as part of SPA’s ‘Stop at Two’ campaign. This will be the first time the film will be screened in theatres before being released on Amazon Prime on February 27th.
SPA National President, Sandra Kanck, says the aim of the campaign is to normalise the choice of having small or childfree families.
“The choice whether or not to have children is one of the biggest decisions any individual or couple will make in their lifetime,” says Ms Kanck.
“This decision is often swayed by family and social factors that have traditionally encouraged larger families. It is clear, however, that overpopulation is playing a very significant role in humans’ unsustainable impact on the planet, including climate change and these matters are now bearing on the decisions made by many to have smaller families or no family at all.
“As an environmental NGO, we advocate for smaller families as one solution towards reducing pressures on the Earth and support those who go down that path,” says Ms Kanck.
“We applaud director Maxine Trump for turning the camera onto her personal life to bravely dive into the taboo and stigmatised topic of child-free living and to explore the reasons behind this choice,” she says.
“As Director Trump has herself declared ‘’’Why can’t we talk about not having kids?’ We think it’s about time we did.”
Ms Kanck also advised that this month will see the launch of Childfree Magazine, founded by Brisbane based Tanya Williams, author of A Childfree Happily Ever After.
“The launch of this new magazine is another timely contribution towards a less judgemental world where it’s OK not to have children,” says Ms Kanck.
“To Kid or Not to Kid” will be screened in Melbourne on February 26, 08:30 pm at Cinema Nova, bookings here. It will be screened in Perth on February 27, 06:45pm at Bassendean Community Centre in cooperation with Transition Town Guilford, more information here. The Melbourne screening will also include the short film ‘Talking Heads: Choosing to Have Children….or Not’ made in house by SPA.
For more information, please contact Michael Bayliss, SPA communications Manager, at [email protected]
Tanya Williams, Chief Change maker at Childfree Magazine>/em>, can be contacted at the website.
'It's not about the source, it's about the numbers, stupid'
Professor Carr was the longest serving Premiere of NSW from 1995 to 2005. He also served as Federal minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 - 2013.
Bob Carr has been a long time advocate for a sustainable population. In 2000, as Premier of NSW, he stated that Sydney was full, bringing the issue of population into the headlines at a time when domestic population policy was rarely discussed.
While serving as foreign minister, Carr also advocated for a global population policy, including foreign aid for family planning and empowerment of women. During this time, he was approached by SPA to be Patron, a post to which he accepted.
Since leaving politics, The Honourable Bob Carr is Industry Professor (Business and Climate Change) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
In this video, Bob discusses his role in advocating for a sustainable population when in politics, public opinion on the issue, and why organizations such as SPA are crucial to advocate for this critical issue.
"Media resistance has always been one of the big problems," says Sandra Kanck, who came from a family where there were seven children and she learned early that one wage did not go as far for seven as it might for fewer. From 1994-2009 Sandra served as an Australian Democrats’ Member of the upper house of the South Australian Parliament. Her ‘maiden’ speech in parliament was – predictably for those who know her – about population. For more than nine years Sandra Kanck has been either President or Vice-President of SPA, mostly the former, including reluctantly juggling the role of Acting Treasurer for three months during one of her stints as President.
This seminar will be at the Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian and Tasmanian branch) Annual General Meeting, Saturday September 29th 2018 at 2.30 pm, in the Hawthorn Library meeting rooms 3-4, 584 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122. Followed by afternoon tea.
Nominations for Committee Positions:
Financial members of SPA may nominate for any committee position, President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary or committee member
Please email before 28th September to [email protected]
or write to: Returning Officer, Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch, P.O.BOX 556 Hawthorn 3122 to arrive before Friday September 28th
Following the formal proceedings, you are invited to our public seminar
Public Seminar: “What does the Australian public really think about a Big Australia and what do the media try to make them think?”
Dr. Katharine Betts, Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology, Swinburne University, Author of “The Great Divide: immigration politics in Australia” and researcher for The Australian Population Research Institute. Dr. Betts will present her research into attitudes of the Australian public towards Australia’s current high immigration- driven population growth.
Ian Penrose, Melbourne’s first Yarra Riverkeeper, City of Melbourne 2010 Environmental Award winner, Boroondara citizen of of the year 2015, long term campaigner for population stabilization. Mr.Penrose will present his recent research into the way the media in Australia frames the population issue.
Free parking is available near the venue.
Please join us for afternoon tea following the seminar!
The Victorian branch of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) expresses deep concern that Australia will reach 25 million people this week. In anticipation of this milestone, SPA literally took to the sky on the issue by flying a small plane over Melbourne to see first hand whether bigger means better.
In an ex-military Cessna Birddog ideal for photography, SPA member Dr. Graeme Dennerstein and professional photographer Tanya Fry flew over Melbourne during a morning week-day rush hour to investigate the magnitude of traffic congestion, urban sprawl and high-rise development which are progressively impacting the people of Melbourne as the city reaches a population of 5 million this year.
Photographer Tanya Fry said of her experience:
“We flew over Melbourne city all the way to Kerang. Camera in hand I thought I knew what I was about to see. The sights I saw from the tiny plane both shocked and saddened me. I expected a long urban sprawl and traffic jams of course but nothing like the scale I saw. The urban sprawl went on and on as far as the eye could see. Every freeway was at a standstill.”
“ When we finally did reach the outer parts it was the treeless paddocks all the way to Kerang that was so surprising. Where have all the trees gone? What is wrong with us humans.”
“From up in the air high above you see what we are doing to this great land of ours. If only there was more respect and more consciousness about how much we are thoughtlessly destroying.”
SPA Victorian/Tasmanian Branch president, Michael Bayliss, said: “It is impossible to imagine what Melbourne will look like from the air if the forecasts are true, if the city’s population reaches 8 million in 35 years time by 2050.”
“Our country, our capital cities and our regional centres are growing much faster than expected and this can’t go on indefinitely. Already our infrastructure is struggling to keep pace as we continue to build new suburbs over our precious food bowl, green space and wildlife habitats. We are leaving a poor legacy for future generations. Australia does not yet have a population policy and this has now become a primary concern for most Australians. It is time that our political leaders take notice and take action.”
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) describes itself as an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population. It expects to launch several new projects this year in order to encourage more public discussion around the impacts of population growth. It will be releasing a web series ‘Tough Crowd’ where Rod Quantock will interview other comedians and entertainers on the challenges of discussing population in wider society. It has also released a ‘PopCulture’ webpage and a series of videos to highlight the impacts of population growth on job security, traffic congestion and housing affordability.
Michael Bayliss, spokesperson for Sustainable Population Australia, speaks up for wildlife and for a sustainable population policy in Australia on Vocal Animal. Note that Michael also advocates a vegan diet for humans, but we do not, even though we publish pro-vegan articles from time to time. A major reason we do not advocate such a diet is that it does not satisfy requirements for animal-sourced vitamins, and can be fatal and disabling. See Incurable Alzheimers or curable B12 deficiency? An epidemic of wilful medical ignorance. (Sorry, Michael, but thanks for a really great interview on population, sticking up for animals. Also, feel free to comment and argue this point.)
Michael Bayliss – Sustainable Population Australia Victorian / Tasmanian branch President
Population Matters. So let’s talk about it.
Australia’s population increases by one person every 1 minute and 22 seconds, needing the equivalent of a new city the size of Canberra each year.
Michael discusses why there is a shift in people’s willingness to discuss population, the drivers of Australia’s population growth and outlines SPA’s population policy.
Something to look forward to ….. Sustainable Population Australia is currently producing a web series called ‘Tough Crowd’ hosted by comedian Rod Quantock interviewing comedians about their thoughts on population. Fully-funded but you can find out more here https://pozible.com/project/tough-crowd
Sustainable Population Australia https://population.org.au/
Sustainable Population Australia Facebook https://www.facebook.com/population.org/
Hi, we are Michael Bayliss and Rod Quantock from Sustainable Population Australia & our mission is to create a web series called 'Tough Crowd'. This ‘first of its kind’ project will be made for Australians from all walks of life, especially those who are keen in participating in an open dialogue around one of the most interesting, complex and often controversial of issues: POPULATION.
Rod Quantock is a comedian of 50 years standing as well as a tireless front line environmental warrior. Off the heels of the East West Link, campaign he has just finished his sold out stand up comedy show 'Happy Birthday To Me' for the Melbourne Comedy Festival. His many contributions to society have earned him a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Michael Bayliss is an environmental and social justice campaigner with a background in post growth economics and sustainable town planning. He is also Communications Manager for Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), a member driven environmental organization which works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population.
Population is an issue that affects each and every one of us, but it can be a thorny subject to talk about over the dinner table! Many people have different opinions on the issue. For example, should we be having small or large families? How many people can Australia and our capital cities support? Could we solve the problem by moving to the country or building more high rises in our cities? Should we have open borders or should we review our migration policies?
'Tough Crowd' wants to explore all these tough questions and more. Rod Quantock will host a series of four 10 minutes episodes as he interviews a range of Australian comedians and entertainers to discuss their own experiences and challenges around discussing the issue among their friends, family and the wider community.
'Tough Crowd' will also interview key members of the public who will offer unique viewpoints to this conversation. Examples include people who have chosen not to have children and the reasons why they came to their decisions. This may also include overseas born people on their ideas on what Australia's migration policy should look like. If the project expands, we would also be keen to interview politicians, refugees, and indigenous activists who have strong views on the issue. Further possibilities could include open discussions between child free people and those with large families and the reasons why they reached their decisions.
'Tough Crowd' will have a public screening in Melbourne followed by a publically available web series. It is our mission that it is possible to have a conversation around population that is entertaining, laid back, insightful - and even funny!
'Tough Crowd' is seeking funding to supplement the cost of video, sound and editing equipment, for the production of the video shoot, to financially compensate people being interviewed, venue hire for the series including the public screening and for advertising costs to promote the series.
We think this is a new and exciting project with much potential and possibility. We hope you think so too! We can't make this happen without the help the help of our supporters and kindly strangers alike, so we’d love to have you on board.
The budget will include -
Reimbursments for contributions to video projects (e.g. for public figures): $1500
Venue hire for filming and public screening: $500
Additional backup funds: $150
Additionally we need to purchase the following -
Video Camera: $3000
Shotgun Microphone: $400
Wireless microphone kit: $1000
Spare battery and Camera Bag: $100
Video editing software: $200
We may be able to cover half of these costs, however we need to raise a minimum of $4500 for this project to be viable.
1. To keep costs to a minimum, we will be aiming to film the series over 1 - 2 days intensive days with a small production team. To get around this challenge, we will do as much prior preparation as possible. We have existing experience in film production and have professional contacts in the film industry that we can call on to assist us in our processes.
2. There may be logistic challenges in finding the right dates and times that will suit all potential interviewees for the series. It is important to find a range of people interested in being part of the project so that there are options if some interviewees have difficulties around taking part.
3. Due to a small team, there will be a high workload around the filming production, editing, promotion and public screening of the series. As such, we will stagger this process in several stages, with the final release of the web series launched towards the end of 2018.
4. Tough Crowd is a new type of project. Although the 'conversations in the pub' style of web video has been done on a range of issues, this approach has not be done around population in Australia (as far as we are aware). We have observed that population is a unique issue that has many different points of view. Current mainstream opinions can be difficult to predict. As such, it is difficult to predict the magnitude of success that this sort of project will have. All efforts will be taken to promote the web series to the wider community and to use marketing advice to target specific audience groups. However, due to the nature of the issue itself, it is invevitably difficult to predict the exact degree of crossover mainstream success that this project may have.
Have you noticed the sudden unexpected coverage about population on the ABC? On the 12th of March, 4 Corners ran an episode called ‘Big Australia - Are We Ready.’, Directly following this was a panel discussion QandA on ‘A Big Australia’. Since then, population has continued to be one of ‘the’ major topics of discussion in the mainstream media, including ABC radio and the mainstream press such as Fairfax and News Ltd.
It is evident that much of the main focus from the media has been to manage the symptoms of a rapidly growing population rather than the cause. However, this has also been a time of great opportunity for SPA as we been very busy over the last couple of weeks getting ourselves out there and taking part in the greater discussion.
Now is a time to reflect and celebrate some of our successes.
Firstly, the panel on QandA included two SPA patrons, Bob Carr and Tim Flannery. Both provided strong arguments on the need for a population policy. Both provided great foil up against speakers from the Property Council and the Grattan Institute. Bob Carr in particular was a very strong voice for our cause and Tim Flannerry provided an environmental rationale.
Secondly, SPA was contacted by the ABC in the lead up to the QandA broadcast. The ABC specifically invited SPA members to join the Q&A studio audience. SPA facilitated a call-out to members via social media, a national membership email-out, and through the state branches. This resulted in a success for SPA in that one supporter, Matthew Bryan, ended up providing the first question to the QandA panel. The question was both articulate and emotive - well done Matt! SPA members also submitted many video questions to the QandA panel, which did not make the final broadcast. Presenter Tony Jones said on air that the population issue was receiving unprecedented interest from the public and warranted further attention. Candobetter published a critique of the program which provides a transcript of Matthew’s question and the panel responses.
Image: John Standish
SPA’s Communications Manager Michael Bayliss was then contacted by ABC Melbourne to take part in Jon Faine Conversation Hour the following Friday. The episode discussed ‘A big Melbourne’ as it reaches 8 million and on the issue as to whether we need a population policy. Michael strongly advocated for SPA’s position under some very tough questions from Faine and it encouraging that so many people who called or texted in were on side, including several members of SPA’s Victoria and Tasmania branch.
Finally, Michael has recently had an article published in Independent Australia. The article has been an effective way for SPA to articulate our position in the press on population policy, both nationally and globally. So far the article has received much positive attention, including international exposure via Population Matters. This has been important considering that there has been a lot attention on population from the mainstream press in recent weeks. Some of it has been positive but much more has been against our position. SPA member Mark Allen wrote a response article to journalist Joe Hildebrand for CandoBetter, who has recently posted some incorrect assertions on people who advocate for population sustainability in Australia.
SPA is proud of our achievements over the past month in this very important national debate, and we are cautiously optimistic that these recent events could be a turning point for a better national dialogue on population policy.
Australia has no coherent population plan other than to inundate the major cities with people. Instead of a well though-out population policy, the strategy has been to stoke overall economic growth to support big business. This suits the property industry and retailers but GDP per capita growth is stagnating while ordinary Australians are worse off.
Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott have both recently called out for a reduction of immigration to Australia. To quote Mr Abbott: "At the moment we’ve got stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, clogged infrastructure and there is no doubt the rate of immigration impacts on all of these things.”
We support Mr Abbott's comments but it's unfortunate he didn't consider this while he was Prime Minister. Australia is suffering cumulative economic and environmental damage from unconstrained growth.
It is incorrect of Peter Dutton to suggest that “in the Labor years the number peaked at about 305,900 in one year which was an enormous number, we’ve got that number down now below 190,000 ”
While it is true that net overseas migration (NOM) – which includes both permanent and temporary long-term residents – peaked under Labor (at 315,700), it was still running at 245,500 as at the year to June 2017.
Most importantly, Peter Dutton failed to mention that Australia’s permanent migrant intake has never been higher than under this Coalition Government, set at nearly 210,000 a year currently.
Currently 60% of Australia’s growth is skilled migration whereas the humanitarian intake is less than 10%.
Foreign aid has also been significantly cut whilst the coalition has been in power. This is particularly true for overseas family planning services and the access to education that is required to empower women to choose the size of their families.
Paul Hawken, who was the keynote speaker at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival, stated that family planning and access to education are together the most significant global responses to addressing climate change.
SPA calls for a fundamental change to population policy that addresses population issues both nationally and globally. This should involve reducing total migration to around 70 000 per annum (without any cuts to our refugee program) while also implementing a generous proactive humanitarian aid program that will address global overpopulation and displacement issues without coercion.
This will help to lead us towards stabilising populations both at home and abroad in the most sustainable and equitable way possible.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population.
"As Sustainable Population Australia is an environmentally focused organization, we advocate policies that encourage human activity that is sustainable within finite natural limits and question the ongoing growth paradigm. Growth in the capital cities is reaching limits, whilst coastline development impacts fragile ecosystems. However, inland Australia is more subject to temperature extremes, water shortages and a lack of locational comparative advantage to sustain livelihoods. Within the context of an increasing climate emergency and peak fossil fuel energy, investment will be better spent on resilient communities and foreign aid rather than growth for growth's sake."
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities
SPAVicTas Submission to the Inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which advocates to establish an ecologically sustainable human population. It works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population.
SPA advocates for a generous humanitarian program for refugees whilst addressing the causes of displacement abroad. SPA questions policies that encourage high population growth rates, particularly when motivated by narrow economic goals (e.g. we advocate for lower non-humanitarian immigration). We work with international colleagues to promote rights-based voluntary family planning programs in high fertility countries, and to elevate the rights of women and girls everywhere.
Our main response to the inquiry is for an amendment to Australia’s population policy. Currently, Australia has one of the highest population growth rate in the OECD. According to Australian demographic statistics, Australia grew by 1.6% pa. to the end of 2016, or by 373 000 people:
(1). This is high by world standards. Some states are growing disproportionately faster, e.g. Victoria grows at 2.4%. Most of this growth occurs in the capital cities which absorb around 80% of total growth. Melbourne expands by 92 000 thousand per annum and is Australia’s fastest growing city
(2). This rapid population growth contributes significantly to the difficulty in town planning systems to maintain or improve the functionality of our capital cities.
However, this population growth is not inevitable. Australia could maintain a broadly stable population and maintain humanitarian obligations without any changes to the current birth rate or the humanitarian program. Non-humanitarian (including skilled) migration is the largest driving force behind Australia’s growing population, which is motivated by economic ideology. SPA argues that it is difficult to meet town planning objectives with this rate of population growth, and that an amendment to population policies, in accordance with former MP Kelvin Thomson’s’ 14 point plan would assist in many of the town planning issues impacting our major cities (3).
As Sustainable Population Australia is an environmentally focused organization, we advocate policies that encourage human activity that is sustainable within finite natural limits and question the ongoing growth paradigm. Growth in the capital cities is reaching limits, whilst coastline development impacts fragile ecosystems. However, inland Australia is more subject to temperature extremes, water shortages and a lack of locational comparative advantage to sustain livelihoods. Within the context of an increasing climate emergency and peak fossil fuel energy, investment will be better spent on resilient communities and foreign aid rather than growth for growth's sake.
The submission shall now address the below criteria directly:
1) Sustainability transitions in existing cities2>
• Identifying how the trajectories of existing cities can be directed towards a more sustainable urban form that enhances urban liveability and quality of life and reduces energy, water, and resource consumption;
By virtue of our increasing infrastructure deficit and indicators that our capital cities are struggling to keep up with growth (4), we are becoming increasingly limited in our ability to reduce our per-capita footprint. This is because suburban sprawl requires longer commutes, increased biodiversity loss, loss of agricultural land and all round higher carbon living. Higher density increases the urban heat island effect, and is requiring increasingly costly and high-environmental-impact infrastructure, particularly for transport tunnels. This is where the dichotomy of population versus consumption starts to break down when discussing sustainability. The two are interconnected.
Melbourne and Sydney are both expected to double their population to over 8 million by 2050 by current trajectories. Therefore the impact of energy, water and resource consumption will also double unless drastic measures are implemented quickly to mitigate per capita consumption of these resources. Without amending our current population policy, this means reducing our per capita consumption of energy, water and resources by 50% in 35 years to maintain current levels of total consumption. Furthermore, there is no plan to stop at 8 million – following this path would lock in further subsequent growth. There is a limit to how far per person demand for water and energy can be diminished. Therefore, vast changes to the way we live, requiring sacrifices of amenity, will have little benefit for sustainability in the long run if population growth remains high.
The State of the Environment report in Victoria 2008 (5) refers to population growth and settlement patterns as contributors to degenerating environmental factors in the state. Academic Rachel Carey in Footprint from Melbourne (6) warns of the impacts of urban sprawl on Melbourne’s food bowl. Continued urban sprawl will reduce the city’s food bowl capacity significantly, from 40% currently to around 18% by 2050. The suburban sprawl model is increasingly viewed as an unsustainable way of living. In the documentary ‘The End Of Suburbia’, James Howard Kunstler refers to suburbia as the ‘greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world’ whereas Richard Heinberg states that ‘suburbs wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for cheap oil’.
The current town planning response to suburban sprawl is to (a) develop on brownfield sites and (b) increase density in the inner and middle suburbs. There is however a limit to which brownfield sites can address rapid population growth. To provide an example in Melbourne, the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project in Melbourne will take decades from inception to completion, yet it will only absorb 10 months worth of Melbourne’s population growth. Meanwhile, town planning academics such as Bob Birrell and Michael Buxton criticise the current high rise paradigm. Reasons include that most new apartments are being built to accommodate specific demographic groups (e.g. too small to house families) and that they are geared towards investors. A downside of this is that new apartments are rarely built to last. Melbourne City Council planner Leanne Hodyl released a 2015 report that said high-rise developments were being built at a rate four times higher than that of some of the world’s highest density cities, and the current Victoria state Planning Minister has admitted that many Melbourne apartments are too small, too dark and badly ventilated. The business model driving their construction is clearly not one intended to enhance urban liveability and quality of life. It is one which aims to force residents to accept the style of housing most profitable to developers.
Regardless of the method in which we continue to grow cities, the costs on infrastructure must be considered. A higher population growth rate means a greater proportion of total economic activity has to be dedicated to expanding infrastructure. The public cost (across all levels of government) per extra person for Gross Fixed Capital Formation (largely infrastructure) is at least $100 000 with some estimates much higher. Dr Jane O’Sullivan has explored the correlation of infrastructure costs and population growth in depth:
“These analyses show that acquiring the durable assets to support population growth has historically cost around 6.5-7% of GDP per one percent population growth rate. Thus, if Australia’s growth is 1.5% p.a., around 11-12% of GDP is diverted to the task of acquiring infrastructure and other durable assets, merely to extend to the additional people the level of service already available to the existing population.” (6)
This long-term average cost has been compounded in the last decade by the much higher cost of retrofitting already built-up areas, and the dis-economies of scale of high rise construction. For example, the East west link tunnel was costed at $1 billion per kilometre, around twenty times higher than above-ground roads and rail.
In its 2013 report “An Ageing Australia: preparing for the future”, the Productivity Commission warned that, due to elevated population growth, total private and public investment requirements over the next 50 years are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century. They noted that failure to finance this infrastructure would reduce total factor productivity.
Infrastructure has a considerable financial cost but also an environmental impact as all infrastructure requires the use of scarce resources and energy to make and operate. We are not making our cities more environmentally resilient by concreting over them.
• Considering what regulation and barriers exist that the Commonwealth could influence, and opportunities to cut red tape; and
We advise that many of the issues listed above could be mitigated if the Commonwealth government modified its policy on economically driven population growth so that population growth occurs at a slower rate, and tapers off at an anticipatable level. This will make town planning outcomes such as urban form and environmental objectives much easier to manage. National tax reforms such as negative gearing and capital gains concessions, selling the right to develop rezoned land (to capture the windfall gain in property values from rezoning) and reforms to political donations, may assist in mitigating the lobbying power of property developers and private interests over state and local council town planning decisions.
We reject the claim that housing and infrastructure stress is merely a supply problem and attributable to “regulation, barriers and red tape”. It is mostly a demand “problem”, where demand has been deliberately elevated to the advantage of developers, against the interests of existing residents.
• Examining the national benefits of being a global 'best practice' leader in sustainable urban development.
This would enable our conurbations to be in the best position to adapt to a low carbon economy with the knock-on effect of having far reaching economic benefits. However, if population growth continues at the current rate, we will lose the small window of opportunity we currently have to adapt our conurbations to a low carbon way of living. We must preserve the food bowls around our cities and it is imperative that infrastructure and affordable housing is in sync with population growth. (The lack of public transport infrastructure delivery on the urban fringes for example is very disheartening.) Otherwise we will continue to see an acceleration of car dependent sprawl on the urban fringe as well as a poor standard of urban intensification in the inner and middle suburbs (which instead of helping to reduce sprawl is contributing to it due to the spatial inequality that is apparent when there is a severe lack of social housing in new developments). This will also have huge implications for incoming migrants who will be forced further into non-walkable communities on the urban fringe.
Population growth rate itself diminishes prospects for good urban design. It is impossible to design for perpetual growth. All designs have a carrying capacity, beyond which they become congested and inefficient. If our population growth were slowing toward a predictable stable population level, urban design could optimise the functionality and amenity for that population. A perpetually growing population makes all designs ephemeral fixes. Our major infrastructure must spend half its life inefficiently under-utilised and the other half inefficiently congested. Australians who visit Japan or continental Europe often remark on the quality and efficiency of infrastructure. This has been achieved because their populations have been near stable.
Some growth advocates such as Bernard Salt and Lucy Turnbull advocate modular cities, composed of multiple adjoining “20-minute communities” around their own business centre. This is a fantasy which no real city has achieved. Attempts generally resort to secondary centres remaining dormitories with long commutes. The same can largely be said of regionalisation. The only centres to achieve growth at or above the rate of growth of the capital city are those which have become, through improvement in transport and diminishing expectations of commuters, viable for commuting to the capital.
2) Growing new and transitioning existing sustainable regional cities and towns
• Promoting the development of regional centres, including promoting master planning of regional communities;
• Promoting private investment in regional centres and regional infrastructure;
• Promoting the competitive advantages of regional location for businesses;
• Examining ways urbanisation can be re-directed to achieve more balanced regional development; and
• Identifying the infrastructure requirements for reliable and affordable transport, clean energy, water and waste in a new settlement of reasonable size, located away from existing infrastructure.
According to the Productivity Commission (7), regional Australia is generally not attractive for skilled migrants to settle long term. However, there is sufficient intrastate movement from capital cities to regional Australia (particularly from younger urban families) to assist prosperity in regional areas, if there is indeed demand for growth in those areas. For example, According to recent market research, approximately 450,000 people are planning to move to regional Victoria from Melbourne in the next three years. Increasing Australia’ population through the skilled migration program is not therefore an effective method in increasing population in the regions if current settlement patterns persist.
In the past five years (up until August 2016) Victoria's population has grown by five hundred thousand. Twenty six thousand of this was in Victoria's three main regional cities (8). That translates to just fifteen weeks of Victoria's overall population growth in the years since 2011. The potential for increasing the population of even smaller towns (especially those that are not in commutable distance from Melbourne) is considerably less and in the long term you would only be looking at perhaps a few thousand here and there (which is negligible in face of our current rate of population growth).
Previous attempts to decentralise people and jobs from the cities to the regions in Australia have largely been unsuccessful, though politicians still like to cite this as something that we should do. Most of the growth in regional areas currently occur in the peri-urban areas of capital cities (e.g. Newcastle and Wollongong in NSW, Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria). Many of these town are becoming effectively dormitory suburbs for the capital cities, and people are still dependent on capital cities for work and services. There is a limit however to how large these urban centres can grow before they start to have infrastructure and urban sprawl problems of their own. For example, if most of Victoria's population increase of 100,000 a year were to be directed away from Melbourne, the question remains how large regional Victoria could grow before we need to return to growing Melbourne? (Large regional cities in Victoria such as Geelong are already starting to be impacted with urban sprawl issues of their own.) Within a couple of decades we would be back to where we are now.
In terms of establishing new, self-sufficient urban centres, it is very hard to create a critical mass of economic activity, if there isn't a natural "attractant", and if there is one, you don't need to intervene - a centre will create itself. The problem is not caused by a shortage of people in that location and can't be solved by adding more. It can be argued that we don't have a shortage of people willing to live in rural areas, we have an erosion of livelihoods that rural areas can support (and this has a lot to do with the increasing share of the value of rural products that is captured up-stream in the supply chain). We don't have a skills shortage, we have a situation where employers are not willing to train and pay people enough to do the job. We don't have a shortage of working-age people to build the workforce, we have a shortage of spending, due to too much of people's income being siphoned off to "capital" (housing costs, and profits or interest payments going to overseas investors, or going to Australian investors who reinvest it in ventures that don't employ Australians, like paying ever more for the same piece of land, or gaming the stock market). It is spending that creates demand for workers, and it is lack of demand, not lack of supply, that limits the workforce.
There have been proposals for new cities, including the CLARA smart city scheme, which would include about 8 new cities along the main transport routes between Melbourne and Sydney, housing around 250,000 people each. However, the investment cost seems formidable, which would require around $200b worth of infrastructure over the next 40 years. Even then, this would still only accommodate six years’ worth of population growth.
We note that these new cities would be within the catchment of the Murray River, whose water is already over-allocated. Water could only be provided by withdrawing it from irrigated agriculture, stripping livelihoods from the rural communities throughout the system. Far from revitalising regions, they would directly undermine small communities. The livelihoods within these cities could only be generated by ongoing government intervention, to locate activities there despite lack of natural advantage. Such subsidies can only withdraw more resource away from addressing the intensifying social issues of our capital cities.
Most Australians also prefer the relatively less extreme temperature variations of living near the coast, which is one reason why we are ultimately a nation of urban-conurbations rather than boundless plains. It is hard to conceive that much of inland Australia, with higher temperature extremes, a drier climate and less access to water would be attractive places to settle for many people. To force people to accept these options, in order to mitigate a purely self-inflicted problem of major city congestion, is in no way improving liveability.
For the above reasons, Sustainable Population Australia does not see regional development as a viable solution to solving population growth issues in our capital cities without amendments to national population growth policies.
The concept of regionalisation is used to give the impression that we can enjoy the supposed benefits of population growth while directing the disbenefits elsewhere. Neither the claimed benefits, nor the proposed regionalisation, have foundations in reality. In contrast, reducing Australia’s population growth is very easily achieved, by the Federal government reducing non-humanitarian immigration quotas, just as it was doubled 13 years ago by increasing them. Instead of discussing the multifaceted benefits of reducing population growth, false “solutions” are offered. These range from regionalisation to densifying middle suburbs, massive government spending (and debt) for infrastructure such as schools, public transport and public housing, building smaller homes, and putting tolls on a range of trunk roads in peak periods (9). These options might mitigate some of the loss of liveability that unmanaged population growth would impose, but deliver no improvement on previous conditions. They provide residents with “less for more”, with severely constrained lifestyles and higher costs of living, rather than “enhancing urban liveability and quality of life”.
In conclusion, there are no solutions to the stresses of population growth, without reducing the population growth itself. Individual projects may provide improvement in the short term, but will soon be overtaken by further growth. While good planning can reduce the erosion of living standards, only ending population growth will allow environmental outcomes and liveability to be improved in a sustained manner.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Population http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/mf/3101.0
2. The Conversation - Three charts on Australia’s population shift and the big city squeeze https://theconversation.com/three-charts-on-australias-population-shift-and-the-big-city-squeeze-75544
3. Kelvin Thomson’s 14 Point Plan For Population Reform http://dicksmithpopulation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Kelvin-Thomson-MPs-14-Point-Plan-November-2009.pdf
4. The Age. Melbourne now as clogged as Sydney, and the city's north-east has worst traffic http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-now-as-clogged-as-sydney-and-the-citys-northeast-has-worst-traffic-20170702-gx2zup.html
5. Comissioner for Environmental Sustainably Victoria: State Of The Environment Report 2008. http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/publications/state-environment-report-2008
6. O’Sullivan, J.N. 2012. The burden of durable asset acquisition in growing populations. Economic Affairs 32(1), 31-37. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0270.2011.02125.x/pdf ; O’Sullivan J.N. 2014. Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia. http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/135517/subdr156-infrastructure.pdf
7. Productivity Commission 2016 – Inquiry Report: Migrant Intake into Australia http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/migrant-intake/report/migrant-intake-report.pdf
8. Networked Rural Councils Program: Rural Migration Trends and Drivers 2012. http://www.ruralcouncilsvictoria.org.au/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-Rural-Migration-Trends-and-Drivers_NRCP-5-2_14-December-2012.pdf
9. Millar R. and Cuthbertson M. 2017-Crammed: Ten ideas for dealing with Melbourne’s population growth. The Age, 8 July 2017. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/crammed-ideas-for-dealing-with-melbournes-booming-population-growth-20170707-gx6rw1.html
SPA Branch President, Victoria and Tasmania
On behalf of Sustainable Population Australia
Co-author of Climate Code Red and the author of the 2015 Breakthrough paper Striking Targets, seasoned Melbourne based environmental campaigner, Philip Sutton, is known for his comprehensive and well-researched presentations.
Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian and Tasmanian branch)
Annual General Meeting
Saturday September 10th at 2.00pm
Hawthorn Library meeting rooms 3-4, 584 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
*Please note change of venue from past years*
NOMINATIONS for COMMITTEE POSITIONS: If you wish to nominate yourself or others for any committee positions or have an agenda item you wish to add, please email before 28th August to [email protected] or write to RETURNING OFFICER, SUSTAINABLE POPULATION AUSTRALIA, Victorian and Tasmanian branch, PO BOX 556 Hawthorn 3122.
ELECTION OF OFFICE BEARERS: All financial members of SPA Vic/Tas can take part
Following the formal proceedings, we are delighted to present our guest speaker,
Philip Sutton-The growth economy- is there another way?
Philip Sutton is co-author of Climate Code Red and the author of the 2015 Breakthrough paper StrikingTargets. He is Manager and Strategist for RSTI (Research and Strategy for Transition Initiation). Philip is one of the leaders of the current campaign for the declaration of a climate emergency and has just written the national Climate Emergency (Restructuring and Mobilisation) model Act. Philip is a past president of the Sustainable Living Foundation and of the Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics. He was the architect of the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act passed in Victoria in 1988 and initiated the campaign that led to the banning of nuclear power in Victoria in 1983.
Philip’s talk will be followed by discussion and Q&A. Our meeting is public and all are welcome, so please invite friends and colleagues to hear his important address.
World population Day was established by the UN in 1989 to highlight concerns as the planet’s population went past 5 billion. It is now at 7.4 billion and rising by about 80 million every year, so the problems are even more intractable (despite the rate of growth declining). Medium scenarios produced by the UN estimate the world population could be between 9 and 10 billion by 2050.
It may surprise some that Australia has one of the highest population growth rates in the developed world. We are adding about 325,000 people a year, with about 55 per cent from net overseas migration and 45 per cent from natural increase at the present time, although it has stood at a 60/40 ratio for a number of years.
Population is a notoriously difficult subject to discuss in public forums, partly due to the complexity of the subject and partly due to the political and emotional nature of the issues. These issues can go to the core of people’s philosophies and values and include notions of freedom and human rights, compassion, religion, progress, ecology, and economic imperatives.
In Australia, people often get confused between sometimes competing issues like refugees and asylum seekers, racism, border protection, defence, economic migration, colonial guilt, and sustainability. These tensions are not unique to Australia, as we can see from debates in Europe and the US in recent times.
What the European, American and indeed Australian problems show is that sovereign states should not consider themselves immune from population pressures in other parts of the world as desperate people will have little regard for borders or dangerous sea crossings.
To that extent, not-for-profits like Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) are continually lobbying governments to increase foreign aid to the developing world to help it gain control over unwanted and harmful population increase. Unwanted population growth can largely be curtailed through a mixture of education, the provision of modern contraception, safe emergency abortion, and the alleviation of poverty – although some people like to argue about which is more important.
Regardless, the empowerment of women is vital.
So purely from a selfish point of view it is in Australia’s interests to maintain a reasonable level of foreign aid, in concert with the rest of the developed world, and targeted to voluntary family planning programs that we know can be successful. Unfortunately Australia’s foreign-aid budget has been shrinking lately in a retrograde and myopic fashion.
But leaving the more obvious global problem to one side, Australia is long overdue for an open debate on the benefits and burdens of domestic population growth and where these benefits and burdens fall.
A recent survey commissioned by SPA found that most Australians did not think we needed more people; and a survey by SBS in May found that 59% of people thought that the level of immigration over the last 10 years had been too high*.
Proponents of a ‘big Australia’ are mostly business barons and their hirelings: the wealthy gain the most from population growth and can largely insulate themselves from its negative effects like sky-rocketing real-estate prices, long commutes to work and infrastructure shortfalls.
Meanwhile, the average person, but especially the young and the poor, suffers the most – from unaffordable housing, general congestion, and competition for access to education and health services.
More unseen problems tend to harm everybody: these include biodiversity loss, increased greenhouse gases and climate change, the reduction in fresh-water availability, and the steady increase in all kinds of pollution.
While unpopular among elites, especially economists, there needs to be a conversation about the direction our society is going. The privileging and mindless pursuit of GDP growth might not be the best option on a finite planet where limits to growth seem obvious to all those not blinded by dogma. Rather, the pursuit and monitoring of such things as general wellbeing and happiness might be a more rational strategy, especially if that means a more equal sharing of what wealth can be generated in an ecologically sustainable fashion.
If we adopt the latter planned approach, we might well find that a stable rather than an ever-growing population is more sensible. The alternative may well be an unplanned population correction that no one would find enjoyable.
Right now the UK is politically divided on whether or not to leave the European Union and the mood in many quarters is ugly. It seems that there is a very strong chance that the forthcoming Brexit referendum could swing in favour of the Leave vote, something that seemed unimaginable a few years ago. The main reason for most people wanting to leave is because they are concerned with the UK’s rapid rate of population growth. This article is by Michael Bayliss (President of Sustainable Population Australia Victoria and Tasmania Branch) and Mark Allen (Population, Permaculture and Planning)
A proportion of the blame can be placed on those who have a narrow vision of what it is to be British in the 21st century and who are often misled by those parts of the media that take a more sensationalist approach.
However, the left also need to bear some of the responsibility because they have for far too long placed the topic of population in the politically incorrect basket. With net migration last year coming in at 300,000, people have a right to be concerned, especially when there is no end point to this rate of growth in sight. What is all the more concerning is that the refusal by many on the left to engage on this important issue has allowed the right to exploit this to their advantage by peddling all kinds of fear and untruths. Sadly it appears to be working.
So what lessons are there to be learned here in Australia? There is a parallel because we too are experiencing rapid population growth with net immigration in 2015 at 168 000, so the impact here is larger on a per capita basis.
While it may appear that this would be tempered somewhat by the sheer size of the Australian landmass, this population growth is centered mainly around the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane conurbations. Until there are jobs, infrastructure and the political will, our boundless plains will continue to be just that. Considering that these plains are mostly desert and rangeland, there is an argument that they are mostly not suitable for new urban settlement anyway, so the focus is very much on our narrow strip of green along the Eastern seaboard. To put this in perspective, the populations of Sydney and Melbourne are growing by 1600 and 1760 a week respectively and people are beginning to feel it.
Meanwhile the government (and just about everyone else) are currently doing a good job of keeping our high rate of immigration away from the public radar. Instead we keep reinforcing the association in the minds of many people of migration with refugees. As John Howard famously promoted this very misunderstanding when he said on the radio 2014:
“One of the reasons why it’s so important to maintain that policy is that the more people think our borders are being controlled, the more supportive they are in the long term of high levels of immigration...And one of the ways that you maintain public support for that is to communicate to the Australian people a capacity to control our borders and to decide who and what people and when come to this country.”
However, the wool cannot be pulled over our eyes forever as the negative consequences of population growth only keep intensifying. Eventually more and more people will join the dots and it is then that we face the threat of the fear- mongering far right taking a foothold.
Do we really have to wait until then? If we engage in sensible rational discourse now about what constitutes a sustainable rate of growth we can avoid all of this. This means that the left have to come to the table. If the issue continues to be ignored we could end up with a situation similar to what is going on in the United Kingdom and it will leave the topic in the hands of those who feed off fear and hate.
This issue is only going to get bigger as Australia's population continues to grow by a new Adelaide approximately every three years. People of compassion need to be the ones who set the tone for the conversations that will ultimately come. If the compassionate fail in this responsibility, they will create a void where people with bigoted views will take centre stage.
Australia is a multicultural country with a proud tradition of supporting refugees and this needs to be the central message on the left. We do not need to be an apologist for the rapid population growth that is being used to justify an economic ponzi scheme.
It is time to put left and right ideologies aside and focus thoughtfully on delivering the most equitable and compassionate outcomes for all people and the earth as a whole. How rapidly we grow our population and how we distribute that population should be part of that discussion.
The views in this article do not necessarily correspond with the views of Sustainable Population Australia
Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12-12.30pm: Mark Allen of Population Permaculture and Planning asks: Is it possible to accommodate a growing population without unacceptably high density living and urban sprawl? If so, what rate of population growth should we be looking at and what types of community should we be creating? This workshop discusses the merits of village style living in combination with permaculture principles and asks the question, where do we go from here?
Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12.30-1pm: Mark O’Connor, co-author of Overloading Australia, will look at why environmentalism is almost meaningless when there is no plan to limit growth of population, why this issue is often ignored, and what a better form of environmentalism could and should do. What are humane and practical ways to limit Australia’s and the world’s population? (Sustainable Population Australia - Victorian Branch (SPA Victoria) organised this event.)
http://www.slf.org.au/event/population-permaculture/Sustainable Population Australia presents
#505050">Sunday 14 February 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
#505050">Sunday 14 February 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Weekend of 7-8 March 2015: Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) - Australia’s only environment group campaigning on the impact of human population - will examine the question “Population and Ageing: Disaster or Triumph?” in a half-day symposium to be held in Adelaide. “Population and Ageing: Disaster or Triumph” will be held on Saturday, 7th March at 1 pm, at the Hawke Centre, UniSA West Campus, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide. The public is welcome to attend and admission is free.
The SA-NT Branch President of SPA, Dr Michael Lardelli, says development lobby arguments for increased immigration to reduce the so-called problem of an ageing population will be taken apart. “For instance, the government likes to proclaim that the elderly will put huge pressures on the health system, but the truth is that whether a person lives to 50 or to 100 the last few months of their lives are likely to require more health resources. It really has little to do with age – the problem lies in treating chronic health problems for people of any age.”
“On Saturday SPA will have three specialist thinkers who will tell us that any apparent problems associated with ageing are all manageable”.
Dr Katharine Betts, Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Swinburne University, will be speaking on The Challenges and Benefits of an Ageing Population. She agrees that ageing presents some challenges but compared with the problems created by continual growth these are trivial. “The core benefit of an ageing population is that more human resources will be not tied up in the unavoidable labour of caring for the young. In the more mature age structure that is currently blossoming there will be many more real human resources available creating huge opportunities for work, for caring and for building strong communities”.
Dr Betts’ conclusion is that
“the ageing of the population is one of the best things to have happened to the human race in the last 10,000 years”.
Another of the speakers, Associate-Professor Phil Lawn from the Business School of Flinders University, whose topic will be Myths about Superannuation and the Intergenerational Debate says that an ageing population poses no fiscal problem for the Federal Government.
“The secret to providing for future retirees is boosting the productivity of the working population which requires adequate investment in education, training, health, natural capital and low-emissions and energy-efficient critical infrastructure” says Professor Lawn.
Dr Jane O’Sullivan, from the University of Queensland, will present to the symposium on the topic A Sustainable Future Cannot be Reached Through the Pursuit of Youthfulness. She says that the Intergenerational Report released yesterday by the government should be recognised as political spin and that it is deeply flawed.
“We have every reason to expect that future Australian workers will be more productive for longer, provided they are not shut out of the workforce by a flood of imported job-seekers. Population growth, the government’s preferred solution to ageing, is hugely expensive and detrimental to productivity”.
State President of SPA, Dr Lardelli, says that the public is welcome to attend and admission is free.
“Population and Ageing: Disaster or Triumph” will be held on Saturday, 7th March at 1 pm, at the Hawke Centre, UniSA West Campus, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide
Sustainable Population Australia
South Australian Branch
This article forms the basis of a brochure, attached for download and printing, prepared by Roland Johnson for the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia.
‘The modern plague of over population is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is …universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of the billions of people who are its victims’. 
Photo: Martin Luther King, 1966 (revered symbol of human rights)
But powerful forces have opposed population control and the world’s population has more than doubled since 1966 to seven billion, with three billion desperately poor. Migration to rich countries is not a solution. Watch Roy Beck’s YouTube video , ‘World Poverty, Immigration and Gumballs’, to see why.
In the screenshot below, one gumball equals one million people; the tall jars represent the three billion poor. The wine glass holds five years’ migrant intake at one million a year (the current intake of the United States). Even if Australia took one million people a year (nearly four times our current intake) the numbers of the poor would continue to grow at around the rate of 80 million each year.  Besides, Australia’s immigrants are more middle class than poor.
Poor people desperately need help where they are, including with family planning. We must stabilise our numbers, both nationally and globally. Currently the world is finding it difficult to feed all of the seven billion already here.  It won’t get easier if the global population grows to 9.75 billion or more by 2050. 
From 2007-13 Australia’s net migration averaged over 230,000 p.a. which, added to an average annual natural increase of 157,000 p.a, meant growth of 387,000 p.a. and an annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent.  This is among the highest in the world.  It is destroying Australia’s ability to help the world’s poor and this growth will take us from 24 to 64 million in 2100.  It must stop some time.
WHY NOT NOW?
A sustainable Australian population
Australia’s total fertility rate (TFR) is around 1.9 per woman,  technically below replacement— 2.1. But the population is still youthful. So we would keep growing due to natural increase until 2046, leveling off at 26 million. A policy to stabilise our population closer to 26 million rather than 64 million is needed.
The growth lobby of big business, developers and media moguls is forcing Australia’s growth to be among the fastest in the world. Our total increase of 387,000 a year is more than the population of Canberra (381,488 in 2013).  This growth is against the wishes of 70 per cent of voters.  Our 1.8 per cent p.a. exceeds Canada’s high 1.2 per cent & NZ’s 0.8 per cent. 
The Immigration Department is overloaded
Immigration Department files reveal “…enforcement capacity has collapsed…nine in ten skilled migrant visas may be fraudulent …[investigation into] a Somali people - smuggling cell linked to a terror suspect … ceased due to a lack of resources’. 
Two thirds of new arrivals are on some kind of working visas, which are issued by licensed agents subject to rorting and bribes. Many visa holders, through a well understood system of visa churning, eventually gain permanent residency. 
Immigration policy can be changed. Around 80,000 people leave Australia permanently each year. This means that we could have a refugee intake of 20,000 p.a., plus other special cases, and achieve nil, or at least very low, net migration.
Dr Jane O’Sullivan’s submission to the Productivity Commission, re ‘Public Infrastructure Report’ shows that each new person added to the Australian population costs taxpayers over $100,000 in infrastructure. 
“[P]opulation growth and ageing will affect labour supply, economic output, infrastructure requirements and government budgets… Total private and public investment requirements over this 50 year period [to 2060] are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century…”
 Building the equivalent of a new Canberra every year is not cheap.
The Federal Government is dominated by the growth lobby and State governments compete for the prestige of a higher population. They promote immigration and advertise for immigrants. They rezone prime agricultural land for housing. Local governments then increase rates, which forces the famers off the land. Local councils also convert pleasant suburban streets to high-rise ghettos to collect more rates. The costs of the extra services are paid for by existing tax- and rate-payers.
‘Population growth is great for business but governments can’t keep up. Roads are clogged and public transport is groaning. The health and education systems can’t cope with demand’. 
With many new workers and the loss of our manufacturing capacity, we are already unable to employ many of our young.
‘Between 2011 and 2014 the number of jobs increased by 400,000 but new migrants took 380,000. Some 240,000 more young Australians entered working age compared with those who retired, but they had to compete for only 20,000 extra jobs’. 
Australia looks big on the map but it’s an old, dry, infertile continent. Sprawling cities are taking some of our best land—land high on the two factors of good soil and reliable rainfall. (These are the areas shaded dark green on the map.) Much of Australia is marginal agricultural land (shaded yellow), and the greater part is unsuitable for any agriculture (shaded red).
Australia might be able to feed a domestic population of 60 million for a while, but this would leave us without food for export to pay for imports. A sustainable population must stay below 30 million; over that we start to sink to third-world standards.
Climate change will badly affect Australia’s agriculture with reduced irrigation in the Murray-Darling Basin and marginal land becoming arid. The so-called inexhaustible Great Artesian Basin is now declining. The idea of Australia as the food bowl of Asia is a myth!
Iron ore reserves were once thought to be almost inexhaustible. But all of the high grade, easily accessed mineral deposits in Australia have been mined out and energy consumption in mining has increased by 450 per cent in the last 40 years.  We are one of the world’s largest exporters of LNG, but this leaves little for the local market.  In order to find more, pressure for fracking access to coal-seam gas builds up. This risks polluting underground water and increasing food insecurity.
THE GROWTH LOBBY
While all Australians pay the cost of population growth, big business profits from it. Their self interest in growth is understandable. But it is unconscionable that politicians, most journalists and many academics support them. (See ‘How the Growth Lobby Threatens Australia’s Future’, James Sinnamon.) 
The growth lobby finds ways to silence its critics. In the USA the prestigious Sierra Club was given $100 million on the understanding that it would not continue to oppose the one million p.a. migrating to America. 
The slur of racism by the growth lobby has stifled the population debate.
Martin Luther King understood the cost of growth. Was he a racist?
‘I don't think slowing the rate of growth is blaming immigration or ethnic communities’
(Voula Messimeri, Chairwoman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia). 
Immigrants also suffer the effects of population growth. Poor migrants suffer the most.
The lobby promotes the fear of an ageing population
But the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that ‘Even large difference in the level of net immigration will have a relatively small impact on the age distribution’. 
Natural increase is still strong so our population would not decline without net migration. Immigration makes us bigger, not younger. Besides the aged contribute to society in many ways—ways worth billions of dollars. 
What about humanitarianism?
Australia’s policies serve the growth lobby, not the greater good. There is no virtue in luring away the best and brightest from poor nations. Australia poaches doctors and nurses from developing nations to service the huge rise in our population. We take about 1000 doctors and 2800 nurses a year. How many more come on temporary or 457 visas?
Most of Australia’s migrants come for economic reasons; this is no way to help the world’s poor. We should accept refuges and provide desperate women of the third world—who procreate even when their children are starving—with the means of family planning.
‘Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment’. 
Sir David Attenbourough (celebrated conservationist)
The World Wildlife Fund reported in 2014 that the world wildlife population had been halved between 1970 and 2010. The human population doubled in the same peroiod contributing directly to 82 per cent of the loss of wild life. 
We are already destroying the environment by overstocking our poor soils, habitat destruction and deforestation all of which causes soil loss and salination. We are doing this in 2015 to support nearly 24 million people. What would we do to support 64 million?
Global warming is our greatest immediate threat and as Figure 3 shows, Greenhouse gases increase with the world’s population.
And Australia’s per capita emissions are the highest in the OECD. 
Our responsibility to other people, those now living and those yet to be born, and our responsibility to other species, all mean that Australia must curb its runaway population growth. The world must slow down and stabilise too.
Prepared by Roland Johnson for Sustainable Population Australia Vic/Tas.
This material is available in pdf form for downloading and printing here: Population Flyer cropped.pdf
 tp://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Overpopulationaccessed 18 January 2015
 Roy Beck, World Poverty, Immigration and Gumballs The Population Reference Bureau’s annual World population data sheet shows a world population of 7.238 billion in mid 2014 and 1.137 billion in mid 2013, an estimated increase of 101 million people, 98 million of this increase in less developed countries. See www.prb.org
 Roy Beck, op. cit.
 Paddy Manning, ‘“Global” risks on food security mean us too’, The Age, 3 December 2011, p. 16
 The United Nations’ projections for 2050 include 9.746 billion (medium), 16.218 (medium high) and 24.834 billion (high).tp://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange/longrangeExecSum.pdfaccessed 18 January 2015
 Data on growth calculated from the ABS, Demographic Statistics, Catalogue no. 3101.0 various issues. The average NOM for 2007 to 2013 was 237,000 pa and the average annual growth rate was 1.81 per cent
 See World Bank http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.GROW accessed 18 January 2015
 Projection series 20, published online with, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Population Projections, Australia, 2012 (Base) to 2101, Catalogue no. 3222.0.
 The average total fertility rate from 2008-09 to 2013-14 was 1.9085. Calculated from ABS, Demographic Statistics, Catalogue no. 3101.0, June 2014, p. 39.
 See ibid.
 ABS, Demographic Statistics, July 2014, Catalogue no. 3101.0, p. 26
 Katharine Betts (2010), ‘A bigger Australia: opinions for and against’, People and Place 18(2), pp. 25-38
 World Bank data bank
 Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, ‘Terror touches down’, The Age, 7 August 2014, pp. 1, 4.
 See Dr. R Birrell, Sydney Morning Herald online , 7 August 2014.
 Jane O’Sullivan (2014), ‘Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia’, p. 3 http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/135517/subdr156-infrastructure.pdf
 Productivity Commission (2013). An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future — Overview. Melbourne, Productivity Commission, p. 2
 Alan Kohler, ‘Healthcare and infrastructure spend tearing budget apart’, The Australian, 6 May 2014, p. 30
 Source: Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport, Road vehicle-kilometres travelled: estimated from state and territory fuel sales, Report 124, Canberra, Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011, pp. 372-3
 Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy (2014), Immigration and Unemployment in 2014,/em>. Monash University, Melbourne, Centre for Population and Urban Research
 Simon Michaux (2014) ‘The coming radical change in mining practice’ in Jenny Goldie and Katharine Betts (Eds) Sustainable Futures: Linking population, resources and the environment, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, pp. 75-76
 See ‘Reform needed to minimise LNG export impact on manufacturers: report’, ,em>Gas Today, 24 July 2014 http://gastoday.com.au/news/reform_needed_to_minimise_lng_export_impact_on_manufacturers_report/088251/ accessed 25 November 2014
James Sinnamon, "How the growth lobby threatens Australia's future."
Kenneth R. Weiss, ‘The man behind the land’, Los Angeles Times 27 October 2004
Quoted in Mark O'Connor and William Lines (2008), Overloading Australia: How governments and media dither and deny on population, Envirobooks, Sydney, p. 145
ABS (2000), Projections of the Populations of Australia, States and Territories: 1999-2101, Catalogue no. 3222.0, p. 2
For more on the benefits (and costs) of demographic ageing see Katharine Betts (2014), The ageing of the Australian population: triumph or disaster?, Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/David_Attenborough accessed 25 November 14
Living Planet Report 2014 accessed 25 November 2014
Population data are from United Nations Department of economic and social affairs http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Excel-Data/population.htm ; Carbon emissions data are from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC)
The Garnaut Climate Change Review, Chapter 7, ‘Australia’s emissions in a global context’ 2008, updated in 2011 http://www.garnautreview.org.au/chp7.htm
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) today called on the Federal Government to undertake a complete review of immigration into Australia in light of claims of widespread rorting of the system.
This week, Dr Bob Birrell and Dr Ernest Healy from the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University issued a report called Immigration and Unemployment. In it, they claimed that the Department Of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) had not only issued record number of student visas to people who may not be considered genuine students, but had granted permanent residency to large numbers of skilled migrant applicants who did not have the appropriate skills being claimed.
According to the report, large numbers of cooks and accountants are being issued visas despite there being plenty of local candidates. It called for a halting the recruitment of migrant workers whose occupations are in surplus in Australia or for which there are available resident candidates.
National President of SPA, Ms Jenny Goldie, says both Labor and Liberal Governments have been so focussed on stopping “boat people” they have allowed rorting to continue in the much larger skilled program.
“Related to this is the 12-year high unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent in July,” says Ms Goldie. “Birrell and Healy have revealed that since 2011, migrant workers have taken 380,000 of the 400,000 net jobs growth. Young Australians, in particular, are missing out on jobs with unemployment for 15-24-year-olds hitting 14.1 per cent
The report revealed that visas were issued to 7000 foreign accountants in 2012-13 despite 7200 domestic students completing bachelor or higher degrees in accounting in 2012. The Department of Employment declared there was “a more than adequate supply of accountants”.
“You would think that the respective Ministers for Employment and Immigration would confer occasionally on what was in the best interests of the country, but apparently not,” says Ms Goldie.
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.”
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
Amid all the talk by politicians and media about the imminent horror budget with cuts to many important services, Treasurer Joe Hockey fails to see the source of more than enough money to cover all these ‘holes’, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
Cutting immigration significantly, and thus the population growth rate, would free billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on infrastructure.
SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says estimates of the infrastructure costs of each new person added to the Australian population range between $200,000 and $300,000 per person, whether a new born baby or an immigrant.
“Thus, with population growing by over 400,000 annually, the additional cost in infrastructure is at least $80 billion, of which $48 billion is from net overseas migration,” says Ms Goldie. “This infrastructure cost is a cost borne by the existing population, either as economic benefits foregone or as deterioration in infrastructure services.
“Halving net overseas migration (currently 241,000 annually) would mean a savings of $24 billion or more.”
Michael Reddell of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand wrote this week that ‘Internationally, there is no evidence over the last century that countries with faster population growth, or greater inward migration, have achieved faster income or productivity growth than other countries…’
“The Productivity Commission has already shown that Australia’s very high immigration levels add nothing to the welfare of Australians,” says Ms Goldie.
“Australia now has the highest rate of population growth (1.8 per cent) of any OECD country. This adds 1.8 per cent every year to the cost of health and hospitals, schools, transport, pensions and other support benefits without any improvement in the quality of service.
“A very large reduction in the immigration intake would solve the problems the Treasurer sees in the Australian economy,” says Ms Goldie. “And the abolition of all inducements for families to have more children would also help. This is not to blame immigrants; it is to blame government, opposition and much of the media who all appear deliberately blind to this very large and unmanaged financial cost to the Australian community.”
The Abbott government’s reopening of a visa loophole in the temporary working visa (457) program is a retrograde step, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
The Gillard government in 2013 had tightened the program to stop rorting by employers in the mining, construction and IT industries who knowingly hired hundreds more foreign workers than they had applied for.
SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says that with the recent decline of manufacturing in Australia and an increase in the unemployment rate to six percent in January of 2014 , it was critical that as many jobs as possible went to Australians.
“The Gillard government was right to tighten the 457 program in 2013,” says Ms Goldie. “Companies had taken advantage of it by bringing in too many workers, to the disadvantage of local workers.
“In July last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that real unemployment is more than double the official figure. It should actually be 13.1 per cent when ‘discouraged’ jobseekers, the ‘underemployed’ and those who want to start work within a month, but cannot begin immediately, are taken into account.”
Ms Goldie says bringing in excessive numbers of workers, albeit temporary, only puts pressure on governments needing to supply infrastructure for an additional 400,000 people who are added to the population each year. Australia’s population growth rate of 1.8 per cent is three times the OECD average of 0.55 per cent.
“Temporary workers need housing and hospitals just as much as permanent residents,” she says. “Perhaps if employers had responsibility for providing these themselves they would be less inclined to favour foreign workers over Australian residents.”
Sustainable Population Australia, SPA Media Release, March 2014
Figures out today from the Bureau of Statistics reveal Australia’s population grew at 1.8 per cent, with net overseas migration of 238,300 people (60%) in the year ending March 31, 2013, and natural increase of 159,100 people (40%).
SPA National President Ms Jenny Goldie says infrastructure spending has not kept pace with such rapid growth, resulting in greater congestion, unaffordable housing and longer waiting times.
“It is now generally accepted that it costs $200,000 in extra infrastructure for every extra person. With 400,000 at $200,000 per person it means $80 billion in one year. No wonder the states are crying poor!
“Another way of looking at it is that we need to build another Adelaide every three years with all the associated infrastructure” says Ms Goldie.
“The environmental consequences of human population growth are equally concerning,” she says. “A rapidly expanding population demands access to more natural resources, be it food, fibre or oil, putting ever more pressure on soils, seas and forests.
“Biodiversity is adversely affected. Birds and mammals have been driven to extinction by human overkill, loss of habitat, invasive species, pollution and disease. Human activity is the prime cause of these processes and they intensify as human numbers grow.”
Ms Goldie says it is alarming that over 100,000 were added to Victoria’s population in one year.
“It’s all very well for the Victorian Government to talk of better planning but that kind of growth simply translates into crowded roads, trains and schools, higher house prices and rents, and loss of general amenity such as sunshine and views when more high rise buildings are built.”
Ms Goldie hopes the new federal government will realise that rapid population growth is not beneficial to the average citizen who has to wear its downside.
“The new government must lower immigration and remove all incentives for a high birth rate.”
Sustainable Population Australia, Green Wedges Coalition, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria and Planning Backlash are four of the peak planning and environmental groups that have produced a Sustainable Population Charter for Victoria because the government seems unable to do so. It recommends that net overseas migration be reduced from the recent 232,000 immigrants in a year to 70,000 net per annum. See "Peak Community Groups advocate for Population size as an election issue."
This useful democratic initiative could save Melbourne from chaos, but it has been reported in a slanted kind of way by Murdoch's Herald Sun, which gives quite unmerited authority to a disrespectful and ill-informed response from the government.
Government response irresponsible and disrespectful
Planning Minister Matthew Guy's response, as quoted below from the Herald Sun, seems to show a shameful disregard for the facts of a problem for which he is responsible by switching to questionable and irrelevant figures from the 1950s and 60s in response to a clearly emerging overpopulation crisis today in Victoria. In so doing, he has thumbed his nose at respected women community leaders who have stood up to represent concerned citizens in the absence of any fair representation from Mr Guy or his ilk on population. Instead of having the honesty to admit what is happening, Mr Guy raised an irrelevancy that is almost impossible for the average person to prove or disprove or sensibly situate in the debate.
“Planning Minister Matthew Guy said that the state's population growth was higher in the 1950s and 1960s and migrants should not be singled out by community groups." (The Herald Sun)
Check the facts for your self in the graph above, which takes figures from Australian Government year books and the ABS from 1945 to 2009. Does it look to you like immigration was higher in the 50s and 60s? No, of course not. And figures continue to climb since 2009. Between 2006 and 2011 immigration has contributed 60% of Australia's population growth. No-one is 'singling out' migrants.
In the face of the environmental planning groups' carefully worded and researched document, Mr Guy has referred vaguely to conditions in the 1950s and 1960s (when world population was between 2.5 and 3.5 billion instead of its current size of 7.1 billion and energy resources were hardly tapped.) What kind of intellect are we dealing with here?
He did not bother to provide the figures he claimed to be alluding to, nor did he say why they were relevant. He failed to take on board that it is the duty of citizens to form alliances to restrain his government from its constant attack on democracy, property and environment. And that it is his duty to respond rationally and democratically.
"We are living longer, we are having more children, there are a whole range of factors in population growth," said Mr Guy.
http://betaworks.abs.gov.au/betaworks/betaworks.nsf/projects/demographyVideo/frame.htm Note that in this video, even the Australian Bureau of Statistics is now politically massaging growth, saying that Australia's population is 'growing stronger' - instead of 'increasing faster'.
Well, yes, of course there are a 'whole range of factors in population growth', but immigration is the biggest and a multiplier of fertility opportunities. (See Sheila Newman, Demography, Territory, Law: The rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2012.) Mr Guy also does not say that the few people and corporations pushing for higher population growth derive the narrowly focused but huge financial benefits that the rest of us pay so dearly for in the loss of parkland, in homelessness, in lack of education and jobs.
Politically intimidating put-down
"Simply targeting overseas migration is simplistic and it won't solve population growth problems," Mr Guy reportedly said.
This put-down of the careful work that the peak planning and environment groups have actually done looks like an attempt by a powerful politician to intimidate democratic and highly relevant comment by slurring its spokeswomen.
The graph showing immigration from 1901-1944 shows our earlier immigration patterns, where during both World Wars and during depressions, more people left the country than came in.
This is not 'good management'
"Mr Guy said growth had to be well managed which was why the Government was pushing ahead with the East West Link and a metropolitan planning strategy.” 
If that is good management, then why is Melbourne's oldest park (Royal Park) targeted by the growth lobby to receive a concrete horrendoplasty and why are there protests on the steps of parliament, as even usually tame councils call for a sane alternative in rail? See "Melbourne Protestors demand: Trains not Tollroads!"
Mr Guy's 19th century ideas similar to Ethiopia's Mennilik II
Mr Guy reminds me of Mennilik II in Ethiopia, who decided to develop the country in the late 19th century, when the population was only 4 or 5 million and people lived in stable economies among clans on their own land. After Mennilik's modernisation programs, which included massive land 'reforms' - driving people off their own land into cities - Ethiopia's population climbed to 10 million. In 1950, as development continued, the population climbed to 18.3 million. In the 1970s there were more huge land reforms. In the 1980s there were mass government resettlements. Now in 2010 Ethiopia's population is 83 million and climbing rapidly still.
Mr Guy is pushing the very same process as his government promotes more bad laws to prevent people from having any say over how they live and what is done around them in their own country. Like the Ethiopians, we are being rounded up for the sake of economic ideologies of benefit to a very few. Those who dare to protest are attacked with lies about numbers, fatuous pronouncements about living longer and having more children, and innuendo such as 'don't blame immigrants'. But Mr Guy, who is not deaf, blind or illiterate, knows that his government constantly advertises for immigrants and that Australia's population is growing mostly because of immigration, which is now so high that it is driving the destruction of local ammenity in the form of unwanted and costly infrastructure that his government is imposing on its constituents, just like some primitive dictatorship.
In 1994, when I began to research what drove population growth, Australia's population was 17m and our net overseas immigration numbers averaged about 80,000. We did not need desalination plants and homelessness was an unusual problem. But the Murdoch and Fairfax Press and corporate Australia were already baying for growth. By 2013 we have already reached well over 22million - a dangerous growth rate that has caused cost of living to skyrocket and quality of life to deteriorate.
Mr Guy says, "Simply targeting overseas migration is simplistic and it won't solve population growth problems."
The fact is that the Murdoch and Fairfax Press promote politicians who make misleading statements like that one by Mr Guy because Murdoch and Fairfax have huge investments in population growth. ABS figures show that stopping high overseas immigration would go a long way to solving population growth problems because it is the major driver of population growth in Victoria and Australia.
Mr Guy should pay attention to that sustainable population charter.
 John Masanauskas, "Don't blame migrants on suburban boom, warns Planning Minister Matthew Guy," Herald Sun, August 30, 2013.
 The mainstream press are part of the corporate lobby. As well as both the Murdoch and the Fairfax press owning huge property dot coms (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au) and constantly beating the populate or perish drum, owners, board members and their associates can position themselves to benefit from the influence of journalistic reporting on the value of resources, commodities, and manufactures, as well as influencing who gets elected by choosing who and what gets publicity. By the way, David Williamson's new play, "Rupert", does a magnificent job of showing how this happens.
Groups representing thousands of Australians intend seeking meetings with Federal MPs to see where they stand on population growth and are calling for a referendum on the issues.
Peak environmental and planning groups in Victoria have cooperated to create a people’s Population Charter which says to the growth lobbyists “enough!”
Protectors of Public Lands Victoria, Green Wedges Coalition, Planning Backlash, Environment East Gippsland, and the Vic/Tas branch of Sustainable Population Australia represent thousands of Victorians concerned that urban and rural amenity is being paved over as our urban open space, productive farmland and critical wildlife habitats are lost to more and more development.
The group intends to seek meetings with various Federal MPs to assess their support for action on population growth, and is also calling for a referendum to gauge the level of support for government to adopt a population policy which is responsive to the environmental carrying capacity of each region whilst also observing our international humanitarian obligations.
Acting Victorian president of Sustainable Population Australia and charter spokesperson Jenny Warfe says:
“Representative democracy is failing us. From Tecoma to Collingwood and Port Campbell to Gippsland, environmental and community groups are battling developer juggernauts, road and toll way builders. We are all having the same arguments over and over again with decision makers who don’t care what their constituents want, just what their developer mates want. And they want more of everything. It’s time to take back the decision making process about critical environmental and planning issues before unchecked population expansion rolls over all that is dear to us and critical for our future survival.”
It is fascinating to note that the bulk of the people leading and animating these groups are women, standing up to the male-dominated ideology of forced population growth in Australia.
July 30. The film will be introduced by Australian population scientist, Sheila Newman, (Demography, Territory, Law) who will also lead discussion afterwards. Grounded in the theories of social scientist Riane Eisler, the film strives not to blame but to educate, to highlight a different path for humanity. Overpopulation is merely a symptom of an even larger problem - a "domination system" that for most of human history has glorified the domination of man over nature, man over child and man over woman. To break this pattern, the film demonstrates that we must change our conquering mindset into a nurturing one. And the first step is to raise the status of women worldwide.
Sheila Newman, who will be introducing the event, is the author of a new demographic theory book called Demography, territory and Law, the Rules of Animal and Human Populations.
The event is sponsored by Sustainable Population Australia and Arts in Action. You can find out more about it at www.artsinaction.com.au/mother-caring-for-7-billion. You can purchase tickets at the door or order them online. Tickets online are $7/$10 BF. At the door tickets will cost $12/$15.
Mother, the film, breaks a 40-year taboo by bringing to light an issue that silently fuels our most pressing environmental, humanitarian and social crises - population growth. In 2011 the world population reached 7 billion, a startling seven-fold increase since the first billion occurred 200 years ago.
Population was once at the top of the international agenda, dominating the first Earth Day and the subject of best-selling books like “The Population Bomb”. Since the 1960s the world population has nearly doubled, adding more than 3 billion people. At the same time, talking about population has become politically incorrect because of the sensitivity of the issues surrounding the topic–religion, economics, family planning and gender inequality. Yet it is an issue we cannot afford to ignore.
Today, nearly 1 billion people still suffer from chronic hunger even though the Green Revolution that has fed billions will soon come to an end due to the diminishing availability of its main ingredients–oil and water. Compounded with our ravenous appetite for natural resources, population growth is putting an unprecedented burden on the life system we all depend on, as we refuse to face the fact that more people equals more problems.
The film illustrates both the over-consumption and the inequity side of the population issue by following Beth, a mother and a child-rights activist as she comes to discover, along with the audience, the thorny complexities of the population issue. Beth – who comes from a large American family of 12 and has adopted an African-born daughter–travels to Ethiopia where she meets Zinet, the oldest daughter of a desperately poor family of 12. Zinet has found the courage to break free from thousand-year-old-cultural barriers, and their encounter will change Beth forever.
Grounded in the theories of social scientist Riane Eisler, the film strives not to blame but to educate, to highlight a different path for humanity. Overpopulation is merely a symptom of an even larger problem - a "domination system" that for most of human history has glorified the domination of man over nature, man over child and man over woman. To break this pattern, the film demonstrates that we must change our conquering mindset into a nurturing one. And the first step is to raise the status of women worldwide.
"Mother: Caring for 7 Billion" features world-renown experts and scientists including biologist Paul Ehrlich, author of “The Population Bomb;" economist Mathis Wackernagel, the creator of the ground-breaking Footprint Network; Malcolm Potts, a pioneer in human reproductive health; and Riane Eisler, whose book “The Chalice and the Blade” has been published in 23 countries.
Monash University's Dr. Bob Birrell of Monash University Centre for Population and Urban Research spoke at the Sustainable Population Australia AGM on July 20, 2013 to a conference center packed to standing room only. The speaker was retained for questions until long after the end of the talk. "It was chilling the way Dr Birrell calmly and factually revealed the deep globalised shit we are in. It just doesn’t make sense at all. If only the public understood what is being done to them and their children...not to mention our environment." Videos by Steven Armstrong.
The meeting yesterday was well summed-up by one of those present as a “rip snorter”. The room was filled to capacity with standing room only. The mean age of the audience was substantially reduced on previous AGMs, an indication of how the effects of overpopulation are hitting more and more people in the form of unavailable, unaffordable housing, massive power bills, congestion and stress at every level ... and unemployment.
One gentleman slapped a wad of 10x $10 notes on the table at the beginning of the branch meeting and people seemed keen to give money to help SPA.
"It was chilling the way Dr Birrell calmly and factually revealed the deep globalised shit we are in. It just doesn’t make sense at all. If only the public understood what is being done to them and their children. ..not to mention our environment." (A new SPA member).
The notes below were taken by a member of the audience and are an impressionistic paraphrase of some highlights of Birrell's speech. You will need to watch the videos of the speech for detailed quotes.
Bob Birrel in calm measured tones revealed the treachery of our governments to Australians especially workers.
The latest population increase was 370,000 people, representing a growth rate of 1.7%. This increase was made up of 210,000-215,000 permanent entry including humanitarian. It included temporary entry e.g. 457 visas and working holiday visas. About 30,000 people moved here from New Zealand (but not all were born there; many migrated there from elsewhere.) Natural increase (births over deaths) made up 150,000. That makes a huge excess of immigrants over native born, to the tune of 150,000: 270,000.
Snapshot - In December 2012 the ABS calculated that there were 1.1 million temporaries here. Most temporary visa holders have work rights. Visitors don't have work rights but many work anyway. This is all on top of the permanent entry people, numbering about 210,000- 215,000.
May 2012-13: 108,000 new arrivals added to labour market. Total employed persons only increased by 127,000.
Rate of workforce growth has declined sharply. During the mining boom it grew by 200,000 but this has halved- leading to an increase in unemployment.
Our Youth disadvantaged by immigration levels:
50-60,00 young people seek entry level jobs each year. Immigrants competing with them for these. There has also been a drop in workforce participation.
This is the CFMEU billboard Dr Birrell refers to: "In the 12 months to February 2013, Australian construction industry employment grew by only 1.1%, but the number of 457 visa holders employers had working in the industry actually increased by 25% to 14,080. Between December 2012 and March 2013, trades apprenticeship numbers dropped from 67.500 to 53.400."
Why is ALP not decreasing the migrant program when jobs are falling and unemployment is rising?
Labor elites now tend to see themselves as globalisers, harking back to the Hawke-Keating era of deregulation. By subjecting workers to enterprise bargaining and international migrant competition they are trying to overcome a bogey they perceive in "Protectionism".
Government has pushed the selection of migrants onto employers, failing to regulate to safeguard local job opportunities. The rules don't require the employer to test the local market. All this came to a head recently over the 457 visas. The CFMEU (mining and construction union) has led the ACTU in a comeback on behalf of workers (see picture of CFMEU Billboard: "More apprenticeships, fewer 457 visas.")
Globalisers In the 1980s the ALP opened the Australian economy to globalists- to “wake up” the sleeping economy. These policies overcame our protection heritage. 457s were good news for globalising forces. CFMEU (mining and construction) were very concerned. They saw 457s as breaking their control. Chris Bowen, the current Federal treasurer is not in favour of protecting local jobs and his book Hearts and minds is apparently very revealing of his preference for the globalist ideology.
457 Visas: Howard, Rudd and Doha 2000
The Howard government had given away our right to this Doha conference in 2000 in exchange for tariff concessions from other countries. Rudd confirmed this when he became prime minister.
There has been a split in ALP ranks over this- Craig Cameron and Kelvin Thomson are among those who support labour market testing.
Julia Gillard, last day of parliament passed protection for local workers against 457 visas
Julia Gillard said, just before she was removed, that Australians should be at the head of the (Job) queue- stated this publicly. One of the last things her government did was to subject the 457 visas to labor market testing. The new law has not yet been proclaimed, but went through on the very last day of parliament. The protections for workers are weak, but they are an improvement on the naked 457. They protect workers in trades but leave professions pretty unprotected.