Annual population growth passes 400,000: unsustainable | Sustainable Population Australia

Annual population growth passes 400,000: unsustainable

Australia’s total population growth has soared past 400,000 in the figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. According to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), this is completely unsustainable in environmental, economic and social terms.

SPA National President, Sandra Kanck, says 61.4 per cent of total growth (404,800) was from net overseas migration (248,400 people).

“This is nearly a quarter of a million people added to our population every year from immigration,” says Ms Kanck. “It is far more than the country can absorb and can only add to housing unaffordability, increased waiting times, urban congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and encroachment on other species’ habitats.”

Ms Kanck notes that although the fertility rate sits at an average of 1.8 births per woman, natural increase was also going up, being 156,300 people, an increase of more than 12,000 in a year.

“These figures give the lie to those who argue that our population would decline without immigration,” says Ms Kanck.

“While the federal government is trying to keep a lid on permanent migration, temporary migration appears to be out of control. Whether permanent or temporary, all migrants require housing, energy, water, transport, jobs, health care and often education. And we are falling behind with the provision of most of these.”

Ms Kanck says that the annual growth rate of 1.6 per cent is getting close to three times that of the OECD average of 0.6 per cent.

“How many times must we say that Australia is a largely arid country that can only sustain a small population?"

“With 25 million people, we are not living sustainably, judging by the general decline in our environment, particularly near population centres. Some critical habitats are threatened by urban encroachment, not least that of the koala in southeast Queensland and northeast NSW.”

Ms Kanck urged the federal government to rein in immigration overall and to remove incentives for people having large families.