Past Events | Sustainable Population Australia

Past Events

SPA reflects on our hugely successful 2019 public forum

On Saturday 27th April 2019,  Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) hosted a free public forum:  “Population, Sustainability and Quality of Life:  what future do we want for Australia?”

 

Almost 100 members of the public attended the beautiful EcoCentre at Griffith Univeristy, Brisbane Queensland.  We were fortunate to enjoy some powerful and motivating presentations from a variety of speakers including:  Hugh Possingham (The Nature Conservancy);  Sue Arnold (Australians for Animals); Steve McDonald (President of Redlands2030); Cameron Murray (Economist and Sustainable Australia Party candidate); Crispin Hull (Journalist for the Canberra Times); Charles Worringham (spokesperson for The Greens); and Kelvin Thomson (Former Labor MP for Wills).

Given that population has been dismissed as a fringe issue in the past, the diversity of our enthusiastic speakers is indicative of the contrary - that people from all walks of life are now aware of the impacts of population growth and are keen to talk about it!

Our speakers covered a variety of topics such as the impacts of population growth on the environment, habitat, urban planning and infrastructure.  They explored some of the reasons why many sectors of our society continue to uphold the belief that rapid population growth is necessary for a prosperous economy whilst debunking several enduring myths around ageing societies.  The information delivered was sometimes alarming as the impacts of population growth are increasingly felt throughout society and in our natural environments.  However, there was also cause for hope and a call to arms, especially from Kelvin Thomson who shared his wisdom on what we all must do to address these serious problems.

The presenters were invited to join a Q&A panel, where some real postive, constructive and dynamic conversations were had with the audience.

Videos for Dr Cameron Murray, Kelvin Thomson, Steve McDonald and Charles Worringham are all now available on the SPA YouTube Channel.   All contain powerful messages and we strongly recommend sharing these videos or any others on our YouTube channel with your friends, family and networks.

We would also like to provide:

- The transcript of the speeches from Sue Arnold and Crispin Hull

- The presentation slides from Hugh Possingham, Sue Arnold and Cameron Murray.

These pdfs can be found at the bottom of the page and provide a wealth of insight and wisdom.  Again, we invite all to share.

A huge thank you to everyone who came along, the presenters, all who volunteered on the day and last but not least, to Jane O'Sullivan and the Queensland branch for making possible such a successful, well-run and essential event.

 

May 20 2019

Population, sustainability and quality of life: what future do we want for Australia?

Sustainable Population Australia invites you to a free Public Forum: Population, sustainability and quality of life: what future do we want for Australia?

When:   Saturday 27 April 2019 1.30 – 5 pm
Where:  The EcoCentre, Griffith University Nathan Campus, building N68
RSVP:    qld@population.org.au
More details: See this poster which includes a map

Confirmed speakers:

Hugh Possingham, Ecologist and Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy.
Sue Arnold, Journalist and President of Australians for Animals NSW.
Steve McDonald, Town Planner & President of Redlands2030 citizen action group.
Cameron Murray, Economist and Senate candidate for Sustainable Australia.
Crispin Hull, journalist and columnist for the Canberra Times.
Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Labor MP for the seat of Wills.

Open to all members of the public.  This event includes afternoon tea.  

March 3 2019

Public Launch of Tough Crowd Series

 

SPA is celebrating the success of the public launch of the TOUGH CROWD series.

Tough Crowd is our new YouTube series where much loved comedian Rod Quantock interviews comedians, environmentalists, politicians and other interesting people on their perspectives on population and their personal journeys and challenges when dealing and talking about this difficult but very important topic.

In episode one, Series one of Tough Crowd, Rod Quantock chats with comedian/musician Jude Perl. Jude discusses her reasons for not having children and some of the challenges involved in convincing her friends and family on her decision.  Jude discusses how she incorporates her child- free journey into her live shows and songs and why it is important to be a role model for others who are having second thoughts on having children. Jude goes on to perform a live rendition of her very topical original song, 'Let's Hang Out'.

Other interviews include Sri Lankan born environmental scientist Asitha Samarawickrama, and candidates for AJP and Sustainable Australia, Bruce Poon and Mark McDonald.

The Tough Crowd series was formed by a chance meeting between Rod Quantock and former SPA National President, Dr James Ward.  The idea was to create a personable, relatable and entertaining series of interviews around the challenges of talking about population in wider society.  The project was funded by a generous donation from Dick Smith in conjunction to SPA's first ever crowd funding campaign.

We hosted a public screening in Melbourne to celebrate the project, acknowledge the crowd funding supporters and other contributors to the project, and to finally launch the series to the wider world.  The response to the screening was enthusiastic and supportive.  The screening was part of the Sustainable Living Festival program and we thank SLF for their partnership and support.

Episode one of Tough Crowd is now available to watch on our YouTube channel.  We will be releasing an episode every couple of weeks so stay tuned!

 

Below are some photos from the opening night of the public screening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 1 2019

TOUGH CROWD launch and public screening, with Rod Quantock

Celebrate the launch of the Tough Crowd web series, featuring live performances by Rod Quantock, OAM and Jude Perl, comedian and musician.

Population is an issue that is a concern to many environmentalists and this issue is not just the responsibility of policy makers, it can influence people’s personal decisions, such as having children. Rod Quantock interviews comedians and interesting people on the challenges they face in discussing population as an environmental issue.

Tough Crowd intimately explores people’s attitudes toward environmental concerns on population, including decisions around raising families and the difficulties in discussing these issues in society.

The launch will also celebrate the committment of the generous donors to the Crowdfunding Campaign that made this all possible

The screening is in partnership with the 2019 Sustainable Living Festival.

WHEN
FRI 22  Feb or SAT 23 Feb
7:00 PM - 09:00PM

WHERE
LONG PLAY CINEMA
318 ST GEORGES ROAD FITZROY NORTH

COST
FULL TICKET: $10
CONCESSION TICKET: $7

Book tickets here

https://www.trybooking.com/ZHMM

 

 

 

February 12 2019

Victorian Members - write to your newly elected parliament about your population concerns

 

To our Victorian members, Victorian supporters, and anyone living in Victoria concerned about the record population growth in the state.  Growth which is threatening to liveability and long term sustainability of both Melbourne and regional Victoria.

With a freshly elected Victorian state parliament,  we suspect that population will be a hot topic for the next parliamentary term.

Therefore, it is an ideal time to write to your serving MPs to tell them exactly why high population in Victoria is not serving you.

The more of us that write to our politicians, the louder the voice for change in population policy will become.

For this reason, we have written a pro-forma letter that we believe covers the main points, makes a convincing argument and is keeping to the style that we believe politicians will read.

Please feel free to use the entirely of this pro-forma or to personalise it when sending to your local lower and upper house MPS.

You can search for your own representatives at the website here

 

Thank you and good luck!

 

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Victoria and Tasmania Branch

 

 

pro forma letter below:

 

 

{local member}

{date}

Dear (Title and name) ,

I am writing to you today in relation to the rapid rate of population growth within our state, particularly within Greater Melbourne, which is growing at over 100,000 per annum.  The only debate within government and the media is centred around “where Victoria should house all of the population growth”, but surely the bigger debate is on the merits of population growth, and whether it is a good idea at all?

Population growth is an issue which exacerbates many of the common concerns of today:congestion, liveability, environment, water security, public-debt, and housing affordability.  Therefore, it is essential that the all levels of government consider these issues against any future population growth. 

Melbourne reached 5 million in 2018, and is now projected to be a Megacity of 8 million by 2051.  This would be a very poor outcome for residents:
A Melbourne of 8 million is not a liveable city.
A Melbourne of 8 million is not a prosperous city.
A Melbourne of 8 million is not a sustainable city.
A Melbourne of 8 million is not an affordable city.

The Victorian government’s plan to continue to expand the suburban fringe (i)  has created large pockets of sprawl, which offer a poor quality of life for residents.  City fringe residents face commute times of up to 2 hours, and confined to a 300m2 block (ii) , yet don’t enjoy any of the benefits of rural lifestyles.  However, with median house prices in excess of $1 million for the majority of Melbourne’s established suburbs, few families have a choice but to live in these fringe estates.  

The alternative of increasing the density of Melbourne with more apartments is no panacea either.  Historic buildings and family homes have been replaced with cranes and constructions sites across all of inner Melbourne.  It is a property developers’ paradise.  For residents, however, high density living has been shown to have adverse mental and physical effects . 

The Property Council and business lobby groups will insist that more infrastructure is the solution.  Planning consultant Marcus Spiller has said, “We are now just so far behind that there's almost no way to catch up with the growth". (iii)  Current infrastructure projects such as: the level crossing removal ($4 billion), the Melbourne metro project ($11 billion), Northeast link ($15 billion) are a huge impost on the state’s budget, and are at best a band-aid on the city’s growing congestion.  Furthermore, the huge cost of this “growth infrastructure” is diverting funds away from other essential services, while piling the state under a mountain of debt.

The Treasurer, Tim Pallas, has trumpeted the benefits of population growth as a boon for the Victorian Economy.  This ignores the fact that per capita, the Victorian economy has gone backwards in four of the past eight years (iv).  Our current trajectory towards a future of 8 million Melbournians is perilous, and not in the best interests of the electorate. 

I urge you consider the following actions:
1. To actively debate the topic of population growth within state parliament, and to seek public consultation on the current growth agenda
2. To develop a population policy which considers all of the impacts of population growth on Australia’s:  economy, health, environment, and living standards.
3. Negotiate with the federal government to reduce Australia’s immigration intake in line with long-term historical levels of 70,000 per annum.  Net migration is responsible for 60% of Australia’s annual population increase, making immigration policy our ‘de facto’ population policy, at present.

I look forward to your response.

Regards,

{your name}
 

 

(i)  https://www.domain.com.au/news/melbournes-urban-sprawl-continues-to-the-...

(ii)  https://www.realestate.com.au/news/blocks-shrinking-in-melbourne-housing...

(iii)  https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/city-east/sydneys-high-densi...   story/46f635cf0c437e9018b1d58ca50576a9?nk=bca1a77baadc9f7b0118f33e2cebeba5-1544224777

(iv)  http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/4-million-5-million-8-million-how-big-...
 

December 22 2018

Write to you federal MPs with your population concerns before the election

 

 

Sustainable Population Australia is inviting all Australians who are concerned about our unsustainable population to growth to contact their Federal MPs before the next Federal election.

Now that population is a hotter topic than ever in the halls of parliament, the next few months are an ideal time to contact our MPs to give a loud and clear message that we, the voters, do NOT want a big Australia.

The more of us that write to our politicians, the louder the voice on this issue will be heard.

We have prepared a pro-forma letter to provide the style and content which we want to be communicating to our politicians.  We invite you to personalise and to use as much of this letter as you wish when contacting your MP.

To find your local federal members, the search function can be found here

Good luck!
 

 

Pro Forma letter:

 

{MP name}

{date}

Dear (title and name of MP) ,

I am writing to draw to your attention the need for a mature and respectful debate about rapid population growth and to seek your views on this issue.

Globally population growth has risen dramatically in the last two centuries. In 1800, the  global population was 1 billion people. By 2018, it had risen to 7.7 billion people. It is now rising by 80 million every year - an extra billion people every 12 years - and shows no sign of slowing down.

Population growth is the underlying cause of most wars - due to conflict over access to scarce resources, refugee movements, and a key factor in climate change – it’s hard to reduce your carbon footprint if you keep adding more feet!   The global population of
7.7 billion has had a catastrophic effect on the world’s wildlife, many species have been pushed to the brink of extinction.

Australia’s population growth is even more pronounced. Whereas our population was
10 million in 1960, it has now risen to 25 million, and is on track to be 40 million by 2050 and 100 million by 2100.

The principal growth driver is a big jump in immigration levels.  This was initially introduced by the Howard government in 2003, but this policy has continued by subsequent governments.    Net migration levels have almost quadrupled from the twentieth century average of 52,000 per annum, to over 200,000 per annum. 
The secondary growth driver is natural increase, more births than deaths - averaging 150,000 more each year (30% of births are to migrant mothers). The combined result of both migration and natural increase, is domestic population growth of one million every 3 years, with no signs of slowing down.
Our growth rate exceeds the global average, and is more than double the OECD average.

Our rapid population growth has led to adverse consequences for: housing affordability,
job opportunities for young people, traffic congestion, and carbon emissions.  Furthermore, the impact on our cities, open space, and on our wildlife, has been devastating.

Against this background, I am keen to hear your thoughts on rapid population growth. 
In particular, on four suggestions which I believe would make Australia and the world a better place both now and particularly in the future:

1. Increasing the proportion of our aid which goes to family planning. The international picture is dismal - family planning gets a mere 0.4% of international aid. Past evidence shows that spending money in this area works, and could stabilise global populations, whilst also raising living standards of recipient countries.

2. Returning Australia’s net migration to the numbers we had last century, rather than the rapid spike of the 21st. Australia will remain a multicultural, diverse country, even with more moderate immigration, and could maintain the current level of refugees intake. Indeed it is likely that public support for a compassionate refugee program would increase if the migrant worker programs, which are often exploited, were scaled back.

3. Australia’s rapid population growth happened without Australians being given a say in it.  Can we get a plebiscite about our population levels?  If this is not possible, Australians living in the major cities should at least have their say in planning matters returned to them. One of the many undesirable features of rapid growth in our cities has been the theft of a real say in planning decisions from local residents. Will you support measures to return a real say in planning decisions to the residents who are most affected by them?

4. Finally, are you prepared to support a mature and respectful debate around these issues? For far too long there has a been a deafening silence from Members of Parliament concerning population. The right has supported the greed of big business and the mantra of growth at any price. The left has become attached to the idea of open borders, an idea which is ecologically illiterate and hopelessly politically naive. The consequence has been the suppression of a debate our country needs to have.

We must stabilise our population to ensure a positive future, for both our children and the many other species on the planet.  What do you think?

Yours sincerely,

{your name here}

 

 

December 21 2018

Victoria and Tasmania Branch AGM and Seminar 2018

Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian and Tasmanian branch) Annual General Meeting

Saturday September 29th 2018 at 2.30 pm Hawthorn Library meeting rooms 3-4, 584 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122

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 victas@population.org.au  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

What does the Australian public really think about a Big Australia and what do the media try to make them think?” 

Presenters:  

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.
 

September 26 2018

NSW SPA 2018 AGM and Forum - Ecological Sustainability and Demography

Join the SPA NSW branch for the AGM and forum.

When: 15 September 2018
Where: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts - 280 Pitt St, Sydney

09:45 - Arrive and register for the AGM
10:00 to 10:40 AM - NSW SPA AGM
10:40 to 11:00 AM - Networking morning tea for members, friends and guests

11:00 – 1:00 PM Forum:

Partnering – Strength Through Alliance: An update by NSW President, Graham Wood

What is an Ecologically Sustainable and Ethically Responsible ‘Economy’?  Dr Haydn Washington, Co-Director NSW Chapter of the Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE).

How Population Growth Interacts with our Society and the Environment: A free online course, Bruce Gregor FIAA AI, demographer and actuary.

Demystifying Migration Data – What everyone needs to know! Bruce Gregor FIAA AI.

All welcome. RSVP would be appreciated to help with catering nsw@population.org.au
See the attached flyer for more.

September 4 2018

Web Series with Rod Quantock needs YOUR suport

 

SPA is very excited to share that we are joining forces with the highly loved Melbourne Comedian ROD QUANTOCK to make a web series exploring the topic of population growth!

TOUGH CROWD will be a first of a kind series . Rod will be interviewing other comedians and entertainers to discuss the challenges and difficulties they face when discussing population in wider society.  

This series has HUGE potential to draw interest from wider society. Interviews will share their experience with a poignancy and flare that will be engaging and informative.

Furthermore, if Rod has anything to do with it, the web series will also be raucously funny. If there is one thing our movement needs, it is a generous dose of HUMOUR.

It is a project that SPA has never tried before. It is CRITICAL during this time when mainstream society is actually talking about the issue that we are ready to step up to the challenge and reach out to the ‘Tough Crowd’ out there.

To make this project a success, we need YOUR help.

Many SPA members are now aware of our CROWDFUNDING campaign, which we have launched to raise funds for the series.  Support for our campaign has been hugely positive so far, we have raised $3000 so far with 2 weeks left to go to reach our target of $4500.

Funds are needed for the production cost of the series, including reimbursements for the interviewees, venue higher, editing and promotion.  We also need to to purchase additional film equipment to make this series snappy and professional.

We would be hugely grateful if you were to have a look at the site and consider giving a pledge.  It can be as small as $2, every little bit counts and furthermore it is tax deductible!  For those who choose to pledge more, there are some good rewards up for grabs.  These include your name on the credits , a free CD from my band, all the way through to your own personal lunch with Rod Quantock himself!

It would also be fantastic if you could share this crowd funding campaign with your family, colleagues, networks, fellow resident group members or activists, or indeed ANYONE.  Not everyone is in a position to join SPA, but they may be keen on this project if they are concerned about population - or if they are a Rod Quantock fan!

Every cent will count.  We are living in a time when  Australia is around the corner from hitting a population of 25 million. Melbourne is now heading upwards of 9 million by 2050, and Australia is growing by the size of a new Canberra every year. We are concreting over our farmland, we are expected to run low in water within a decade and Australia has one of the highest rates of land clearing in the world.  We NEED to get the message out there.

Please visit the crowdfunding webpage here to find out more and to leave a pledge

 

June 17 2018

Two brand new projects to widen the population discussion. Help us for as little as $2.00!!!

 

We have launched our first ever on-line crowd funding campaign (in addition to the end of financial year appeal).  Crowd funding is an increasingly popular way for people to raise money to set up specific projects and can be a great way to gain exposure and a new audience. 

 

SPA is raising funds to launch a mini web series called 'Tough Crowd'. We are excited to announce Melbourne Comedian Rod Quantock has come on board to assist.  In his relaxed and amusing 'conversations in the pub' style Rod will interview fellow comedians, entertainers and others about the challenges faced in discussing population in the wider community.  SPA is seeking support through our Pozible campaign to fund the whole project, including equipment costs, expenses for our ‘actors’, venue hire, promotion and all the other costs associated with the challenge of making a video series!

 

The Pozible campaign can be found here and Rod Quantock's lively promotional video here.  We would be delighted to have your support and ask too for you to encourage friends, family, and your networks to play a part.  This project may appeal to people who might not otherwise consider joining SPA – but they have to know about it first! Even if they choose not to fund the project it is still good publicity.

 

We are also proud to announce that our PopCulture web page is now up and running - you can find it here.  Have a look at our youth unemployment video and share it. Be proud because you and other SPA members previously helped fund this through a donations drive. This site will host future PopCulture videos. That same video can also be found on our newly reinvigorated YouTube channel here. While we plan to undertake online promotion of the videos you, as members, can play a role by sharing them widely, especially with those particularly affected by issues such as job insecurity and housing affordability.  Who knows, after seeing the videos they too may be motivated to contribute to our ‘Tough Crowd’ campaign!

(From e-news president message, Sandra Kanck - National President)

June 3 2018

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