Is SPA a political group?

SPA is not a political party and is not affiliated with any party. We are political in that we try to educate politicians as well as the media and the general public on the population issue in Australia.

SPA has no official relationship with the similarly named political party Sustainable Australia which came into existence in 2010.

Who are SPA?

SPA is a non-profit volunteer environment group. Unlike most others, we focus on the importance of population growth – the human impact on our natural, rural and urban environments.

Is SPA a local branch of a foreign organisation?

No. SPA was started in Australia, by Australians and our primary concern is the Australian environment.

There are many organisations around the world that share similar goals to SPA. We list some of them at Links page

Why don’t we just call ourselves Zero Population Growth?

We believe that Australia will probably have to do more than just stabilise the population level. We most likely have to reduce it in the long run. People might be confused if we talked of negative growth. It sounds like a contradiction and besides, it may not be needed everywhere. The important thing is to strike the right balance between nature and numbers.

How do we lower the birth rate?

There are plenty of non-coercive things that could be done. Experience in the third world shows three things are vital:
1) Access to and information about contraceptives.
2) The ability of women to decide their own future, including the number of children.
3) High health levels and low death rates of those children.

In Australia this means putting money back into family planning clinics. Parenting courses in schools. Better sex education and access to contraceptives. Spending more on children’s health and welfare services. Encouraging girls to pursue their education and careers further. Launching a “Two Will Do” campaign, making it clear that large families are not economically necessary or environmentally desirable to the nation.

Governments in a variety of countries have used both incentives to encourage smaller families and disincentives for larger families. Some more recent examples include:

Indonesia – The government has backed free birth control services and family planning services emphasising family welfare with the slogan ‘two children are enough.’
Iran – adopted state funded family planning services from the 1980s to the 2000s. Families were encouraged to space their children 3-4 years apart, and avoid pregnancies when under 18 or over 35. The money saved from maternity leave payments funded family planning services. Fertility rates dropped from 7 children per woman to less than 3.
Thailand – Use of contraception was promoted since the 1980s by Dr Meechai, through use of humorous promotional campaigns. As a result, Thailand’s annual population growth rate dropped from 3% per annum to around 1% in under a decade.

For more, read Overloading Australia and the Worldwatch Institute paper: Promoting Population Stabilization: Incentives for Small Families.

Is it racist to reduce immigration?

SPA rejects racism. Item 5 of our aims and objectives is: To advocate low immigration rates while rejecting any selection of immigrants based on race, ethnicity or religion.

SPA’s objective is to ensure that the size and growth of Australia’s population is ecologically sustainable. SPA is unconcerned with the racial mix of that population or the racial mix of those coming to Australia. SPA seeks only to ensure that our population size rapidly stabilises and remains stable or even gradually contracts thereafter. This is an essential requirement for an environmentally sustainable future.

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What about Refugees?

There is no need to reduce the current refugee intake, and in fact SPA has advocated that it be increased by 25%. Australia’s current refugee intake is around 4,000 per year – equivalent to less than 15% of the approximately 28,000 people who leave Australia permanently every year. This still leaves room for some immigration (e.g. close family reunion, some special skills) without causing a net increase in population.

Isn’t Conservation more important than population?

This is like asking if your heart is more important than your brain. Both are vital to survival. Taking action only on conservation and ignoring population is like mopping up around an overflowing bath without turning the taps off. No matter how hard you work, you just can’t win in the long run.

What is I = PAT?

The impact on a country’s resources and environment is most clearly explained by the Ehrlich equation (Environmental) Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology:  I = PAT, where

P = Population size  
A = Affluence (average individual consumption)
T = an index of the environmental demand of Technology to supply consumption

Communities need to limit the size of all three factors: it makes no sense to pretend that only one or two of them are important. Today, even those planners sympathetic to the environment cannot avoid imposing further burdens on it in order to satisfy the needs of ever more people.

We must work on all three fronts:
. stabilise – or better – reduce population
. change our lifestyles to use less energy and finite resources
. adopt less damaging industrial and farming practices.

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