Baby bonus cut very welcome

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) today wholeheartedly welcomed the Budget decision by the Federal Government to abolish the baby bonus from March 2014.

Instead eligible families will receive increased family payments (Family Tax Benefit Schedule A) when they have a new baby.

SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says introduction of the baby bonus by the Howard Government was ostensibly to help families with the costs of having a baby. It became associated, however, with the then-Treasurer Peter Costello’s call to increase the birth rate (“One for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country.”)

“This was probably the most unwise thing Costello ever said,” says Ms Goldie. “The last thing this country needs is a boost to its population. Our annual natural increase of over 150,000 is on top of excessive immigration levels (net migration 228,000 to September 2012).

“Whether it was causation or simply correlation, after the introduction of the baby bonus, Australia’s fertility rate went from 1.7 to 2.0 before dropping back to 1.9. This places us amongst the highest of OECD countries. “

Ms Goldie says Australians have to appreciate that the country is already overpopulated.

“Most environmental indicators are going down, not least biodiversity, and our largest cities congested. Infrastructure is not keeping up with population growth so services are declining.

“It is critical that we stabilise population numbers as soon as possible. Abolishing the baby bonus is a welcome first step,” Ms Goldie says.

Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453