Sustainable Population Australia
Patrons: Senator the Hon. Bob Carr, Dr Paul Collins, Prof Tim Flannery, Prof Ian Lowe, Dr Mary E White
22 May 2012
The Federal Government's recent Budget decision to boost to skilled migration from 180,000 to 190,000 flies in the face of a survey that shows 51 per cent of Australians believe population growth is out of control, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
Research by AustraliaSCAN shows the number of people wanting to close the border to immigration has risen from 41 per cent in 2005 to 51 per cent.
SPA National Vice-President, Dr John Coulter, says public opinion had clearly reached a tipping point.
"A majority is now overwhelmed by congested roads, unaffordable housing and excessive hospital waiting lists, all symptoms of excessive population growth," says Dr Coulter.
"The Government should heed what the community is feeling and lower immigration, not increase it. It is adding another 100,000 to the workforce annually at a time when over a million Australians are either unemployed or underemployed."
Dr Coulter says that any 'economic and cultural benefits' of immigration, as extolled by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, are not borne out by the facts and have to be weighed against long-term environmental sustainability. There is no significant correlation between population growth and growth of per capita GDP. Moreover, there are significant costs of failing infrastructure as a consequence of population growth.
"We have to set our immigration program in the context of what population this country can sustain in the long-term," he says. "The current growth rate of 1.4 per cent is clearly unsustainable, primarily in environmental terms but also in economic and social terms."
Dr Coulter says the race to extract all our iron ore and coal as fast as possible – the justification for the latest increase in immigration – is at odds with the Government's commitment to climate change through the carbon tax.
Further information: John Coulter 08 8388 2153