10 April 2023

Not just a housing crisis – a population growth crisis


Australia is in the middle of a severe housing crisis.  Rents are going off the charts. Why is this happening? The reason, as anyone with knowledge of the property industry can tell you, is population growth.

Population growth is speeding up because the Albanese government has just raised Australia’s migrant intake to 650,000 over this financial year and next. This will mean a record high population growth of 900,000 people – all of whom need somewhere to live. This growth is already creating huge extra demand for housing and putting pressure on rents

Record population growth is a serious concern for many, including Western Sydney Mayor Frank Carbone who says ‘we can’t keep up’ and –‘We don’t want the prices of houses skyrocketing, or rent to go even higher!’

Over 640 000 Australians are already living in acute housing stress.   A bigger Australia caused by record population growth will only create a future in which housing insecurity is even worse for millions more.



Housing is a right – not a luxury



Entire generations of Australians are being shut out of owning their own home with the rate of home ownership plunging over the past three decades.  Australia is one of the least affordable countries to buy – or rent – a home.   Real wages have not kept up with house prices, resulting in a situation in which many Australians are being priced out of a home.






When population grows too fast people get left behind


A growing population is great for property developers because more people places upward pressure on house prices.  Unfortunately, it is terrible news for anyone entering the property market.

When housing can’t keep pace with population growth, this has real human consequences.  Rental prices are soaring while more Australians are facing homelessness as a result of not being able to afford housing.

The federal government says it will build more public housing at  a cost of tens of billions of dollars, but this will be just a drop in the ocean compared to the population growth that our government is pushing onto Australians at the bequest of big business.

Why is the top end of town so keen to grow the population while at the same time pricing everyday Australians out of roof and home?  When will this end?




The housing crisis is an ecological crisis


As climate change exacerbates extreme weather events across Australia such as flooding and bushfires, where are we going to house the additional 13 million people over the next 40 years – requiring another 2 or 3 cities the size of Melbourne or Sydney?

Climate change induced extreme weather events will make many existing and proposedneighbourhoods more vulnerable if not entirely unviable. Denser cities are hotter cities

Land clearing for housing and infrastructure is also one of the leading causes of habitat loss for many of Australia’s iconic species, many of which are threatened with extinction.



The fundamental reason why Australia has been caught short on housing and infrastructure is because its population swelled on the back of 15 years of extreme immigration. If the Albanese Government genuinely wants to improve the housing situation, it should first and foremost abandon its record immigration policy, which will massively lift housing demand, worsen the social housing shortage, send rents soaring, and force thousands of Australians into homelessness.”

  Leith van Onselen, Chief Economist, MacroBusiness


What can we do?


It is time that we came to the table and had an honest conversation on population. The majority of Australians believe that  our population growth is too high.  Most also believe that our housing industry unfairly favours the big end of town.

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is the people’s voice on population. SPA is the only national environmental charity advocating for a sustainable population future for Australia. By supporting SPA, we can work together to send a strong message to our political leaders that real change must happen now.  We can make Australia better, not bigger.

You can be part of the movement in the following ways:

  • Contact you representative Federal MPs, inform them that housing affordability and population are your primary concerns and tell them to reconsider their commitment to a big Australia.  Our DoGooder letter campaign  makes this easy,  in which you can insert your postcode and everything else is filled out for you.
  • Read and share our briefing note, which provides background detail into the relationship between population growth and the housing crisis.
  • Add your signature to our position statement, calling for a stable population in Australia.  Adding your signature is quick, easy,  and confidential.
  • Read and share our media releases here and here.  We have opinion articles published in YourLifeChoices journal (‘Why We Should Demand Cheaper Houses’) and Independent Australia (‘Population Growth Fuelling the Housing Crisis Fire‘).
  • Support SPA though a donation or becoming a member . SPA is an independent, non -politically affiliated organisation which relies on community support to continue our important work.  You may make a donation directly below.
  • Contact your local resident group, or housing support organisation or charity. Inform them on the link between population growth and the housing crisis and encourage them to include population in their advocacy work.

Donate to SPA

Donations are Tax Deductible. Unlike other NGOs, SPA receives few corporate donations so it's really down to individuals to help us get the message out there.
If you have donated before or are already a member, please use the same email address we already know. To change it, email info@population.org.au
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Donate by regular (snail) mail: You can mail us your donation (cheque or credit card) using this printable form.
Or call 0434 962 305

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