16 September 2011

Intergenerational report issues sustainable population policy challenge to Rudd government


“Just like illegal boat arrivals, Mr Rudd believes population growth is just another global tectonic force outside his control that he is not responsible for. This seems to be his default response every time there’s an issue where there are no soft options, just hard choices,” Mr Morrison said.


“The Coalition wants a sustainable future for Australia and a sustainable population is arguably the single largest determinant,” he said.


“The forecasts in the intergenerational report are just that, forecasts. Whether they become reality will depend on the population policies we employ, in particular immigration. Mr Rudd has no such policy. He is happy to just passively accept the Treasury verdict and tell us all to just live with it.


“There are growth path alternatives and the Coalition is prepared to consider them. But first we need to know just how many people we believe we can responsibly sustain in the future and work backwards from there.


“60% of our population growth is the product of immigration. While immigration has been a key reason for our current prosperity, we cannot just assume this will be true in the future without good management or careful policy planning.


“Concerns about water resources, public transport, affordable housing, hospitals and schools are all connected not just to how much we spend in these areas, but the size and location of the population they must serve.


“Population policy must connect these issues and determine just what our immigration intake should be for the future.


“This planning must especially involve the States who basically have to live with the population parameters set at a federal level whether by decision or by default, as is the case under the Rudd Government.


“At the same time we must ensure our immigration mix focuses on those who bring much needed skills and can generate the tax base we need to service an ageing population. Last time Labor were in power they cut skills migration to less than 30% of the total, and they are heading in the same direction again.


“Under the Coalition, skills migration was almost 70% of the total” Mr Morrison said.#

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