Annual population growth of nearly 400,000 unsustainable: SPA
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) expresses deep concern that Australia is growing by nearly 400,000 people a year, describing it as ‘unsustainable’.
Yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its figures for the year ending 30 September 2018, with Australia showing a growth rate of 395,100 or 1.6 per cent. Of this growth, 61 per cent was from net overseas migration (240,100) and 39 per cent from natural increase (155,000).
SPA national President, Ms Sandra Kanck, says all population growth, not just from immigration, puts further pressure on housing prices, congestion, hospital waiting times, schools, recreational areas and, most importantly, habitats of other species.
“While welcoming the Prime Minister’s undertaking to reduce permanent immigration to 160,000 annually, we note this is a mere cut of 2,500 from the actual 2017/18 permanent intake of 162,500. The so-called cut is little more than window dressing” says Ms Kanck.
“Additionally there is still a large discrepancy between the official permanent program and net overseas migration (NOM). There is a huge number of visitors staying more than 16 months (and thus counted under NOM) such as temporary migrants, students, New Zealanders and overstayers, all of whom are placing demand on our environment and resources.
“To have any real impact on congestion and environmental damage, the annual migrant intake needs to be further reduced as does the handing out of temporary visas as if they were confetti.
“The UN’s Sixth Global Environmental Outlook, released this week, cites population growth as a prime driver of ongoing environmental change,” says Ms Kanck. “More people equate to more demand for resources be it water, food, shelter or space.
“More people in a biodiversity hot-spot like southeast Queensland, means more pressure on koala habitat. Combined with climate change, loss of habitat from human incursion is driving these and other Australian animals to extinction.”
Ms Kanck said every additional person, whether native-born or immigrant, costs well over $100,000 in public money for basic infrastructure. “That means at least $40 billion is required to cater for the extra 400,000 people Australia gained last year,” she says.
“Proponents of high population growth say we just have to build more infrastructure, but it does not come cheaply,” says Ms Kanck.
“Let us not forget that every person emits carbon dioxide, either directly or through their use of cars and electricity. We should not forget that many coming to Australia do so to raise their living standards. The more people, the more emissions. Yet Australia has promised to reduce emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Without a rapid shift to renewables and in behaviour, however, we will struggle to meet these targets with continuing rapid population growth.”