Budget ignores emerging environmental calamity (MAY)
By increasing Australia’s population through higher immigration and bigger baby
bonuses, this week’s Budget ignores the emerging crises of climate change and the end of
cheap conventional oil, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
The Budget saw Australia’s official immigration rate increase to 190,300 from 177,000,
on top of 100,000 temporary workers. The baby bonus will rise to $5000 from $4000.
National President of SPA, Dr John Coulter, says a bigger population and a ‘business-as-
usual’ economy is not an option in light of the two major crises.
“Both Sir Nicholas Stern and Professor Ross Garnaut are advising that the Government’s
target of 60 per cent reduction in emissions are not nearly enough,” says Dr Coulter.
“Reductions of 80 to 90 per cent will be required.
“In light of this, any increase in population – be it from immigration or from natural
increase – will make it proportionally harder to reach those targets,” he says. “On its
Budget settings, Australia’s population will increase by an additional five per cent
approximately every three years. Every three years it will become five per cent harder to
bring greenhouse emissions down.”
Dr Coulter says that with crude oil passing $125 USD a barrel, farmers will be hard
pressed to maintain production levels since Australian agriculture is so dependent on both
oil and natural gas.
“With the drying of the southern half of the continent from climate change, Australia will
find it difficult to feed even its current population and supply water to its cities,” says Dr
Coulter. “Even now, we are supporting our present population by running down our
natural capital at a furious pace; our soil and water for food production and our non-
renewable mineral resources.”
Dr Coulter says that, in addition, pushing population growth can only make the current
housing shortage harder to solve.
“The $1.15 billion for additional housing, if spread among the Rudd Government’s
population increase amounts to only $3,800 per head, a paltry sum to provide not only
housing but all the infrastructure of roads, schools, hospitals, police etc. In a world now
demonstrably short of food, it is unconscionable that this additional housing will cover
more of the best well-watered land in the country.”
Further information: John Coulter 08 8388 2153 firstname.lastname@example.org