Burke must not forget population

1 July 2013

Media Releases 2013

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has expressed concern that Population has been dropped as a portfolio in the Rudd Cabinet but also says it is unlikely to make a great deal of difference.

Minister Tony Burke who held the portfolio of population in the Gillard Government is now Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs, Citizenship and the Arts.

SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says while Minister Burke held the portfolio, he did very little other than talk of redistributing the population.

“Despite holding the portfolio of environment, he had no concept of what constituted an ecologically sustainable population,” says Ms Goldie.

“Nevertheless, now that he has Immigration, it is beholden on him to keep in mind at all times that immigration is a subset of population. In fact, net overseas migration makes up 60 per cent of our inordinately high population growth rate of 1.8 per cent, or nearly 400,000 people in 2012.”

Ms Goldie says it is no surprise that Prime Minister Rudd has got rid of population, given his 2007 comments on the 7.30 Report that he favoured a ‘Big Australia’.

“We had high hopes when former Prime Minister Gillard said early in her term of office that she did not favour ‘hurtling’ towards a Big Australia,” says Ms Goldie. “We were thrilled when she established a portfolio of Population. Yet ‘hurtling towards a Big Australia’ is exactly what happened, with a massive increase of 457 visas leading to a surge in permanent immigration.”

Ms Goldie says she hoped Minister Burke would continue to tighten up the 457 visa program and work with former Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor – now Minister for Employment, Skills and Training – to ensure Australians had sufficient skills to fill job vacancies.

Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453


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