Intergenerational Report designed to quell public objection to population growth
A media storm around the new Intergenerational Report has focused on massive increases in the numbers of elderly and costs of aged care in the next 40 years. This is scaremongering intended to quell resistance to rapid population growth, according to environmental group Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
“The timing of this report is revealing,” says SPA President, Jenny Goldie. “It was not due for at least another year, yet it appears at the height of a housing crisis when calls are mounting to moderate immigration to stem homelessness. It also arrives the day after the Labor National Conference, crowding out media commentary on the various issues of contention it raised.”
“We are supposed to believe that, whatever the pain incurred accommodating an extra 400,000 people into our crowded housing, roads, schools and hospitals, the future would be much worse without them,” says Ms. Goldie. “These calamities of ageing have not been demonstrated in other, older countries, despite the best efforts of their business lobbies, like ours, to drum up concerns and drive up population growth.”
“Past Intergenerational Reports have systematically neglected the costs of population growth, such as the habitat loss, water insecurity, the productivity lost to congestion, and the fact that every additional Australian requires well over $100,000 to be spent on additional public infrastructure.
“But all Treasury appears to care about is being seen to avoid recession by boosting total GDP even as we go backwards per person. This is not their mandate, which is Australian betterment, not biggerment.
“They are also pandering to the business and property lobbies, who want low wage growth and more customers. The idea is to privatise the benefits and socialise the costs.
“When the IGR tells you the numbers of people over 85 is set to triple in 40 years, remember that an increasing share of those people will be migrants, who we chose to import in order to reduce the burden of ageing. It is the grandest and cruellest of all Ponzi schemes.
“According to media coverage of the report, which is not made public until Thursday, it anticipates the care sector increasing from 8% to 15% of GDP by 2063. Given that the number of aged care residents now is not quite 200,000, and another roughly 200,000 elderly receive in-home care, together barely 1.5% of the population, these figures seem implausible.
“The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety said Australian Government expenditure on aged care was 0.93% of GDP in 2018-19. Are they conflating the cost of the NDIS with the cost of elderly? Are they adding in childcare? In either case, the increase is not entirely attributable to population ageing, and the media coverage has been misleading.
“Since their inception in 2002, the IGRs have been a propaganda campaign to get Australians to accept sacrificing everything they love about Australia for the sake of growth. It’s time the media called it out instead of being a megaphone for its selective half-truths.”