Latest population growth rate figures ‘alarming’

30 September 2012

Media Releases 2012

Sustainable Population Australia


Senator the Hon. Bob Carr, Dr Paul Collins, Prof Tim Flannery, Prof Ian Lowe, Dr Mary E White


28 September 2012


The latest figures that show Australia’s growth rate has risen to 1.5 per cent are alarming, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports this is the highest growth rate since 2009. An 18 per cent increase in annual net overseas migration to 197,200 is responsible for the rise.

SPA National Vice-President, Dr John Coulter, says, irrespective of what Prime Minister Gillard once said, we are indeed hurtling down the track towards a big population.

“If we continue with a 1.5 per cent national growth rate, Australia will have doubled its population to 45 million by 2060,” says Dr Coulter. “This is totally untenable in environmental, social and economic terms.

“We are facing the twin challenges of climate change and peak conventional oil,” he says. “The latter will mean a possible doubling in oil prices by the end of the decade which will have grave implications for the economy.”

Dr Coulter says the current resources boom will not last and Australia will not be able to support even the present population, never mind a larger one.

“The US author Richard Heinberg is currently touring Australia. He warns that the end of economic growth is imminent because of the energy crisis, the debt bubble and climate change. If there is no economic growth, we certainly cannot support a growing population.

“Climate change is particularly worrying because we appear to be heading for a rise in temperature of at least 3.5o C which will wipe out much of Australian agriculture.

“We are entering a period of uncertainty for which we will be better prepared if we do not have to support ever more people, be they migrants or native-born,” Dr Coulter says.


Further information: John Coulter 08 8388 2153


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