MR: slight drop in population growth rate welcome but still too high
The drop in Australia’s population growth rate from 1.8 to 1.7 per cent is a welcome trend though still much too high, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
In the figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in the year ending 31 December 2013, the annual growth is Australia’s population fell below 400,000 to 396,200. After a number of quarters at 1.8 per cent, the rate dropped back to 1.7 per cent.
SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says the growth rate is still way above the average for OECD countries of 0.6 per cent and must fall further.
“It is very hard for any country to sustain such a high rate of growth,” says Ms Goldie. “People require infrastructure and this costs the public purse about $100,000 for every new person. It is no surprise that the recent Federal Budget focussed so much on infrastructure because population growth has been so high for so long and there is a backlog.”
Ms Goldie says nearly 400,000 extra people a year means government has to provide nearly $40 billion in infrastructure annually.
“If they don’t, and they aren’t of course, it means more congested roads and public transport, longer waiting times, and less affordable housing.
“It is the environment that suffers, however, when human population growth is so high. Urban sprawl means loss of habitat for other species. It means ever more greenhouse gas emissions unless strenuous efforts are made to shift the economy from high to low carbon.
“Population growth is not necessary for a healthy economy, in fact, by forcing capital widening at the expense of capital deepening, it ultimately weakens the economy,” Ms Goldie says.
Net overseas migration makes up 60 per cent of total population growth. Ms Goldie called on the Australian Government to cut immigration significantly as a start towards ending population growth in Australia.Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453