Time for Melbourne to stop growing (JUL)

11 July 2001

Media Releases 2001


Jul 11, 2001 for World Population Day – July 11

Melbourne cannot sustain a growth rate of four per cent a year, according Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

Dr Peter Carter, Victorian President of SPA, says if Melbourne continues to grow at this rate for the rest of the century, its borders will extend halfway to the state boundaries.

“Towns like Moe and Ballarat will be absorbed into the megalopolis,” says Dr Carter. “Clearly this is undesirable. We do not have the resources to support an urban area this large.

“The State is already short of water. Yet we keep expanding our numbers and the size of an already sprawling city when no solution to the water shortage problem is on the horizon.”

According to Dr Carter, such growth may have been a useful strategy a hundred or more years ago when natural resources seemed infinite and human power limited.

“Now the situation is reversed. We have a large population and understand that finite resources cannot be exploited forever.”

Dr Carter says too much wealth has gone into urban infrastructure while the countryside is falling apart.

“Farmers are poor and walking off the land while the environment is degrading from salinisation at an alarming rate.

“People have so lost touch with the real world that they forget that three things keep us alive, namely, food, water and unpolluted air.

Dr Carter says that while some first world countries express concern at lower birth rates, world population is rising at the rate of 77 million a year. At the same time, six million hectares of productive land annually are being lost to soil degradation.

“Technologically advanced countries, including Australia, should assist by directing its overseas aid towards reproductive health care and rural development. This will not only help stabilise world numbers but also alleviate poverty.

“It is appropriate that we start to take action on these matters on World Population Day,” Dr Carter concluded.

Further information:

Peter Carter, Ph: 03 9707 2098 E: vic@population.org.au


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