12 April 2010

Super size me: is a big Australia good for our health?

The Rudd government has stated that it intends to increase the population of Australia. It is estimated by Treasury that the number of Australian citizens will reach 35 million by 2049. The federal government has identified that, to meet the challenge of the increasing population, major cities will have to increase their urban density. For this reason, the federal government has recently hinted that it is considering taking the initiative, and might extend its responsibilities to include housing development, land release and infrastructure — functions currently controlled by state and local governments.

Prime Minister Rudd has been quoted as saying “I actually believe in a big Australia. I make no apology for that. I actually think it’s good news that our population is growing”. The previous leader of the opposition also welcomed a larger Australian population. But not everyone is as positive about the high rates of immigration, and the Secretary to the Treasury, Ken Henry, has questioned whether Australia has the necessary infrastructure in place to meet the influx.

As there is bipartisan agreement on the advantages of increased migration to Australia, it is time for a debate on how “super sizing” will affect the health system.  Read the full article here in The Medical Journal of  Australia, 12 April 2010