The Public Health Association and Sustainable Population Australia are expressing concern about Australia’s growing population.
Early next year the ABS population clock will show Australia’s population hitting the 24 million mark, they say.
“As a result of births, deaths, people immigrating and people permanently leaving Australia, one extra person joins us every 1.5 seconds.”
The two organisations say in a statement that as a nation, we are not prepared for the many implications that continued population growth brings.
They say the Australian Academy of Science advised two decades ago that “the quality of all aspects of our children’s lives will be maximised if the population of Australia by the mid-21st Century is kept to the low, stable end of the achievable range, i.e. to approximately 23 million” – a message Australia has not heeded.
“We are now approaching, if not passed, Australia’s environmentally sustainable limits,” the two groups say.
“We question the wisdom of pursuing continual population growth.
“Where are the conversations about what this means for roads, schools, hospital waiting lists, urban sprawl, energy supply, food security, jobs and employment, water, waste management and biodiversity?
“How do these factors affect reasonable desires to have a country safe from strife and to be economically prosperous?
“There is no plan about how to manage this expanding population within the bigger contexts of global warming, burgeoning international geopolitical developments, the globalisation of trade and developments within the Australian economy.
“While we are clear that Australia is a wealthy country and has a moral obligation to take refugees from war-torn areas, that obligation needs to extend to action to stop the conflicts driving the refugee exodus, such as by increasing development aid, so that people’s situations overseas are economically and politically improved; this includes aid for women’s education, health and reproductive services.
“Our government has a duty to be planning so that Australians can all enjoy the benefits that a moderate population brings. We must promote a genuine national conversation to map out how we can manage an Australian population that is healthy and living within our ecological means.”