27 million milestone no cause for celebration

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Australia’s passing the 27 million population milestone is a matter of deep concern and not a cause for celebration, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ population clock, the milestone was passed at 3.45pm on Wednesday 24 January. It was helped along by a record 624,100 population increase in the past year.

SPA national president Ms Jenny Goldie says the annual national growth was even more than the current population of Tasmania (572,800).

“Imagine having to add the infrastructure of Tasmania – housing, roads, hospitals, schools, energy supplies, farms – to the country every year,” says Ms Goldie. “It all costs: economically, socially and environmentally.

“Australia does not need a big population to be successful economically.  Indeed, many Western European countries including Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, Austria and Sweden all have smaller populations than Australia but higher GDP per capita, or wealth per person.

“The critical issue, however, is not wealth but the health of the environment. The latest State of the Environment – Australia report in 2021 was quite specific about population growth being damaging to biodiversity, largely because of loss of habitat.

“When the human population grows, other species lose habitat to urban development or farms to feed the ever-growing number of people.

“So long as we continue to grow our population, our environment will remain in a permanent state of decline.

“But many people lose out as well. Housing supply has not kept up with demand, resulting in record housing unaffordability. Homelessness is on the rise with many reduced to sleeping in tents or their cars.

“Recent projections for immigration will ensure these challenges become more intractable, whatever effort is made to mitigate them.”

SPA believes Australia’s population must stop growing before it reaches 30 million.

“That’s only three million people away. If we maintain the same annual growth in numbers, we will reach that in under five years,” says Ms Goldie.

“Population growth, largely driven by immigration, is neither necessary nor desirable and is not supported by the majority of Australians.

“Indeed, Australians are fed up and are saying NO to a Big Australia.”

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