Latest population growth rate figures “alarming”

Thursday, 04 October, 2012

The latest figures that show Australia’s growth rate has risen to 1.5% are “alarming”, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports this is the highest growth rate since 2009. An 18% increase in annual net overseas migration to 197,200 is responsible for the rise.

SPA National Vice-President Dr John Coulter says, irrespective of what Prime Minister Gillard once said, we are hurtling down the track towards a big population.

“If we continue with a 1.5% national growth rate, Australia will have doubled its population to 45 million by 2060,” said Dr Coulter. “This is totally untenable in environmental, social and economic terms.

“We are facing the twin challenges of climate change and peak conventional oil. The latter will mean a possible doubling in oil prices by the end of the decade, which will have grave implications for the economy.”

Dr Coulter says the current resources boom will not last and Australia will not be able to support even the present population, never mind a larger one.

“The US author Richard Heinberg is currently touring Australia. He warns that the end of economic growth is imminent because of the energy crisis, the debt bubble and climate change. If there is no economic growth, we certainly cannot support a growing population.

“Climate change is particularly worrying because we appear to be heading for a rise in temperature of at least 3.5°C, which will wipe out much of Australian agriculture.

“We are entering a period of uncertainty for which we will be better prepared if we do not have to support ever more people, be they migrants or native-born,” Dr Coulter said.

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