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New demographic figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Australia’s population is on a collision course with our natural environment, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.
ABS data shows Australia’s population grew by 439,000 people in the year to March 2009, including net overseas migration of 239,000. Australia’s growth rate of 2.1 per cent was the highest since the 1950s.
“We cannot continue to add the equivalent of a city larger than Canberra every year to Australia’s population and still expect to maintain the health of our environment and our quality of life,” said ACF’s Charles Berger.
“The higher our population goes, the harder it will be for us to reduce greenhouse pollution, restore our rivers to health and ensure a good quality of life for all Australians. With urban infrastructure already groaning under the pressure of growth in our cities, we need a more sensible long-term strategy.
“Australia can meet and increase its humanitarian obligations and accommodate family reunions, while reducing overall migration to more sustainable levels.”
Modelling by the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University shows each additional one million people adds 25 million tonnes of pollution to Australia’s greenhouse accounts.
“An increase in population to 35 million by 2050 would mean 325 million tonnes of additional pollution, costing us at least $10 billion a year in extra carbon pollution costs alone,” Mr Berger said.
“We need a long-term population policy aimed at stabilising our population and consumption at sustainable levels and helping other countries to do the same.
“ACF agrees with Federal MP Kelvin Thompson that reduction in migration to more sensible levels is needed to prevent a planning and environmental disaster for our major cities.”