High population growth on ‘collision course’ with natural environment

September 23, 2009

ACF says Australia’s highest population growth since the 1950s threatens our quality of life.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has warned that Australia’s rapid population growth is on a collision course with our natural environment, threatening our quality of life and putting pressure on the country’s infrastructure.

The concerns follow the release of new demographic figures showing rapid growth in the Australian population, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The population grew by 2.1% in the year ending March 2009 – a growth of 439,100 people. Migration accounted for over half of the increase, with 63% (278,200 people) coming into Australia from overseas. Natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) accounted for 37% of the growth (160,800 people). The increase is the highest annual growth recorded since the 1950s and 1960s.

Charles Berger, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, said that the “health of our environment and our quality of life” are at risk, adding, “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.”

As well as escalating the density of Australia’s cities, the growth also affects the country’s environmental impact. The Australian Conservation Foundation has agreed with Federal MP Kelvin Thompson and said that a reduction in migration “to more sensible levels” is necessary.

“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.”

*Image* courtesy .Storm

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