Submission 0123 Issues Paper on a Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia

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Submission 0123

Issues Paper on a Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia

Name: O’Brien, Nadine

Suburb and State: Kuranda, Qld

Date of Submission: 1/3/11



The number of people who can live in Australia is limited by terrain- much of the land is marginal and coastal areas are often under threat of extreme weather events.


Indeed much recent residential development locally here in Far North Queensland has been on land that is prone to flooding and subject to storm surge. Urban sprawl has led to extensive loss of rainforest and other wildlife habitat with many iconic species under threat such as the Southern Cassowary.


So an increase of the population in Australia should be avoided.


The documentary How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth? by Sir David Attenborough outlines the problems of overpopulation.


The food industry has been impacted on by recent events with much top soil being washed away. Food production in this country is already a challenging activity due to poor soils, salination and the usual cycle of  drought then flood. The extensive use of a cocktail of chemicals impacts on water quality due to run off into the waterways.


Increased food production for an increasing population if continued in the present mode would increase demand for water and may well threaten the ability of Australia to provide clean and adequate water supplies to people. Also expansion of agriculture would require further destruction of rainforest and other wildife habitats.


It is therefore important to look at ways of reducing population growth at the same time as we work to develop sustainable, peaceful ways to live that will reduce the impact of our environmental footprint .


Practical measures to reduce the growth in population might include

  • stopping the baby bonus while ensuring adequate welfare for families in need

  • increasing awareness in Australia and overseas about global overpopulation 

  • having free, accessible family planning facilities in Australia and providing aid for these overseas, so empowering women to have choice

  • reexamining the level of both temporary and permanent economic migration into Australia and looking to train people already living in this country in areas of need where possible. This will also help reduce the brain drain from developing countries of essential professions such as doctors and nurses.

We need to challenge the growth mentality of both economy and population and work to developing a resilient, low or no- growth economy and stable population for Australia and then work  from a position of strength to influence these outcomes globally.


We have a moral obligation, however, to accept people displaced by wars, especially those that Australia has taken part in and climate change refugees who have suffered the consequences of the excessive consumption of resources by Australians.


Climate change and pollution are due to many factors. Overconsumption, the devotion of large amount of resources to warfare and population growth are all issues that need to be addressed.


It is also important that immigration policies are without bias and treat women and men of all nationalities and religions the same and that mandatory detention is ended.



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