The population debate is a very complex issue with two opposing outlooks that both have valid points to support their plans to either; grow the population of Australia or to have a more environmentally sustainable Australian population. The complexity of the issue lies within the conflicting relationship of the population and the environment, because if one is favoured the other suffers which will cause problems regardless.
On one hand Australia must keep growing its population to fill the large space that the retirement of the baby boomers generation will leave. This means to make Australia an economically stable country with an even population distribution the population must grow. If the population does not grow the economic consequences will be vast including; an aging population, lack of population in the middle working class age and thus taxes will be increased to compensate. This population growth is not hard to gain with the introduction of scheme like, the baby bonus. The amount of international migrants that are seeking permanent citizenship in Australia also makes this population growth an easy target. Some commentators have argued for a larger Australian population up to 30-35 million citizens by 2050. From an economical point of view this is a perfect plan to increase the monetary value of Australia and is simply done with the above mentioned tactics. The issue of housing for larger populations has been barely brought up because of the ample amounts of space Australia does have to house a larger population. Yet no one has really thought of the environmental effects that this enormous increase in development will lead to.
On the other hand are the Environmental factors that need to be taken into account and are greatly contesting the economical ideas stated above. The increase in population will lead to an on flowing mass of environmental issues; one will lead to another and so on. The rise in urban sprawl will increase run off and thus increase pollution entering oceans as well as decreasing infiltration into the ground water system. This decrease of infiltration into the ground water systems in Australia may eventually lead to a lack of fresh water. The increase in population will not only increase the need for fresh water but also increase the need for all resource types and currently the only way to gain these resources is releasing carbon emissions and affecting not only Australia but the entire planet.
This argument leaves politicians and government leaders divided because it seems only one or the other can be selected because of the negative and positive consequences each has. This therefore leaves the main issue relating to Australia’s current and future population being; the attempt by the government and policy makers to find a compromise between the two sides, and being able to find a way to keep Australia environmentally sustainable while also keeping it economic stable at the same time. Optimistically technological and educational advances will help Australia to be environmentally sustainable with a growing population thus making this issue more simplified.
*Featured image; The Hannah Residence, Lower Yorke Peninsula.