At that time it was estimated that Australia was heading for 35 or 36 million by 2050. Now according to the ABS central projection we are tracking for 37.5 million by 2050, and possibly 70 million by 2100.
This growth will be overwhelmingly in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. Melbourne is set to double by 2060, to 8.5 million, and Perth and Brisbane are also set to double. Sydney will increase by 80%.
This increase will be disastrous for these cities. It will drive traffic congestion and gridlock, high rise and the loss of public open space, a widening gap between rich and poor and social inequality. It will fuel housing unaffordability and job insecurity for our young people.
It makes a farce of the view that population growth in Australia is about populating our regional and remote areas – 14 million of the extra 18 million people projected for 2060 will move into just 4 cities.
The latest upward lift is a consequence of net overseas migration rising yet again. The Bureau of Statistics is now using a net annual migration figure of 240,000 per year, more than double the numbers just 10 years ago. Migration is now the source of 2/3 of our population growth.
To challenge the view that rapid population growth is a good thing, I am setting up a non-government organisation called Victoria First. Its first meeting will be:
· Sunday, December 1st;
· 10am-12 noon; and
· Flemington Community Centre, 25 Mt Alexander Rd, Flemington.