A collection of letters from The Age:
Proponents must prove benefits
I agree with Ross Gittins (“Stop beating about bush and talk about Big Australia”, 4/8). Bipartisanship on immigration has prevented Australia from having a formal population policy.
The size and rapidity of Australia’s population growth affects just about every aspect of Australian quality of life. Australia should have a population policy explicitly setting out a range of options for long-term population change, as recommended by the 1994 federal parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s carrying capacity.
The inquiry noted that every increase in population imposed extra environmental and social costs. It therefore recommended that proponents of radical change to immigration policy should bear the burden of proof in showing what policies they intended to adopt with respect to consequential impacts of the population changes.
The case for a big Australia has neither been heard nor answered.
– Arthur Bassett, Blackburn South
The doubling of Melbourne’s population in the next 50 years would be disastrous for the city. Already our planning schemes are gearing up for such a population explosion with rampant high-rise development, the development of arterial tunnels, towers competing for views and light and the over-redevelopment of supposedly heritage infrastructure. What does this do for the quality of life in our city?
The Committee of Melbourne’s criticism of current planning may have some merit. However, reform should focus on the need to increase the certainty of current stakeholders – resident and business – that their suburbs will not be subject to excessive upheaval, and, not, in allowing uncontrolled wholesale redevelopment for suspect reasons, by greedy developers in concert with our political elites.
The “hurt” to Melbourne will come from excessive redevelopment, not from failure to double our population. There may be some scope for increasing density, but let it be done sensitively, without the wanton destruction of neighbourhood character and community, as well as in a way that protects our cultural heritage.
Hopefully, The Age will use its membership of this group to ameliorate the committee’s unsustainable views.
– Bill Cook, West Melbourne
The Committee for Melbourne describes an 8 million population for Melbourne as part of “normal growth”. It is crystal clear that most residents are against our ballooning population yet business keeps pressing for more.
The argument that we need more people to fund the retirement of our ageing population has at its foundation a Ponzi-style mentality that we need ever more consuming units to support the existing. The accepted wisdom of never-ending growth is also a nonsense on a finite, overpopulated planet that implies a magic pudding of resources where everyone can aspire to a Western lifestyle without leaving the earth a barren shell.
I pity the other creatures trying to eke out an existence on this planet.
– Chris Owens, Lysterfield South
Dick Smith, you ripper. Populate and perish.
– Peter Liston, Southbank
Bravo Dick Smith. With every environmental indicator going south, someone is finally pointing out the bleeding obvious to our politicians.
– Ian Johnston, Boronia
Sustainable growth is the ultimate oxymoron, whether it is an ever-increasing population or extraction of finite resources. Anyone with a basic science background can see the problem. If only such people existed in our Parliament.
– David Blair, Healesville
Too many to save
Asylum seeker/refugee advocate Marilyn Shepherd believes every person in the world fleeing internal conflicts has the “absolute right” to enter Australia. I would hope our own government would be the only authority with this absolute right to decide who comes into our country .
The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2009 put the total number of refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2008 at 13.6 million. Does Ms Shepherd suggest adopting an open door policy similar to many countries in Europe, which now face the huge social problems their relaxed attitude has caused.
The Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers Ms Shepherd refers to could easily be resettled in the many neighbouring countries, all of which have similar language and culture – more practical than travelling all the way to Australia.
– Michael Burd, Toorak
10/9: This letter comments on a worrying trend of foreign companies quietly buying up land and water in Australia for their own food security. Why is the government allowing this? If the environmental situation gets dire, I hope the government will seize back the land in the interests of national security.
Tackle regional fire sale
The independents, who profess great concern for regional Australia, should now turn their attention to the accelerating takeover of regional Australia by foreign interests. At what point does foreign “investment” morph into a land/water-rush and handover of Australian control over basic land and water patrimony to foreign control? Are land/water reverse “investments” permitted in other nations? Are we being manipulated by overseas interests? Should farmers be routinely outbid at property sales by cashed-up foreign consortiums? Should there be tripartisan policy, with direct input from a concerned electorate?
Off the political radar is any public register of accelerating acquisitions of land and water rights by China, Singapore, Malaysia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, US and Europe to feed their own growing populations in a world adding an unprecedented four Australias each year.
Come on, Messrs Windsor, Oakeshott, Katter, or any politician concerned at regional Australia’s fire sale: demand answers to these vital questions.
– John O’Connor, Cottles Bridge