The 7:30 Report for 27/4 featured an infuriating interview with Planning Minister Matthew Guy. Dismayingly but predictably, the only message he emphasized is finding ways to “accommodate” the increasing population, not try to reduce growth. Increasing population by immigration and birthrate is “sustainable” – yeah, right (not!) He and others in government and business are clearly trying to brainwash citizens into regarding growth as inevitable. Marvelous Melbourne is fast becoming Miserable Melbourne. An earlier article, “Make room: state population set to soar”, The Age, 24/4, gives no good news.
Victoria’s population is predicted to soar and the fastest-growing suburbs will be the city’s outer suburban growth areas and the CBD, Docklands and Maribyrnong.
A new report, Victoria in Future 2012, shows that the state’s population is expected to grow from 5.6 million to 7.3 million over the next 20 years, an average annual growth rate of 1.3 per cent.
Melbourne’s population is expected to grow at the same speed, from 4.1 million to 5.4 million, while regional Victoria’s growth rate will be slightly slower, at 1.2 per cent.
This growth in the state is expected to exert greater pressure on transport and other infrastructure, which is already struggling to cope with its current patronage.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy said these figures take account of the phenomenal population growth in Victoria, particularly in Melbourne, which is was due to a spike in overseas immigration.
“Many Melburnians dream of leaving city to improve quality of life”, H-S, 23/4 (copy and paste link into Google search to bypass firewall – works, for now). Gee, I wonder why <sarcasm> – maybe something to do with the massive population growth that the Government keeps advocating? Realistically, not many will move to rural areas due to difficult access to or lack of facilities such as health care and public transport.
More than one in 10 city dwellers want to relocate to regional or rural Victoria in the next three years, while up to two million will consider a move out of Melbourne “one day”, claims the research commissioned by Regional Development Victoria.
Announcing the results of a survey of 2000 adults living in Melbourne, Deputy Premier and Regional Development Minister Peter Ryan said more and more people wanted alternatives to the big city.
“Motivating factors are diverse, varying according to stage of life, but include things like a desire to raise their family in a less urban environment, having a greater sense of involvement in the community, housing affordability and business and employment opportunities,” he said.
A more even distribution of population growth across Victoria would benefit Victoria’s economy and environment, Mr Ryan said.
“Melbourne’s critical infrastructure such as public transport, roads and water supplies already face considerable challenges as a result of population growth,” Mr Ryan said.
“The government is engaged in a range of activities to promote the fantastic opportunities that exist outside of Melbourne and encourage more and more Melburnians to take the plunge and experience life in regional and rural areas.”
While the research conducted by ShopScience warned that not all those intending to one day move out of the city would do so, it calls on future marketing campaigns to address issues such as moving costs and real estate information to make the transition easier.
The survey also found that almost half of Melbournians are unlikely to move to regional or rural Victoria, warning any effort to try and convince them would be a waste of effort.
H/S letters from 25/4:
Too big and that’s too bad
LORD Mayor Robert Doyle claims “bigger is better”, but it ain’t necessarily so.
“Optimum size” is what we are looking for, and many analysts believe cities pass their optimum size at two million people. Melbourne is way, way past that. Infrastructure is not keeping up with population growth and so quality of life is declining.
Melbourne’s rampant growth benefits few and is at the expense of the majority.
– Jenny Goldi, Michelago, NSW
IT is interesting that Robert Doyle should accept the standards of mediocrity suffered by other cities as well as ours in congestion. Overcrowding and overpopulation are inevitable. Elections in October … folks, are you listening and watching?
– Walter Grahame, Mordialloc
“Abbott push for more overseas workers”, The Age, 27/4. Given the above problems, and hundreds of people losing their jobs every week, idiot plans like this are absolutely baffling. Another dismaying article from earlier in the week (not online):
Swan to boost immigration
By SHANE WRIGHT
TREASURER Wayne Swan is set to increase the migrant intake by thousands, to alleviate skills shortages in the mining sector and boost his Budget bottom line. Under pressure from the resources sector and his own Treasury, the Treasurer is expected to lift the number of permanent migrants by at least 5000, of which almost all would be skilled migrants. Expected interest rate cuts, aimed at boosting the construction sector, and signs the jobless rate is stable around 5.2 per cent, are giving Mr Swan the economic cover needed to lift migrant numbers. And they would also aid Mr Swan’s efforts to deliver a Budget surplus in the coming financial year.
Ever since taking office the government has dramatically altered migrant numbers in response to the economy. Before the global financial crisis, Mr Swan planned to lift the total migrant intake to 190,000 in a move estimated to boost government coffers by $3 billion, of which $1 billion would have gone into GST for the states. That number was slashed in 2009-10 by more than 21,000 in a move the government conceded would cost it more than $400 million. Migrant numbers were pushed up last year to 185,000 – still short of what was wanted in 2008-09.
The increase was made despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s own concerns about a “big Australia” and pressure from the opposition to crimp immigration numbers. There is support within Treasury to ultimately take the total migrant number to a record 230,000 because of the pressures evident in the mining and construction sectors.
The lift in migrant numbers, by increasing economic activity such as retail sales and housing construction, would help safeguard Mr Swan’s planned surplus. The Treasurer is also being aided by a collapse in interest rates on government debt which have now hit a record low of under 3.7 per cent. The low bond yields stand to save Mr Swan hundreds of millions of dollars in interest. A drop in bond yields late last year saved the government $1 billion in interest over the forward estimates. Mr Swan said the low interest rates on government debt validated his plans to take the budget into surplus.
“Singapore needs migrants to stabilise population, says report”, ABC Radio, 27/4. Singapore is in a more fortunate position of population decline. Why is it as soon as there is population decline (the intended result of family planning, etc.) governments go into a panic? They can’t keep growing populations indefinitely – the new immigrants will become old, too.
“An Aging Japanese Town Bets on a Young Mayor for Its Revival”, NYT, 26/4. Yet another doom-and-gloom article about Japan’s aging population.
Japan’s overall population fell by a record quarter-million to 127.8 million last year, hurt by falling birthrates and people departing for other countries. By 2060, the Japanese population is expected to fall by an additional one-third, to as few as 87 million — and 40 percent of those remaining will be over 65 years old.
127+ million crammed onto four relatively small, disaster-prone islands – a natural population decline should be regarded as a positive! As for dealing with old people, Japan is making advances in robotics, such as an exoskeleton powersuit, to help with tasks such as heavy lifting – such an exoskeleton would be very useful for older or injured people.
A 2008 article takes the opposite view, asking, “Does Japan have a population problem?”, presenting a more positive outlook.