Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has welcomed the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that show population growth has fallen to near zero (0.1 per cent) despite an apparent baby boom. Yesterday, the ABS released figures for the year ending March 31. Australia’s population grew by 35,700 or 0.14 per cent. Annual natural increase was 131,000 and net overseas migration (NOM) was -95,300. This news came not long after NSW Health announced more than 19,000 babies were born in NSW hospitals from April to June this year, a nine per cent increase on the same period last year.
Victoria is also experiencing a baby boom with the maternity system stretched to “breaking point”, according to the Victorian health minister, Martin Foley.
“News that our overall population growth has dropped to almost zero is very welcome,” the president of SPA Ms Jenny Goldie says. “In the initial period of border closures, the large number of people leaving the country compared to those entering meant NOM was negative, though not quite enough to offset natural increase of 131,000. In the current year, growth will be higher since most of those that would leave Australia have done so already.
“Now is the perfect time to dispense with the Big Australia goal of perpetual population growth promoted by big business. Instead let’s aim for a stable and sustainable population. These new figures prove that it can be done.
“The annual growth figures from pre-Covid years, which sometimes exceeded 400,000, were simply not sustainable in environmental, social or economic terms.
“Environmentally, population growth causes loss of natural habitat through urban expansion and water diversion, and increases pollution, not least carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
“Socially, infrastructure never kept pace with the needs of a rapidly expanding population, and led to undue crowding in schools, congestion and longer hospital waiting times.
“Economically, workers suffered wage stagnation and capital was diverted from wealth- producing enterprises to speculating on rising land values, creating Australia’s housing unaffordability crisis.
“This is the time when we must review honestly the costs and benefits of the non-humanitarian parts of our migration program. We should never return to the days of immigration-fuelled high population growth,” says Ms Goldie.