This article is by Mark O'Connor.
Once again the regular Canberra Times column by Catherine Carter (executive director of the property council of Australia (ACT)) is full of propaganda for population growth. It appears in the "Sunday Property" section of The Canberra Times. (2 November 2008).
Titled, "Population target must guide future", it rehearses 4 arguments:
1. "Firstly a small, sparsely distributed population carries extra costs for the economy and the environment...."
2. "We could achieve greater cost efficiencies if we increase the population in key areas...."
3. "Canberrans are entitled to housing and lifestyle choices... But the simple reality is that a bigger population creates a greater range of housing types and locations to choose from."
4. "Finally, land is one of the Territory's very few assets -- and its value rises with the potential amount of development it can hold. Taller buildings in some locations can mean additional sales revenue for the ACT government as well as increased rates and land tax revenues."
As well there is a pretence that we need a population "target to aim for", such as the Property Council recommends. (Carter nominated a target in a previous article, not in this one.) In reality of course, whatever the current population was, the Property Council would want more. Carter's columns are rarely of any use to the intending home buyer --they are simply arguments in favor of the interests of the real estate industry.
Perhaps people with concerns about overpopulation, overshooting of water and soil, destruction of biodiverse habitat, greenhouse impact of land-use intensification, homelessness and personal and national debts, and unstable banks, might make some representations to The Canberra Times about either labeling this column a paid advertisement, or providing a right of reply, in the form of a regular column, to people who don't favour growing Canberra's population.
(Mark O'Connor is the author, with Bill Lines, of Overloading Australia, Enviro Books, due out late 2008.)