Australia

Minister for Population appointed; population strategy to be developed

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd recently announced he had appointed Tony Burke to take on the new role of Minister for Population. In his announcement, Mr Rudd said the first task will be to develop "Australia's first comprehensive population strategy."

"To help guide the development of policies to meet Australia's future population needs," Mr Rudd said, "I have recommended to the Governor General that she appoint the Hon Tony Burke MP to the new office of Minister for Population in the Treasury Portfolio."

Mr Burke will examine population growth and the challenges and opportunities this will create. "Australia's first Population Strategy will consider the social and economic infrastructure Australia will need to support a growing population, including the roads, housing and service delivery network," Mr Rudd said.

"It will also consider, as an early priority, the opportunities a growing population will create for economic growth and to further develop and grow Australia's regional towns and communities. The policy will bring a whole-of-government perspective drawing on input from all portfolios. The strategy will also seek to address the challenges associated with population growth, including the impact on the environment, water, and urban congestion." The population strategy is expected to take 12 months to develop.

"Whether it be urban planning, whether it be transport, provision of health services and other government services, right through to water infrastructure...These issues have never previously been coordinated at a government level, and they require a high level of cooperation with every level of government," Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke is currently the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Federal Member for Watson. He will retain his current portfolio in addition to his new role.

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