Australia

Population strategy issues paper released

POPULATION Minister Tony Burke last week released the Sustainable Population Strategy Issues Paper and invited comment and feedback from all Australians.

The Issues Paper brings together the major issues identified in reports prepared by the three independent Sustainable Population Strategy Advisory Panels established by the Minister in July. The reports focus on demographic change and liveability, productivity and prosperity and sustainable development.

"Changes in Australia's population will affect us all, in our work, in our communities and in our built and natural environments," said Mr Burke. Mr Burke said that examining the pressures of population growth demands a much more detailed conversation than dealing with arbitrary population targets. Mr Burke has dismissed the idea of population targets stating that they have not worked in the past and are inflexible.

The release of the Issues Paper will help to inform the Australian Government as it develops Australia's first Population Strategy to be released next year.

"The objective of a Sustainable Population Strategy will be to ensure that future changes in Australia's population are compatible with the sustainability of our economy, environment and communities," Mr Burke said.

"The ultimate goal of the Sustainable Population Strategy is to improve the wellbeing of current and future generations through more effective recognition and management of the impacts of population changes."

The Property Council of Australia welcomed the release of the issues paper and said that its release allows for more rational policy discussions.

Property Council CEO, Peter Verwer, said that population policy is essential to successfully deal with challenges such as an ageing community, skills and infrastructure shortages and climate change.

Mr Verwer said that it is important that government policies link together, citing the forthcoming National Urban Policy and the COAG metropolitan planning reforms as two examples that should be aligned with any population strategy.

Tony Burke was appointed Minister for Population by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and was tasked with developing Australia's first comprehensive population strategy.

The issues paper and details of the public consultation and submission process are available from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website at <http://www.environment.gov.au/>.




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