Growth of Australia's population

In Australia, we are all migrants. Australia was settled in the 18th century by migrants from overseas who joined an indigenous population of long standing, themselves migrants from ancient times. The Commonwealth of Australia was founded in 1901.

In the 1950s, Australians reaffirmed a plan to develop our nation into a land of immense promise and prosperity. That Vision of a Greater Australia was delivered through a policy that doubled the nation's population in fifty years. Six million people born elsewhere in the world have permanently settled in Australia in 200 years of modern history. Migrants continue to engender new Australian families and enrich our Australian culture.

APop Institute contends that we need to rethink our attitudes to future population growth NOW.

The major issues

APop Institute identifies the major issues in its definition of responsible population growth:
  • the environment
  • employment
  • the economy
  • national security
  • social implications
Every one of these issues is inter-dependant on population.

The Issue APop Institute's Response
Current projections suggest that Australia's population will peak at between 25 & 27 million around 2050 before beginning to slowly decline. Any estimate of Australia's population in the long term must be couched in uncertainty about the influences that have to be considered. What all demographers agree however is that there is a minimum workforce required to support an ageing population. The implications of a slowing of Australia's population growth rate needs to be discussed and better understood so that the politicians and others can make appropriate decisions.
Seemingly minor changes in Australia's fertility rate or immigration program can have a major impact in the long term. The Federal Government's recent increases in Australia's official Migration Program to between 100,000 and 110,000 per annum, if maintained, have increased projections from 25 million to 27 million in 2050. Apop Institute would like to see further increases in Australia's official Migration Program.
Australia's fertility level is currently well below the replacement level of 2.1 Apop Institute advocates the adoption of cost effective programs which can demonstrate a positive effect on Australia's fertility levels.
Skilled Australians are being drawn to work in more prosperous nations, reducing our limited human resources. Globalisation is a reality. Temporary and permanent business migration to and from Australia is a "two way street". The arrival of migrants with particular expertise can help the nation fill voids and enhance the skill base of the nation.
Environmental awareness has created a worthy desire to repair and protect our fragile land. APop Institute supports this desire, but it can only be delivered and funded through prosperity not population reduction.
Ageing of the population over the next five decades is set to create staggering numbers of State dependant retirees and unsustainable health care costs. Without corrective population growth and removal of barriers there may not be enough working people to support the nation.
Australia's population is too low to have the economic 'critical mass' to control our trade, economic growth and currency. Notwithstanding a strong reputation in world affairs, Australia needs to be seen as a growing nation capable of leadership and influence. An increasing population rate and continued roles in world and regional affairs will maintain Australia position as a nation of influence.
An increasingly unstable region requires a modern and effective defence force. Greater global contributions to peace keeping missions may be required of Australia. Australia's defence budget is less than 2% GDP but the affordability of maintaining a small and modern force is becoming increasingly difficult as is the ability to recruit. A growing population will expand both the size of the economy and the potential pool of people of age to serve in the defence forces.
The future prosperity of Australia, underpinned by population growth, will depend on our ability to maintain Social Cohesion in a society with even more cultural diversity than we have successfully accommodated historically Apop supports the need to articulate, measure and monitor the level of Social Cohesion across Australia and address identified social issues in critical areas and regions.
A recent expert study concluded that there are no insurmountable engineering, scientific or environmental barriers to reaching an Australian population of 30 million in 2050, assuming that thorough analysis and planning occur and that leadership is exercised, especially by governments. Long-term planning is imperative to ensure timely and orderly provision of needed infrastructure, and leadership from governments is essential in setting clear policy directions.

Growing the Australian population

There are only two ways to achieve population growth:
  • increasing overseas immigration
  • increasing fertility
APop Institute supports policies that will stimulate responsible population growth through both increased fertility and increased overseas migration.