Modern Australian Magazine



Here's what a population policy for Australia could look like

  • Written by Liz Allen, Demographer, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University
Here's what a population policy for Australia could look like

Australia is, apparently, in the midst of a population “crisis” – just this month, we passed the milestone of 25 million people. The nature of the crisis depends on the day and who you ask. Size and growth have become an increasing public preoccupation, particularly as immigration has held firm over the last 12 years as the major contributor to population growth.

Australia’s workforce is shrinking due to population ageing. This puts more pressure on young people to contribute enough personal income tax to fund the Australia we’ve become accustomed to. Immigration is one way to ensure Australia has the labour force it needs to offset the financial challenges of an ageing population.

Read more: Migration helps balance our ageing population – we don't need a moratorium

But the population and population growth is unequal across Australia. The Turnbull government has signalled it will introduce a population policy (of sorts) by the end of the year. This will reportedly focus on settlement of immigrants in regions outside major cities.

The problem is that many people are conflicted about whether the population should continue to grow at all. A population policy offers a way for the country to be prepared and respond to the current and future needs of Australians. So, what would a good population policy look like?

Well-being, not control

The difficulties of the breadth of population-related matters in policy can be overcome, or at least minimised, by having a minister or agency with oversight over the progress of the population framework. The framework, which would include measurable indicators, would report and monitor success towards population-related well-being. This could provide an opportunity for the public to be involved and remain informed.

Population policies are usually focused on the components of population change: births, deaths and migration. Many people hold the mis-perception population policies are about control, and this isn’t surprising given the restrictive population policies in China.

But contemporary population policies, for countries like Australia, are less about controlling numbers and more about ensuring population well-being. The core tenet of a population policy for Australia should be about the population’s quality of life, now and into the future.

Read more: Australia doesn't have a population policy – why?

Health and education are central to quality of life. Babies born today or in the future should receive sufficient government investment to have a good start at life, particularly with respect to health and education. This means adequate housing and welfare support for families and children, quality equitable education and accessible and affordable health-care.

Gender inequality – both at home and in the workplace – are important elements to the population policy puzzle. Childcare and family support payments are crucial to population well-being, particularly among working parents.

A contemporary population policy for Australia should also include considerations of the use of land for agriculture, mining, water consumption and sources, and the degradation of natural parklands. Mandated environmental behaviours are overdue, and crucial to food and climate security.

Not the size that matters

Focus on population growth rates and size belies the nuances of the population context. It’s not size or growth that matters, but the characteristics and distribution of the population.

Strategies that seek to attract and retain populations outside the city limits will take the pressure off cities with the highest growth – such as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. And these strategies shouldn’t just consider immigrants are beneficiaries of settlement incentives — Australian locals could participate in such a scheme.

Essential services, such as schools and hospitals, are based around populations. That is, hospitals are built where there is already enough demand. Yet adequate infrastructure must already be present for viable communities in regional areas to attract people to move there.

Read more: How many people make a good city? It's not the size that matters, but how you use it

A settlement strategy could also incorporate investigations and investments in the way Australian towns and associated infrastructure can best support communities. This can include such things as employment opportunities, appropriate housing, transport and telecommunications.

Nhill, a town in the Wimmera region of western Victoria, embarked on a strategic resettlement program for a group of Karen refugees from Myanmar in 2010. A report by Deloitte Access Economics showed an estimated increase of more than A$40 million in Gross Regional Product over five years as a result of this strategy. This serves as a good example for how community and industry can work together to attract people to help bolster local business.

A policy is long overdue

Population ageing means we need to take action now to guarantee Australia’s future social and demographic sustainability.

Australia is long overdue for a sensible strategy for the future. Australia doesn’t need an immigration plebiscite (or even consensus) or another population inquiry to advance a population policy. We need evidence based decision-making which will ensure sustainability and quality of life into the future.

Public consultation and government-commissioned quality research to inform the future needs of the migration program will ensure the parameters of population policy are right for Australia.

A population policy for Australia should provide a blueprint for the future; a framework for what the nation aspires to be, and achievable goals to get there.

Authors: Liz Allen, Demographer, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University

Read more http://theconversation.com/heres-what-a-population-policy-for-australia-could-look-like-101458

Australia Today

Keep Your Business Safe With These Cyber Security Tips

News Company

When you own a business, you want to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This includes not only the normal everyday operations, in general, but also keeping everything safe and secure. As everything is online now due to the digital world in which we currently live, it’s more important than eve...

Honest brokers. Why mortgage broker commissions aren't the problem

Mark Humphery-Jenner, Associate Professor of Finance, UNSW

Most mortgage brokers provide good service.ShutterstockThe Hayne Royal Commission began and ended with strident criticism of the mortgage broking industry. It recommended brokers be required to act in the “best interests” of intending borrowers, and that intending borrowers, rather than ...

As Australia's soft power in the Pacific fades, China's voice gets louder

Helen Vatsikopoulos, Lecturer in Journalism, University of Technology Sydney

China is broadcasting to more than 1 billion people in several different languages, while Australia sits on its soft power reviews.Screenshot/YouTubeThis week, Department of Communications and Arts secretary Mike Mrdak told a Senate hearing our Pacific neighbours will soon experience “the full...

how does a vasectomy work and can it be reversed?

James Dunn, Associate Lecturer in Anatomy and Cell Biology, Western Sydney University

Men who don't want any more kids will often choose to have a vasectomy.From shutterstock.comSome men may shudder at the thought of “the snip”. But vasectomies are a safe and effective form of contraception for men who have completed their family, or don’t wish to have children.Medi...

Super-recognisers accurately pick out a face in a crowd – but can this skill be taught?

Alice Towler, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, UNSW

One of these people is on a wanted list for theft. A super-recogniser may pick them at a glance. from www.shutterstock.comYenny is 26 years old, lives in Melbourne, and has a very specific talent. One day, she was driving her car when she recognised a man who had been several years below her at high...

Holidays & Travel

Important Considerations When Choosing Broome Accommodation

Broome is a fantastic place for visitors of all ages. Whether you want to lounge on the golden sands of Cable beach or take the kids to learn something new...

A tour guide to Melbourne

Welcome to the second most populous city in Australia with its beautiful sites and amazing scenery. Melbourne has been identified in so many spheres as one of the most livable...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Australia

The sheer, breathtaking expanse of the Australian continent is a thing of beauty. The vast landmass is actually packed with awe-inspiring landmarks to see and countless blood-pumping activities to partake...

Adhari Park: Why is it one of the must-visit sites in Bahrain?

Despite its small area that does not exceed the 1,000 square kilometers mark, the Kingdom of Bahrain is known for being rich of touristic sites and attractions. Bahrain comprises destinations...

Exciting Off Road Adventures In Western Australia

Western Australia has long been a top destination for off roading enthusiasts from all across the world. One look at some of the top off road destinations on offer in...

Things to Do and See in Ballina, Australia

The intricate coastline of New South Wales is renowned for its sumptuous, decadent beaches, hidden resorts and secret camping spots. A long and slow ride down the winding highway that...

Guide to Travel Necessities for 2018

Sure, it sounds like quite an adventure to hit an open road with nothing but a one-way ticket and an open mind, but the harsh reality is – you won’t...

Top Sightseeing Spots in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most fascinating locations for anyone to visit in the world. After all, it’s a place with a variety of unique landscapes, but it isn’t...

Must-Pack Items for a Travel Blogging Boss

As a travel blogger, you get to see and explore so many wonderful destinations and meet various interesting people, but before you embark on a new adventure you need to...

Fashion & Beauty

4 Signs it’s Time for a Facial Peel

If you love keeping your skin in the best possible condition but you’re not always sure when you should be scheduling a facial treatment such as a peel, this article...

The Reason Why You Were Rejected as a Hair Transplant Patient

There are a number of ways to address hair loss, with hair transplants being the most common. Taking the time to find an appropriate hair transplant clinic and the necessary funding...

Five Trends That Will Transform Beauty

Remember the Groucho brows, the palm tree hairstyle and the giant hair that were huge trends back in the ‘80s? Well, those times are behind us, fortunately, and with each...

Fashion Trends to Know in 2019

No matter if you’re a die-hard fashionista or just a girl who loves to keep up with the latest fashion trends from time to time – you’re definitely at the...

Five Fabulous Items Every Single Makeup Bag Must Have According to The Experts At Lime Crime

Most women find it necessary to bring a purse with them. A purse makes it easy to keep items around that they need during the day. One of the most...

The Best Eyelash Enhancers in the Market Today

The human obsession with beauty goes way back in our history as can be seen in antique paintings and sculpture and it is one that continues to persist today and...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

Tips for remodeling your basement into pleasant living spaceThe Reason Why You Were Rejected as a Hair Transplant PatientLeconfield Wines: Four legged family members now part of many weddingsModern magnesium: the pharmaceutical-grade topical relief health productWhy you should hire equipment for your next party or eventLiving life without fearFive Trends That Will Transform Beauty Moving home is always complicated but even more challenging in SydneyWhy Chocolate Can Be Good For YouHow to Choose the Right Wedding SuitTop 5 Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures for Men in 20192019’s Unforgettable Valentine’s Day Ideas In SydneyFashion Trends to Know in 2019David Lennon:   Five reasons to get your car loan sorted before visiting a dealership5 Sleep-Friendly Bedroom Tips for Career Women