GREAT analysis from Rob Stokes … the AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY agree …we have had no say about the high population growth through immigration and Visa Manipulation … how undemocratic is that?
ALL POLLS have pointed to IMMIGRATION being too high …
WILL we in Australia have our own Brexit moment?
KEY POINTS ….
-the disconnect between urban planning and immigration is generating massive economic, social and environmental consequences
–unpredictable population growth has generated massive cost and anxiety for communities, councils and planners
-transport projects cancelled; corridors sold on the basis of flawed population projections; then re-planned and repurchased at huge additional expense; let alone dislocation brought to existing communities.
-schools sold off on flawed population assumptions now need to be retro-fitted where land prices have surged
-capital programs to expand the capacity of energy and water utilities have had to be drastically altered to meet the demands of unanticipated demographic change
-NSW demographers have no insight or input into federal immigration policy; the single biggest driver of Sydney’s population
–2017, 85% of migrants to NSW made their home in Sydney with a huge impact on infrastructure capacity
-the economy exists to serve the population, rather than the population being increased to serve the economy *
ALSO VIEW: From the Unconventional Economist:
It’s time to plan a national settlement strategy
By Rob Stokes
September 23, 2019
Australia’s population is growing – and fast. Over the next 30 years, our nation’s population is projected to increase by 50 per cent. Most of this growth will be in our large cities. For Sydney, this will mean our population will grow from five million to eight million.
Past projections of Sydney’s population growth have been badly wrong, and generally far too conservative.
The 1948 Cumberland Plan for Sydney’s growth assumed that Sydney’s population would reach 2.25 million by 1981. However, with mass post-war migration, that population was achieved 20 years earlier.
Conversely, the Sydney Region Outline Plan of 1968 projected that Sydney’s population would reach 5.5 million by 2000, a figure not even achieved by 2019. Further metropolitan plans in 1988 and 2005 then both significantly underestimated the rapid population growth experienced over the past decade.
In other words, the only consistency across population projections for Sydney is that they have all been wrong. And while in one way this is merely an interesting historical footnote, unpredictable population growth has generated massive cost and anxiety for communities, councils and planners.
Transport projects cancelled and corridors sold on the basis of flawed population projections have subsequently been re-planned and repurchased at huge additional expense, not to mention the dislocation that such unexpected change brings to existing communities.
Schools sold off on flawed population assumptions now need to be retro-fitted into central areas of growing suburbs where land prices have surged as populations have increased. Capital programs to expand the capacity of energy and water utilities have had to be drastically altered to meet the demands of unanticipated demographic change.
So why are the projections so wrong? NSW demographers have accurately projected the rate of natural population increase, but have no insight or input into federal immigration policy, which has emerged as the single biggest driver of Sydney’s population.
As Australia’s net overseas migration has surged over the past decade, the overwhelming majority of new arrivals choose to settle in major cities. For example, in 2017, 85 per cent of migrants to NSW made their home in Sydney, with a huge, and unpredicted, impact on infrastructure capacity.
None of this is an argument either for or against a high rate of immigration. Just as a town planner will point to the impacts of increasing population on infrastructure, so any economist will point to the link between population and economic growth.
But what is clear is that decisions by the federal government about immigration have profound impacts on the size and distribution of population that the states are left to plan for – without knowing how many people will rely on public services into the future.
While Australia has never had a formal population policy – immigration policy has emerged as its proxy, and the disconnect between urban planning and immigration is generating massive economic, social and environmental consequences.
In this context, it is heartening that the nation’s treasurers have recently agreed to work together to develop a national population and planning framework. However, action by treasurers alone is not sufficient. From a treasury perspective, population growth is just another term for economic productivity.
*Strategic planning takes a broader view of the complexity of human settlements, so that the economy exists to serve the population, rather than the population being increased to serve the economy.
*In planning the future of our country, it is time to develop a national settlement strategy to balance the economic imperatives of treasuries with the human and environmental imperatives of the community.
That’s why I recently contacted my counterpart planning ministers from around the country to bring them together for Australia’s first National Planning Ministers’ Forum, hosted earlier this month by Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge. If we are to plan strategically and thoughtfully for the long-term prosperity of our nation, we need nationally consistent methods for collected data, and nationally calibrated planning assumptions and horizons.
Australian jurisdictions with stagnant or ageing population growth are clearly going to choose different planning policies than communities experiencing congestion and rapid urban change, but while different places might choose divergent growth strategies, we should all proceed from consistent spatial boundaries and baselines of information.
*What we should not do is use population as a political football. Nor should we use a population increase as a lazy proxy for economic growth.
Rob Stokes is NSW Planning Minister.