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Released 23 March 2012
A new Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) report released today is calling for changes in how Australia manages population change, to ensure smooth delivery of services and infrastructure.
CEDA, Chief Executive, Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said the issue of population is critical to social and economic policy with significant and wide ranging implications for all Australians, yet at present debate in Australia seems focused on only small isolated issues like asylum seekers or ultimately unreliable long-term population forecasts.
"CEDA's A Greater Australia: Population, policies and governance provides analysis on population issues, including the impact of health and ageing, infrastructure, migration, climate change, defence, dispersion of population and education," he said.
"Public unease with the population debate is often centred around government policy or planning failures, from inadequate service provision to poor infrastructure planning and that is why our nation's leaders must not shy away from a robust discussion on our future demography and its implications for public policy."
Professor Martin said CEDA's recommendations from the report, aimed at providing a starting point for action were:
Professor Martin said the recommendations would allow more proactive policy responses to population changes as they emerge, rather than reactive responses that often result in a delay in the delivery of necessary infrastructure and services.
The report, under the editorship of Professors Jonathan Pincus and Graeme Hugo, draws together 17 contributions from experts across Australia and is the culmination of two years work.
Professor Pincus said A Greater Australia aims to dispel some myths, such as that Australia's population will soon exceed its sustainable limit, and that immigration hugely benefits or hugely damages our economy.
"The report makes a valuable contribution towards a measured and considered population debate," he said.
"How we manage population change will ultimately impact on the living standards of all Australians, especially the liveability of our cities and our access to services," he said.
Download: A Greater Australia: Population, policies and governance
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.