Population Talk motion & recent news

Letter to the editor of Post Newspapers, this includes the motion passed at the Population talk:

Dear Editor,

In Through the Looking Glass (the sequel to Alice in Wonderland) the Red Queen tells Alice:

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.”


It seems we are condemned to the same exhausting condition as Alice and the Red Queen, constantly running but never catching up. To counter the usual daily propaganda of the “pro-growth at all costs” lobby, Permaculturewest held a meeting recently to discuss optimal population numbers for a sustainable Australia at Christchurch Grammar School. The following was the motion passed by the hundred plus crowd who attended the meeting where author of Overloading Australia, Mark O’Connor spoke.

“This meeting calls on the federal government to fund an independent commission set up to investigate matters that impact on population sustainability in Australia, including but not only; potable water availability, arable agricultural land availability, food security, land tenure, energy security, urban planning, birth rates and migration rates. That this commission be staffed by independent researchers experienced in the relevant fields and that their research be available for public scrutiny on a regular basis and used for forming policy on population numbers in Australia.”

It is intended to forward this motion to the relevant federal Ministers and our Premier, Colin Barnett, who is a strong advocate for population growth. We realise that there is a report on Sustainable Population due to report to federal minister, Tony Burke MP soon. What we want is this assessment to be a continuous process by an independent commission, not a one off, politically driven exercise.

With continuous population growth it follows, that like Alice and the Red Queen, we need to keep being in a continuous state of crisis, playing catch-up to just stay in the same place; crowded trains, gridlocked roads, ramping in emergency departments, stressed out teachers and nurses, inadequate training opportunities, housing shortages and looming food shortages.

Why are we condemned to this just to satisfy a mining industry that isn’t paying its way or satisfying the greed of property developers? If you support this motion we ask you to let your voices be heard and contact Permaculturewest and/or your members of parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Hartley

Dick Smith recently wrote a piece on ONLINE opinion:

A lack of certainty with water means we must always be cautious about ensuring food security, not only for Australians, but for the millions of people around the world who depend on Australian grain and meat for their livelihood. For those who scoff at the idea of Australia one day running short of locally produced food, or having little or nothing to export, I urge you to read the report on our food security recently released by the nation’s top scientific advisory body, the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council.

Please read the full piece at: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11928&page=0

Response from the Australian Government to email Sue sent:

Dear Ms Hartley

Thank you for your email of 29 March 2011 to the Prime Minister concerning the sustainability of Australia’s population. Your email has been passed to this department for reply.

As you indicate in your email, the size and sustainability of our population is an important issue for Australia. A changing population will present both challenges and opportunities for Australia. If we are to adapt to change and build sustainable communities, we need to integrate environmental, social and economic factors to provide current and future generations with the opportunity to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

You may be aware that the government is currently developing a sustainable population strategy. On 16 December 2010, Mr Burke released the Sustainable Population Strategy Issues Paper for public comment. The Issues Paper and subsequent public consultations are currently informing the development of the strategy. You may be interested in reading the Issues Paper and the public submissions which have been received in response to it. These can be accessed from the Department’s website: http://www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/population/index.html.

Thank you for taking the time to write and for your interest in this issue.

Yours sincerely

James Tregurtha
A/g Assistang Secretary
Sustainable Population Taskforce
14 April 2011

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