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Page added on January 25, 2011

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Cities to more than double in size under current immigration levels, says news research

Alternative Energy

AUSTRALIA’S capital cities will more than double in size within 50 years under current immigration rates, dramatically affecting quality of life and cutting food production.

Research for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has found more than 430,000 hectares of land will have to be found for housing in both Sydney and Melbourne if net overall immigration remains above 260,000 a year.

Even with zero migration, the capitals will grow in size by roughly 50 per cent, costing residents an extra $1000 a year due to added congestion within the next two decades.

Under current migration rates, each capital would become an estimated one and a half times bigger, with massive gridlock-induced costs.

Posted on the department’s website before Christmas, the National Institute of Labour Studies research reveals the extent of the policy problems facing the Gillard government as it plans for a “sustainable Australia”.

“The magnitude of the impacts at all net overall migration levels suggests that unless substantial and timely actions are taken to address these impacts, some impacts have the potential to disrupt Australia’s economy and society,” the paper warns.

Lead researcher Dr Jonathan Sobels, from Flinders University, said farms and public land would be consumed as bulging cities expanded.

He said Sydney would lose about half of its productive land used for fresh fruit and vegetable production.

“Sydney and Melbourne will rise to something of the order of seven million people. We’ve got something in the order of half of that now,” he said.

“Where are they all going to go? They’re not going to all go into 50-storey apartment blocks.

“Physically, the demand on land is going to be immense.”

Affluence is forecast to rise faster under higher immigration scenarios, driving up the use of space and resources.

Per capita wealth would rise by about 2.3 times by mid-century with migration at the level of 260,000 a year.

Without migration, per capita wealth would double over the same timeframe.

Consumption is forecast to rise with affluence, contributing to growing levels of waste, congestion and use of environmental resources.

Sydney would need an extra 2.5 landfills for every one required today under higher migration scenarios, with much of the extra waste resulting from demolition of old buildings.

The report suggests agricultural production would increase toward 2030, and then decline.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was a supporter of a “Big Australia”, arguing for a population of 36 million-plus by 2050.

Julia Gillard modified the approach amid a growing suburban backlash, calling instead for a sustainable Australia.

Net overseas migration was running at almost 300,000 but is expected to fall when the latest figures become available in about six months, after changes to cut the number of overseas students staying in Australia following their studies.

theaustralian.com.au



One Comment on "Cities to more than double in size under current immigration levels, says news research"

  1. Kenz300 on Tue, 25th Jan 2011 9:38 am 

    We all need to step back and start thinking about what is sustainable.

    Limited resources and ever expanding populations are a recipe for rationing.

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