Australia’s population growth rate of nearly half a million ‘too high’

Australia is growing rapidly, in large part due to immigration. This causes strain on both infrastructure and the environment.

By Sustainable Population Australia

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) considers Australia’s population growth rate in 2022 too high and called on the federal government to put a brake on immigration.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the latest population figures today showing Australia’s population grew by nearly half a million (496,800 or 1.9%) in the year ending 31 December 2022. The two components of growth were net overseas migration (immigration minus emigration = NOM) at 387,000 and natural increase at 109,800.

SPA national president Ms Jenny Goldie says nearly half a million added to a population of 25.8 million from the year before was simply unsustainable.

“As all recent and reliable surveys confirm, the Australian people are strongly opposed to what’s going on,” says Ms Goldie. “Prime Minister Albanese knows this.

“At 387,000, NOM is simply too high and must be cut, though Treasury is clearly planning to maintain these extremely high levels. Its rationale is to increase economic growth yet it takes no account of environmental and social factors.

“And although immigration increases economic growth at the national level, at the per capita level, growth does not necessarily occur.

“Our environment continues to decline with important habitats threatened by urban expansion, not least the last remaining Chlamydia-free koala habitat in Sydney.

“And housing is simply not keeping up with the increased demand. Nor can other  infrastructure keep up with such unrelenting immigration-fed population pressures.

“Western Australia experienced the highest growth of 2.3% in the country and, as a consequence, Perth is predicted to record the biggest shortfall of 25,200 dwellings by 2027.”

Ms Goldie notes that, historically, new migrants have understandably gravitated to the major cities because that is where they are more likely to find people of their own nationality.

“Our cities, however, are under immense strain with inadequate public transport and massive road congestion, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, each with populations of over five million,” she says.

“Strategies to get people to move to the country have had limited success. The only solution is to slow population growth significantly by cutting immigration, given natural increase is declining naturally at last.

“I ask MPs to do the simple sums and answer this: Given the rate of population increase and the much lower rate of building housing, hospital and other infrastructure requirements, when if ever will all Australians have access to these essentials?”

Population growth of Australia compared to Canada, USA, Europe, and the UK since 1950, in percent.


This text was originally published by Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) and can be accessed here.

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14 thoughts on “Australia’s population growth rate of nearly half a million ‘too high’

  1. Meanwhile, just between 2006 and 2030, the U.S. will have gained a staggering 50 million (U.N. data), but we can’t talk about that because, gasp, it might be partisan, especially if we touch on Biden’s violating laws at the border that Obama said NO PRESIDENT CAN EVER IGNORE OR VIOLATE!

    1. Using those number means a gain of just over 2 million per year. Census has shown we are actually gaining some 3 million net a year. 1 million from citizens and 2 million either directly or indirectly (from births for the 1st generation from immigrants).
      I did write Biden and our two senators about this issue. From both senators (progressive and female) I received the usual form letter back which only skirted this issue. Remember, politicians depend on corporate money to get their messages out and most corporations want more, younger, pliable and cheap labor. Externalities (unintended consequences) are beyond their understanding.

  2. This actually brought a smile when the UK had a similar record net population increase last year, on top of averaging 300,000 approx net increases every year since Y2K (when we would have started to decline but for the sudden dropping of practically all planning constraints, to boost growth for no sane reason at all). Most of this increase is in England, and we had three times Australia’s population in a tiny fraction of the space to start with! And the gov and developers still demand more and more! No gov actually has a clue what an economy is for: certainly it is the opposite of economical. It is just another god to sacrifice people to, though it started out as simple housekeeping!

    UK is dead in the water. I have given up looking out of the window or going out and seeing the latest attrocities and trees that aren’t there any more. We will be eating each other by mid century by the looks of things. Govs will still be demanding more growth though. Maybe everyone will move to Canada: they say they have plenty of room, but it looks like it’s nearly all lakes, to me. :/

    Hope Oz campaigners have better luck than we did, but, I expect that geophysics and meteorology will solve the Homo sapiens infestation on their own before much longer.

    1. From the outside, it seems to me that the UK is ripping itself apart over issues such as Brexit and looking for impossible fixes, while its problems stem from unchecked population growth on a small island, bad governance, inequality and reliance on an unsustainable economic model…
      Lack of food self-sufficiency, insufficient housing and the relentless ravaging of its countryside… but no one wants to say “overpopulation”. I wish more people would listen to David Attenborough and less to George Monbiot…
      Italy is not that different but our population is not growing as much.

    2. Hi, Steve. Looney immigration rates, around 1%, are inflicted by all the Anglophone governments of UK, CA, AU, NZ. Be the same in US, if NYT/WaPo were in power.

      How does the first-world generally, crave this open-borders nirvana? A bit like this: yeah nah, maybe or maybe not, perhaps some other decade, gosh is that really the time.

    1. What kind of so called intelligent beings can we claim to be when things like this are staring us in the face yet we look for other things at play (like blaming certain groups or a need to ratchet up our technology). The hold that corporate and social ‘norms’ shows just how gullible and just plain stupid we are. Seems a Darwin award needs to be applied not just to individuals but to species as well.

      1. I biet Darwin agrees with you – if he is watching events from somewhere……. Not that the Darwin Award was his idea, but I bet he would have liked the concept, he must have become disillusioned about humans during the years of hysteria after he published the Origin of Species and certainly he devoted the last 10 years of his life to the study of earthworms, which sends a rather unmistakable message IMO.

    2. Thanks a lot Gaia. I missed this, there is so much on Al Jazeera. It is amazingly truthful about a lot of things, especially the environment. The main news today is a perfect example – brief items about the Sudan and Brazil which are deeply shocking on the topic of temperature and sea level rise. The weather in Japan is also problematic at the moment, apparently. Qatar use their enormous wealth well – unlike other big earners from fossil fuel riches. Qatar posted a budget surplus of 30 billion riyals ($8.19 billion) for the third quarter of 2022, boosted by rocketing oil and gas revenues. Total revenues in Q3 amounted to 81.8 billion riyals, of which over 93%, or 76.3 billion riyals, came from oil and gas. Government figures showed that spending in the third quarter of 2022 stood at 51.8 billion riyals. 81.8 billion minus 51.8 billion is 30 billion in the black – happy days! India probably bought some of Qatar’s oil and gas, it is using more every year, and it also has plenty of coal at the moment.
      I find all this interesting because it shows the world is consuming more oil and gas than ever, even though accessible reserves have peaked. Oil and gas (and coal) fuel population growth and also consumption growth when population growth starts to level off, so they need to run out fairly soon. Getting used to not having plenty of oil and gas is going to be a nightmare, but an inevitable one for coming generations.
      After a lifetime spent around environmentalists, I am only just realizing that both population growth and consumption growth will be stopped and reversed when fossil fuels run out – and not before. And yet, when I was a teenager my father was always muttering “our only hope is that fossil fuels will run out”. He had a massive IQ like all senior diplomats in those days – but geologists kept finding more oil and gas in the 1970s and it is only now that we are beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel, as it were.
      Also, in the 1970s people were hopeful of finding alternatives to fossil fuels to keep our economies growing or at least stable – so I paid little attention to my father. It is only now that the penny is beginning to drop – not only will there be no Growth, there will be no Steady State either, but a very uncomfortable period of DeGrowth (which like radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer is probably the only solution despite being deeply unpleasant). After all, once we accept that it has been fossil fuels that have caused world population to rocket in nation after nation since 1800, it seems logical to suppose that the ONLY solution is to withdraw fossil fuels completely. But no-one is prepared for the shock of going “cold turkey” like this.
      The date when the planet reaches Peak Oil keeps shifting – but many allege it did arrive, later than predicted, in about 2012. The effect will start slowly, and may not be fully noticed till 2050 or later – but it will be drastic. Doomsday preppers in America stopped prepping when America started using its shale reserves – not realizing that these run out very quickly indeed, often after only one year for a small find. I don’t know if they have gone back to prepping now – probably they have. But it is really the Developing World that is now massively hooked on fossil fuels and is using more of them every year.

  3. I am completely fed up with the guilt trip foisted on the First World by the Third. Yes, we developed first and caused a lot of pollution and climate change. But nowadays we are not the main culprit – we have long since been overtaken in terms of fossil fuel consumption and general pollution and gross overpopulation by the Developing or Less Developed World.
    We tried to warn the Third World decades ago not to make the same mistakes as we did. What did they do? Not only copy us, but amplify our mistakes on such a scale that the situation now in most Third World nations is far worse than it was in the 19th century European slums propelling half of Europe to the New World (where they promptly created even bigger slums after a while).
    These are mistakes that cannot be reversed and damage that cannot be undone – whether small scale 19th century ones or whopping 21st century ones. Nor is monetary compensation useful, since it is the quest for monetary gain that causes the problems in the first place.
    They are frying in Sudan these days – but the ones that have left for Melbourne will soon be frying too, so what was the point? And most Nations are consuming MORE fossil fuels, not less – especially in the Developing World, so they need to stop blaming the First World for everything and shoulder their share of the responsibility. But of course if they do that they won’t have a “right” to dump themselves in the First World will they?
    Luckily fossil fuels really are running out, especially as consumption of them rockets – but they need to run out now, not in 2040 or whenever. Yes it will be awful if they run out now, but not as awful as it will be if they don’t run out till 2040 or later.
    The wiki article on Guilt Trips is succinct and devastating – “Creating a guilt trip in another person may be considered to be manipulation in the form of punishment for a perceived transgression.
    George K. Simon interprets the guilt trip as a special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position.”

    There are limited studies examining guilt trips, and those studies tend to focus on guilt trips in parent–child relationships

  4. Edith, I agree with your father – unfortunately. We will only stop when we have to – not before. It’s definitely worth trying, but I wouldn’t bet on it happening.
    We did pass peak conventional oil; the fossil fuels we are using now cost more energy to extract and process, so they give us less net energy. It’s not just about how many reserves there are (there’s still a lot of stuff in there) but how much net energy you get from it.
    I disagree on the Gulf states spending well. From what I know, they have among the highest per capita consumption in the world (of the stupid kind, too, like artificial ski slopes in the desert), pay the indigenous workforce to do nothing on nice public salaries while they import massive amounts of actual workers from poor countries and treat them literally like slaves (have a look, there’s a lot of evidence on this and it’s ugly), and the only “smart” thing they are doing is diversifying their investment portfolio so that we’ll soon find out they bought us with the money we’ve given them ourselves (same as China).
    Guilt is a religious and moral concept, but it cannot be the defining parameter for making decisions about today. The idea of guilt seems to have taken over and is breeding enormous resentment; it would be more helpful to talk about problems, solutions, and how to equitably share responsibility for what’s happening and what needs to be done.

    1. Thanks Gaia – I am glad my father has proved right, I did usually believe him, just not about fossil fuels because to most people the 1970s was the time when the Middle East really got unveiled as the main source of Oil so it seemed as if a “new” and inexhaustible source had been found (plus UK North Sea Oil was being flourished as an important find that woud save us and our economy for ever instead of for just a few years).
      In reality, the Middle East had been the main source of “Petroleum” since 1900, and some historians allege that the First World War was about access to Oil, just as more recent conflicts have been.about Oil (and other Raw Materials, of course, but principally Oil). But it was only in the 1970s that the general public became conscious of the power of the Middle East and its Oil – because it was only in the 1970s that the Middle East started to exercise that power on the world stage. So there was a fantasy that Middle East Oil was going to last forever.
      The people who knew it would not, were the Arabs and Iranians themselves, and they soon started investing in other sources of wealth to diversify their portfolios – not realizing that nearly all FORMS of wealth these days are dependent upon cheap Oil if you trace the wealth back to its source.
      So I agree with you about Qatar – but still, it is true that not all wealthy people spend great chunks of their wealth on virtually sabotaging their “right” to that wealth by showing how it all comes from A) depleting Natural Resources and B) exacerbating that depletion by fuelling overconsumption and overgrowth. The weather report alone on Al Jazeera is sobering – and should be emulated by all national broadcasters everywhere. We need to know what is happening to the weather all over the world – and I mean weather, not climate. We know that weather is not the same as climate – but we also know that persistent weird weather is more vivid and more persuasive evidence of climate change than academic reports even if they do use colourful graphs and maps to drive home their point.

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