Renewed Push for Sustainable Population & Price on Carbon
Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement that ecological sustainability, not the idea of a ‘Big Australia’, would be the focus of a national population policy. Electronics tycoon turned anti-immigration campaigner Dick Smith agrees. And the Greens are prepared to work with Government to put a $23 per tonne price on carbon in place by July 2011, based on the work of government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut.
AAP Reports (29 June 2010):
The Australian Greens have handed Prime Minister Julia Gillard a proposal to adopt a price on carbon within three months of Labor’s re-election.
Greens Leader Bob Brown says his five-point plan is the best way to break the stalemate on climate action, after Labor twice failed to get its carbon pollution reduction scheme through the Senate.
The Greens want a $23 per tonne price on carbon to be in place by July 2011, based on the work of government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut.
Ms Gillard’s options would be left open for a future emissions trading scheme and emissions reductions targets, Senator Brown told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
“She cited getting a carbon price in her first speech on Thursday as one of her priorities,” he said.
“She knows like all of us do that quick action on climate change is wanted.”
Under ousted prime minister Kevin Rudd, the government was marked down by voters because it backed away from an election promise to take action on climate change, Senator Brown said.
He revealed Ms Gillard had contacted him on the weekend to flag her announcement to change the population portfolio to “sustainable population”, and he looked forward to meeting with her in person soon.
Australian Conservation Foundation (27 June 2010):
The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement that ecological sustainability, not the idea of a ‘Big Australia’, would be the focus of a national population policy.
“Bigger isn’t always better, so a focus on sustainability will be in Australia’s long-term best interest far more than an arbitrary preference for a large population,” said Chuck Berger, ACF’s Director of Strategic Ideas.
“The crucial challenge for the Government will be how to translate this positive commitment to sustainability into the practical development of Australia’s first-ever national population policy.
“We need to clearly identify ecological, infrastructure and resource constraints at national, regional and local levels and set goals for our society to operate within those constraints.
“A sensible population policy would set clear targets and plans for dramatically reducing greenhouse pollution, improving water and energy efficiency, stabilising the population in the long term and protecting key ecological assets.
“Australia’s rate of population growth is now among the highest in the industrialised world.
“More people means more roads, more urban sprawl, more dams, more power lines, more energy and water use, more pollution in our air and natural environment and more pressure on our animals, plants, rivers, reefs and bush.
“If we want our kids to enjoy the same quality of life we have enjoyed, we should aim to stabilise our population and overall consumption at sustainable levels.”
He said while immigration levels should be set within an ecological context, Australia should also play a stronger role in assisting refugees.
“Australia can continue to accept refugees and accommodate family reunions while reducing overall migration to sustainable levels,” Mr Berger said.
Smith backs PM on population
Olga Galacho in Herald Sun (28 June 2010):
FORMER electronics tycoon turned anti-immigration campaigner Dick Smith is delighted with the new Prime Minister’s opposition to rampant population growth.
Mr Smith also announced yesterday that he would award $1 million cash to a person aged under 25 in a competition to design a population “safety” plan for the nation.
Speaking exclusively to BusinessDaily, the millionaire declared he would dedicate the rest of his life to fighting policy that encouraged population growth.
Under former PM Kevin Rudd, the Federal Government was contemplating a population target of 36 million by 2050.
But yesterday, new PM Julia Gillard said she did not support the target on the grounds of sustainability.
“There are environmental issues about water and about soil. But there are also sustainability issues about planning, about services,” Ms Gillard told the Nine Network yesterday, after naming Tony Burke the new Sustainable Population Minister.
Australia’s population stands at 22 million and Mr Smith said if it grew past 26 million, the nation could struggle to feed its people.
“I am going to commit the rest of my life to this issue and to communicate to Australians that they need to wean themselves off constant growth in the economy, too,” the confessed “proud” capitalist said.
“It is just a fact that we can’t grow forever … there needs to be a way of making economies work without the constant growth and without using GDP as a measure of success.”
He conceded the transition to low or no growth could take decades because it faced opposition from organisations that donated to political parties.
Mr Smith, who has made a documentary on population growth, to screen on the ABC in August, said he has made more money out of Sydney property deals than he ever did as an electronics retailer or publisher of Australian National Geographic magazine.
He added his all-Australian Dick Smith Foods was not doing well and would probably disappear from supermarkets one day.
“I have benefited from growth and become a very wealthy man but I couldn’t just say nothing like all of my friends,” he said, adding he welcomed any criticism of a perceived double standard if it created publicity on the issue.