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Populate or perish - the choice is ours.

Cappos Quiz: Can you spot the only correct line.

This article appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper, Insight section on the 4th of May 2008. Written by Monsignor David Cappo, it sets a new record, in that, the article contains only one line that is correct. Can you spot the correct line?

Monsignor David Cappo

The Cappo Quiz

Find the one correct line in this irresponsible article.

Populate or perish – the choice is ours.

By David Cappo. Insight. The Advertiser.

May 4, 2008

 

Population growth is one of the greatest challenges facing South Australia and future generations.

In a recent Sunday Mail column, Lainie Anderson rightfully questioned whether our State’s dwindling water stocks allow us to grow our population. The answer is yes, we can do both.

Population growth will bring its own set of challenges, such as sustainable water, managing environmental issues, urban growth, available housing and jobs. These are all legitimate issues to be raised, discussed and planned for. These growth challenges are far better than dealing with the disaster of spiralling population decline.

The State Government is fighting to save the River Murray and provide the infrastructure we need to give us water security for the future.

Incentives such as desalination plants, recycling stormwater and reusing wastewater will ensure South Australian of tomorrow will use water smarter and more efficiently than we do today. We must not limit sustainable growth. That would threaten our survival.

The state target of two million people by 2050 is a gradual, responsible and sustainable growth over nearly 50 years to prevent our state sliding into population decline and irrelevancy.

Five years ago, it looked like the state was heading for a “country town syndrome” where the population declines, young people move away, you can’t field a footy team, the banks close and businesses shut down. We had 10 per cent of the national population in 1960, we now have 7.6 per cent and we are heading for 5 per cent in 40 years. But things have improved.

Last year our population grew by 1 per cent. This was the best performance since 1991. We have done well and we need to welcome this success. However, we need to be careful not to allow our success to give us a false sense of security. In reality, as we are celebrating our steady growth, other states are forging ahead of us at unprecedented speed.

While we are celebrating a growth of 16,300 people or 1 per cent, Queensland has grown by 90,500 and has a growth rate more than double ours. Western Australia is growing the fastest at a rate of 2.3 per cent.

If, as predicted, South Australia continues to grow at a slower rate, each year the gap between us and the other states will increase.

A decline in population will erode our tax base and put unsustainable pressure on aged care.

Moreover, one of the big losers in this scenario would be the environment. The environment will suffer if we do not have the financial capacity to invest and protect it.

The idea that more people is bad for the environment is wrong. The extent to which the environment is degraded is more about regulation and technology than population.

Other states aggressively target overseas migrants like we do. If we stop being competitive, other states will trample us.

The only three ways to achieve population growth are by increasing overseas immigration, reducing migration to other states and through increased fertility.

Sustainable population growth will maintain the lifestyle we love and hold dear, for this generation and the next.

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