Port Augusta. SA.
Rudd appoints Tony Burke as Population Minister
Parliament House, Canberra 3rd April 2010
A glimmer of sanity from Rudd with the appointment Tony Burke as Population Minister. Well at least we can now talk about the subject without being labelled racists. However when Mr. Rudd says “Burke must be "acutely mindful" of the positive implications of growth on the economy.” We can read between the lines and see that he wants to use this as a vehicle for a “Big Australia” rather than a true debate about how many people Australia can support in the long term.
It is interesting to see that Mr. Rudd is now aware of the problems of population increase: Urban congestion, Inadequate infrastructure, Housing prices, Deteriorating government services, Water scarcity and Failing agriculture. But note when he mentions “Big Australia”, it is only “positive implications.” Lacking are any specifics of what these positive implications might be. Bigger markets for industry? More housing developments for the property developers? These industries all lavish donations on the major parties to subvert our politicians to their cause: More people means increasing profits.
I am sure everyone has noticed that Mr. Rudd did not appoint Labor MP Kelvin Thomson who has been talking about this issue for a long time now and has some very good ideas on where we should be heading. Kelvin offers solutions that do not fit with Mr. Rudds’ “Big Australia.” ideas and so we wait to see what the new Population Minister, Tony Burke, comes up with in his “Mindful” state.
Mr Burke will be responsible for drawing up a national population strategy and will retain his other portfolio of agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Mr Rudd has been under pressure to better examine the nation's population, which is on a trajectory to reach 35.9 million by 2050. He told reporters in Canberra the announcement came after a month of consideration. "Many Australians have legitimate concerns about the sustainability of the population levels in different parts of the country,'' Mr Rudd said. "Particularly its impact on urban congestion, its impact on the adequacy of infrastructure, its impact on the adequacy of housing supply, its impact on government services, its impact also on water and agriculture and on our regions.''
Mr Rudd has previously said he supports a "big Australia'' - and doesn't believe growth has to be a bad thing. In devising the strategy, he said Mr Burke must be "acutely mindful'' of the positive implications of growth on the economy. " Our challenge is to make sure that we get our future population levels as right as possible, and against that analysis make sure we're planning properly,'' he said. Mr Burke said his new portfolio touched every area of service delivery, and he would consult widely as he developed the strategy over the coming 12 months. "These issues have never previously been coordinated at a government level and they require a high level of cooperation with every level of government,'' he said. An early priority of the strategy will be identifying the opportunities of a growing population and how regional areas could be developed. It will also consider the social and economic infrastructure Australia will need in the future, and address the challenges of growth on the environment, water and urban congestion.