Dick Smith AGM Presentation
Endless Growth or Endless Greed
If the current level of population growth continues, it is reasonable to expect that Australia will have a population of 100 million within 50 years. Sydney’s population alone is projected to be nearly 9 million by 2056.
As printed in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 2017 Bernie Fraser, the former head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, stated ‘that Australia is approaching a “danger point” where the gap between rich and poor becomes so vast it could have “awful” far-reaching consequences at every level of Australian society.’ Following on from this quote, Dick highlighted that an increasing population tends to benefit the wealthy moreso than other groups.
So far Australia has been a country where our wealth was shared across our population, unlike the USA. But this is now changing where the top 1% of Australians own more than the bottom 70%.
In fact, progressively over the past 5 years the Australian GDP (Gross Domestic Product), meaning income, per capita is reducing. This is not the figure that is publicised, only the total figure hits the headlines, supported by our high population increases that allow the per capita figure to remain hidden. Other countries, such as Canada, measure GDP and growth on a more informed per capita basis. This is what we should do as well.
The biggest failure of government, both Federal and State, is that everyone is avoiding the need for a Population Policy. This is about making sure that our population continues to have the resources to provide jobs, education, health and support…not just for a few but for us all. Growing too fast and without any reasonable Population Policy as to how we manage to allow all our citizens a good standard of living is part of sensible Government. It is not anti-immigration or racist. It is about a sensible limit.
Australia currently takes in 200,000 migrants a year. That is one Jumbo jet of people every single day coming over full and leaving, apparently, empty. Australia’s immigration number as a percent of population is currently the highest in the world by a long way.
What can we do? Number one we need a Population Policy that limits the number of immigrants per year. This should also address our need to continue with a sensible refugee intake and temporary visa migrants. We need a better measurement of GDP as a per capita measure to ensure we start to close the extreme disparity between the rich and the poor. NSW Government must get serious about a decentralisation strategy to ensure revitalisation of our ‘dying’ towns by adding jobs, health and education infrastructure. It is all too easy to rely on growing Sydney with no limits, feeding an extreme capitalism agenda, to the detriment of its residents and liveability in both Sydney and regional towns.
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