New ABS figures show immigration driving population growth
June 30, 2010 4:38PM
A “BIG Australia” will still transpire unless the Federal Government changes its policies along with its leader, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released today updated information on the nation's population.
Australia increased by 433,000 people to 22.2 million in the year ending December 31, 2009 – a two per cent rise from December 2008.
The rate of growth was faster than at any other time in the past several decades, mainly driven by net overseas migration, which made up 64 per cent of growth in the three years to December 2009.
Net overseas migration is the net gain of migrants, less the number departing.
The report also made population projections, which it said were not predictions or forecasts, but data showing what would happen to the population under different sets of assumptions.
Using the highest set of assumptions – net overseas migration of 220,000 and the highest fertility rate and life expectancy – the population would be more than 40 million in 2051.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has signalled a shift away from her predecessor Kevin Rudd's support for a “Big Australia” by changing the title of the population portfolio to “sustainable population”.
But Mr Morrison pointed out that in the three financial years to 2008/09, net overseas migration had averaged 270,000 – more than the 220,000 used in the highest projection.
“To change the future path of population growth in Australia and avert the impact on the quality of life we enjoy, Julia Gillard needs to do more than change the letterhead on a minister's desk, she must change Labor's policies,” he said.
“This is just another example of where Julia Gillard is all talk and no change on these important issues.”
Ms Gillard should tell the Australian people what changes she will make to immigration policy before the federal election, Mr Morrison said.
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