Successive governments have maintained high immigration levels without a thought to the impact on infrastructure and prosperity and Infrastructure Australia Chief, Philip Davis, warns today that the country needs to “wake ourselves up” and decide what we want our future cities and way of life to look like.
The Australian reports, as Mr Davies' agency embarks on a year-long audit of Australia’s infrastructure needs, he conceded that a generation of civic planning had been dulled by years of uninterrupted economic growth. “I think the planning has been lazy — 26 years of economic growth makes you complacent,’’ he said.
“Somehow, we have got to wake ourselves up as a country and start thinking and planning long term and make sure we leave a legacy for our grandkids that we would be happy with. There isn’t any central command and control...We don’t do any national-level, long-term planning,” he said.
The comments have forced into public view a debate Canberra is generally reluctant to have.
“On the whole, we are responding to growth that has already happened or is happening right now,’’ Mr Davies said. “Where we need to get on the front foot is no one is planning the infrastructure we need in the next 30 years.”
Let’s not forget that in the first Intergenerational Report released in 2002, it was predicted Australia’s population would reach 25 million in 2042. It will reach 25 million this year. That’s a difference of 24 years.
Australia’s swift arrival at a population of 25 million sometime next month is a timely reminder to examine who is coming here, where they are settling and whether current rates of immigration are supported in the community.
If Australia continues to grow at its current rate, fuelled by unchecked immigration — faster than any OECD country other than New Zealand — our population will increase by almost 12 million people by 2046.
By then, Sydney and Melbourne will be cities of more than 7 million people and Perth and Brisbane will be the size Sydney and Melbourne are today.
The reason for this blowout is largely attributable to a sustained period of high rates of immigration.
As long ago as March last year, Senator Bernardi expressed concerns in the Senate about Australia’s high immigration levels.
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