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Rudd forgets that population is about the people (and planning)

By Cory Bernardi - posted Thursday, 6 May 2010

“I actually believe in a big Australia. I make no apology for that.”

With those words on Lateline last year, Kevin Rudd signed Australians up for a “big Australia”, without consulting the Australian people or thinking of the consequences for our country’s future.

Like so many other programs and promises, Mr Rudd jumped into the deep end without thinking. Now he’s floundering and gasping for breath.


The 2010 Intergenerational Report indicated that this “big Australia” could reach 35.9 million by 2050.

This was based on a net migration rate of 180,000 a year. But the Rudd Government’s current net migration rate is almost 300,000 a year. At this rate, our population in 2050 will be over 42 million.

So Kevin Rudd has set us on the path to an even bigger “big Australia” thanks to his current policies.

To make matters worse, Kevin Rudd has no plan to provide for future productivity, sustainability and liveability needs.

A “big Australia” is not a dream come true for Australians if it involves declining living standards, overcrowded cities, more traffic jams, more power blackouts, less water, reduced service delivery and a damaged environment.

Our country needs to be able to absorb a growing population and the consequences that come with it. This will require considered, intelligent planning, adequate infrastructure and resources, and a competent Government that is not afraid to make the tough decisions.


The Rudd Government is not such a Government. To date, it has failed to provide adequate infrastructure for our current population.

Some of the population questions that Kevin Rudd needs to (but won’t) answer about population and infrastructure include:

  • How does Kevin Rudd plan to build over 3 new public schools every fortnight for the next 40 years, when he can’t even build a school hall on time and on budget?
  • How does Kevin Rudd plan to provide over 160km of new roads every fortnight for the next 40 years when currently, individual road construction projects can often take years to be completed?
  • How will Kevin Rudd manage to reduce our carbon emissions by 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050, when he wants to increase our population by 60 per cent by 2050?
  • How can Kevin Rudd provide electricity for his “big Australia” of 36 million when his CPRS will seriously compromise the coal-fired power generators that provide most of our electricity?
  • How does Kevin Rudd plan to provide 37.8 billion units of electricity, in addition to what we already consume, for the extra 14 million people in his “big Australia”?
  • How does Kevin Rudd plan to provide enough water for an extra 14 million people – on top of the average consumption of 103,000 litres per person - when millions of Australians continue to live with water restrictions and many areas in Australia are still experiencing crippling drought?
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About the Author

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Families & Community Services and Liberal Senator for South Australia.

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