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Solving the ‘population problem’ through policy

Liz Allen writes in The Conversation (27.2.19) that population growth in Australia is a problem mainly because of the lack of a coherent national policy to manage it, suggesting that the focus needs to be on maintaining quality of life through sustainable growth.

‘Australia has a problem with population. It’s a problem with the potential to result in enormous chaos, risking the nation’s economic well-being. And this problem is moving like an overcrowded Sydney train, careering out of control towards inevitable carnage.

‘Much of this population problem is of our own making: past demographic successes and policy and funding complacency have created a ticking time bomb. Politicians have struggled to manage the population problem, but no longer have the luxury of looking away.

‘With the dial on public sentiment set to outrage, fuelling a population problem far removed from reality, it’s time for a reasoned consideration of the population policy needs of Australia.

‘An effective population policy would focus on quality of life, from the cradle to the grave. Numerous policy domains feature: education and training, health care, housing, employment, the environment, and many more.’

Settling migrants in regional areas will need more than a visa to succeed

John van Kooy and Rebecca Wickes write in The Conversation (1.4.19) that e⁠n⁠c⁠o⁠u⁠r⁠a⁠g⁠i⁠n⁠g⁠ ⁠m⁠i⁠g⁠r⁠a⁠n⁠t⁠s⁠ ⁠t⁠o⁠ ⁠m⁠o⁠v⁠e⁠ ⁠t⁠o⁠ regional areas could be a ‘win-win’ scenario,⁠ as long as policymakers pay attention to five key factors.

‘Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced two new regional visas as part of a national population plan. The Skilled Employer Sponsored and Skilled Work regional visas require workers to live outside major cities for three years before they can apply for permanent residency. Morrison said the new visas would benefit communities “looking for more people to come and settle in their districts, to fill jobs, inject more life into their towns, and shore up the important education and health services for the future”.

‘However, newly released statistics on regional population growth in Australia in 2017-18 show current growth is heavily concentrated in the capitals. People clearly prefer to settle in these cities. So how can migration to the less favoured regional centres be made to work?

‘Research by the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre and Welcoming Cities has examined the benefits and risks of regional migrant settlement. We identify five key factors — four essential and one desirable — that will make regional settlement successful.’

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