Lately, it has become apparent that there is a problem with the population in Australia. It is a problem that could potentially cause chaos and endanger the economy of the country. If nothing is done on this matter, it could spiral out of control. The only ones to blame for this are ourselves – we’ve had policies and funding in the past that created the issue. Politicians ignored the problem for a long time, but now they will have to find a way to manage Australia’s population.
The population policy in Australia needs to be reconsidered, but carefully, to avoid upsetting the general public. A new strategy needs to be effective, which means it should focus on the quality of life of citizens, from birth to senior years. The policy will have to cover different aspects of life, like health care, housing, employment, education, environment and many more.
What is the problem with Australia’s population?
Average life expectancy in Australia is among the longest on Earth. The investments in child immunisations and medical technology have paid off. Women now have access to birth control, enabling families all over Australia to decide how much children they want to have. The traditional roles in the family have changed, which has enabled women to be able to do more than before, but gender equality is still far from ideal.
However, all the good population policies have shifted the demography of the country. Australians are living longer and longer, without being replaced through births. According to recent reports, by 2050 around 23 per cent of all Australian population will be older people. Regardless, the ageing of society is not necessarily a bad thing, but the challenges that come with it must be turned into opportunities.
The problem here is that there is no balance between people who pay income taxes and those who are not in the workforce anymore. The government will have to decide how and where to divide funds, so we will have a situation where funding of education of young people will be cut to spend more on senior healthcare.
Immigration provided necessary additions to the workforce while making it possible for Australia to be home to many different cultures and nations. While opening borders to high-quality workers that the country needs, it is just a short-term solution for problems that are going to be here for a long time.
The growth of Australia
When compared to other OECD countries, Australia has higher growth than most. The factors are economic development, population size and age structure. However, the rate of growth is part of public discourse for a while, and it has sparked some actions that are not going to bring wanted results. A good example is cutting immigration, even though experts were against it.
From June 2017 to June 2018, Australia’s population has grown by 1.6 per cent. In numbers, that’s 153,800 children born and 236,700 people that came from overseas migration. Population growth is something that Australian governments try to ignore. The problem is also where the immigrants settle – they choose the biggest cities in Australia, like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. This fact opens up another question – is the infrastructure in our cities good enough?
Policies that could help with population problems
At the moment, one of the priorities of Australia’s government is a population policy. While nobody likes population policies, it is necessary to solve the current population issue, so that the country can continue moving forward. Furthermore, this policy shouldn’t be only about growth, but also about healthcare, education, transport, employment and the environment. Also, it would be important that the policy is made by determining future goals and defining milestones so that we’re able to track our progress. Experts believe that there is no need to set a growth target and that we should reconsider increasing immigration.
The policy must be created with people in mind
Solving Australia’s population problem must start by moving away from talking about growth as a problem, but more like an opportunity for the country to grow. Everyone can have a specific role, and if the government starts working on enabling every Australian to have better opportunities in life, the problem would be solved. Furthermore, the country should find ways to invest in people, helping them to live better and happier lives.
Quality of life is essential for all Australian citizens, no matter whether they like immigration or not. Politicians have to come up with practices that are not going to divide the people, but instead, engage the public with ideas that could unite them. We, as a country, need to create new opportunities for an ageing population.
In the meantime, the government needs to think about the future with an ever-growing population, even if the immigration were to be stopped. This involves a lot of planning and securing funding on time. Many communities across Australia need investments in their infrastructure.
The idea to send migrants out of the cities and punish them if they move will not solve the problem. Migrants tend to move to cities because there are just more opportunities there. One future goal for Australia should be to have strong cities, but this means planning and investing in housing, transportation, employment and education. Furthermore, improving infrastructure in regional areas might prove to be a good idea, because it will make them more interesting to locals and migrants.