Concern over Australian population growth

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CANBERRA (Xinhua) – Australia’s opposition leader has called for the nation to engage in a mature debate about “appropriate population growth”.

Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Australian Labor Party, on Wednesday told The Guardian that Australia’s major cities are facing an overcrowding “crisis”.

Infrastructure Australia, a government agency, on Tuesday released a report saying that in order to cope with population growth, the government must invest 600 billion Australian dollars (407.8 billion US dollars) in major infrastructure projects over the next 15 years.

Australia’s population is expected to reach 31.4 million by 2034 – a 23.7 percent increase. And it is expected to grow to between 37.4 and 49.2 million people between 2034 and 2066.

“It’s a matter of appropriate population growth,” Albanese said.

A vast majority of that population growth is expected to occur in the nation’s four biggest cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Melbourne and Sydney are expected to have more than 10 million people by the middle of the century.

The population is growing by an average of 450,000 people every year, with approximately 270,000 coming from overseas migration.

“I don’t have a target number, (but) we need to have an assessment about an appropriate number as we develop,” Albanese said.

“Migration levels should go up and down according to what level is necessary to produce the best economic outcome while fulfilling social objectives as well, issues like family reunion.

He said the government seems to be drifting along on these issues without a strategy about the likely implications, like urban congestion.

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