Business calls on policy makers to urgently start planning for longer-term growth

24 Jul 2018 |

A more holistic approach to long-term infrastructure planning is required to address concerns regarding Australia’s population growth, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

The Australian Chamber welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s call today to improve the way governments plan for growth.

Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said addressing the issue of accommodating population growth goes well beyond simply building more infrastructure.

”The problems current policies have caused are well known and include:

  • Congestion in schools, on roads, on public transport, recreation areas and other amenities.
  • An ever-growing mountain of money thrown simply to offset problems of congestion. This is money we could otherwise be spending on genuine nation-building infrastructure, not simply playing catch-up and offsetting congestion.
  • The growing housing affordability crisis – especially in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Housing affordability problems, in turn, lead to higher household debt as families take on ever larger loans to buy-in. It’s also led to a narrow and divisive tax debate and calls to restrict negative gearing and capital gains tax.
  • Calls to cut immigration and restrict population growth.

“Our population is highly concentrated and on current Australian Bureau of Statistics projections, Sydney and Melbourne could each have a population around 8 million by 2050 and over 10 million each by 2075,” Mr Pearson said.

“These problems are avoidable if policy makers take a broader approach to growing Australia and are smarter in how we distribute the population.

“As good starting point, the Australian Chamber would encourage policy makers to provide faster links between our largest cities (Greater Sydney and Melbourne) and other cities in close proximity – the satellite cities.

“The idea that we can’t afford to do this is a cop out – the reality is we cannot afford not to.

“We need to plan for our prosperity and we need to be smarter about it.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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