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Government must reject departmental advice on population policy



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Senator John Coulter NT3VVS Australian Democrats Leader R E L E A S E

19 November, 1992 PR 9 2 / 6 2 6

GOVERNMENT MUST REJECT DEPARTMENTAL ADVICE ON POPULATION POLICY

The Federal Government must reject departmental advice and endorse the recommendations of the National Population Council (NPC), according to the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator John Coulter.

It was revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that a senior official within the Dept of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Mr Vincent McMahon, has advised that all the key recommendations of the NPC report be rejected. One of these is that the Government develop a national population policy.

"Mr Hawke set up the National Population Council with much fanfare at the First National Immigration Outlook Conference two years ago" said Senator Coulter. "The NPC was a reputable body with representation from a wide range of professions. It took many submissions and deliberated for months.

"And now one bureaucrat has the gall to recommend against all the NPC's key findings.

"It is not good enough for Mr McMahon to argue that population policies are being addressed through immigration policy. Immigration now constitutes less than half the annual increase in population in this country.

"Immigration policy does not address broader issues such as distribution of population/the effect of populations on our natural systems, the limits to population growth, the social effects of rapid population growth as experienced in some parts

of Australia through internal migration, and so on.

"One of the key recommendations of the NPC was that we take a precautionary approach, and yet our population grows at a quarter million a year, or at 1.46 per cent, much higher than the OECD average.

"We must remember that the Federal Government has failed to act as yet on the recommendations of the Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Working Groups. Are we to believe that it has cynically set up the NPC and ESD process as a sop to environmentalists, without having any intention of acting on their findings?" concluded Senator Coulter.

Further information: John Coulter 08.388 2153 Jennifer Goldie 06.277 3645

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