Australian population growth will put pressure on public health

23 February, 2016

Population growth is placing pressure on Australia's public health. Our capacity to sustain and manage the environment and resources are fundamental for a healthy population according to Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) CEO Michael Moore.

Australia's population reached 24 million at 12:50am AEDT on 16 February 2016 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announcement.

"As a nation, we are not prepared for the impacts for our health and wellbeing that continued population growth brings," says Moore.

According to the ABS’ population projection Australia is expected to reach 25 million in 2018 and 50 million by 2089.

"It will only take 66 years for Australia to double its population, that’s not even the life expectancy of one person. How can we keep up with the growing, ageing population if these statistics are not considered from a health perspective?" says Moore.

The Australian Academy of Science stated twenty years ago that the quality of all aspects of our children's lives will be maximised if the population of Australia by the mid-21st Century is kept to the low, stable end of the achievable range, i.e. to approximately 23 million.

"This is a message we have failed to heed. We are now approaching, if not passed, Australia’s environmentally sustainable limits," said Dr Peter Tait, Convenor of Ecology and Environment Special Interest Group PHAA.

"Despite the size, Australia’s land mass does not have the resources to sustain a huge population. We are already struggling with the impact of climate change on our already ecologically challenged landscape as industry continues to degrade it," Dr Tait added.

"The recent cuts to the CSIRO’s Ocean and Atmosphere and Land and Water Divisions are shocking when looking at the population growth statistics. The government needs to consider the impacts on the environment and resources. Our government must promote and lead a genuine national conversation to map out how we can manage an Australian population to live within our ecological means."

"We need to maintain a healthy and safe Australia and to consider the pressures a rising population can put on our environment and resources. We need to be prepared for the future and help future generations," concluded Dr Tait.