[Published in the Canberra Times, 22 Feb 2016.]
Australia’s population just passed 24 million and former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, unusually for a very public figure, reckons we’re growing too fast.
He cites the pressure on the housing market, clogged infrastructure, and the greater difficulty of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. At some point we will exceed the carrying capacity of the continent, and perhaps we already have. Those are all sound reasons, but they tend to be brushed aside by the growth lobby, partly because the numbers are hard to pin down.
But what if we knew that cutting immigration in half would save us $50 billion or more per year? According to some little-noticed papers by development economist Jane O’Sullivan, population growth costs us over $500,000 per person added.