Do we want a large population?
IN ITS plan for the next 365 days the Tasmanian Government outlines that in the second quarter of 2015 it will finalise its population strategy.
You can find more on this strategy here.
The Government’s target is to increase our state’s population to 650,000 people by 2050.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures (Estimated Resident Population by Single Year of Age, Tasmania) released in September 2014 show that the population for our state was 515,000, which means an increase of 135,000 or about 25%.
In a media release in March, State Growth Minister Matthew Groom said the government was working on a population strategy and would release a discussion paper in the coming weeks that would seek input from experts, local government and the public on the best way to achieve its population target.
However, this fails to address the question about whether population growth is a positive for our state?
Is it best for the people who live here? What kind of impact will it have on the services Tasmanians rely on? Is population growth an end in itself or should we be looking at making our communities more cohesive, supported, healthy and happier?
Some use population growth as a measure of our economy, the latest CommSec report shows that our population growth is the slowest of all states and territories. However, it must be acknowledged what CommSec is – a big business with its eye on profits, not better communities.
On the other hand a larger population builds critical mass and allows of a range of possibilities and opportunities.
The United Nations released its World Happiness Report 2015 last week, which states “What should be the goal of public policy? … What matters is the quality of life, as people themselves experience it.” The report looks at economies a little differently, encouraging a social capital perspective that takes into account cultural, spiritual and relational goods, rather than solely looking at GDP.
There are arguments for both sides of the debate.
One Member put her thoughts in a Mercury letter to the editor, which you can read below (click on image to enlargen).
We’d love to hear what Members think about this issue. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org