Back in January I wrote about my disappointing time at the helm of the Australian Smart Communities Association. Since then all the Annual Reports have been taken down from the ASCA website. This happened only days after I’d asked for a copy of the latest report, having noticed that it had not been posted on the website along with all the others.
When I inquired about the return of these reports I was informed that they had been removed as part of a major website upgrade. While I couldn’t quite understand the logic of the argument (no other changes have been made to the site) I nevertheless accepted it and repeated my request for a copy of the latest Annual Report. Despite numerous subsequent requests I still have not received one.
As Christopher Pyne has pointed out, “We don’t need to put a handbrake on population growth, we need to manage our population growth sensibly in a country which quite frankly can take a lot more than 25 million people”. Pyne comes from Adelaide, of course, where the state government says it would like to see a lot more people living.
We do need to think carefully about how we make our cities more liveable and more sustainable however, and we need to question whether so many people should be crammed into already congested capital cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
As Christopher Pyne recently pointed out, Australia has roughly the same land mass as the United States yet a fraction of the population. Despite accommodating 300-plus million people only a handful of American cities are anywhere near the size of Sydney or Melbourne.
Government agencies all argue immigration creates economic growth. So it’s not about how many of us there are, it’s about where we all live.
In The Fifth Estate’s report on the conference, it said: “By 2053, about 89 per cent of all Australians are expected to live in capital cities. As more and more people enter these cities, residents are becoming increasingly concerned with impacts on liveability”.
One of the solutions proposed was to build more public transport systems within cities, and specifically in the case of Sydney to continue the current trend for building new metros.