Cities hit by migrant rush

John Masanauskas, October 09, 2007, Herald Sun

LIFE in cities like Melbourne is getting more complicated. Train commuters complain more than ever about crowded carriages. Suburban roads are increasingly clogged with traffic as neighbourhood gives way to high-density housing. The cost of housing is making ownership unreachable for would-be first-home buyers. Water, or lack of it, is on everyone's lips.

Yet a major contributing factor for all of this is rarely mentioned, let alone properly discussed.

This is high immigration, which is currently at levels not seen since the boom intakes of the late 1960s ...

But the Government has presided over a huge increase in total immigration that contradicts any perception that the Coalition is anti-migrant ...

But public support for high migration is in danger of faltering over issues such as urban congestion and community security.

So far, most of the debate has been among special interest groups on the internet.

Anti-immigration activists such as Denis McCormack, once an adviser to former Labor MP Graeme Campbell, is pushing for voters to write "reduce immigration" on their ballot papers at the coming federal election.

Writing online, David Shearman, emeritus professor of medicine at Adelaide University and honorary secretary of the group Doctors for the Environment Australia, has attacked skilled migration.

"We support necessary immigration of refugees, but not immigration that purloins skilled workers from developing countries", he says.

"No one likes to talk about it, in fact it's off the agenda, but population is the final common denominator of climate change."

Monash University demographer Dr Bob Birrell has written extensively on how migration-led population growth threatens Melbourne's "liveability".

Former Labor environment minister Barry Cohen questioned why the debate over climate change did not make the link "between the apocalyptic scenario painted by eminent scientists and the demand for a greatly expanded population".

Cohen says there is a nervousness that any call for a slowdown in population growth "will be interpreted as racism" ...

Immigration may not be a major issue at this election, however, concerns over climate change, water supply and urban congestion will play out in various ways.

Political parties have a responsibility to explain how the increasing population will affect their daily lives now and well into the future.

JOHN MASANAUSKAS is a staff writer who specialises in immigration issues

Whoa, some common sense! I need to lie down, feeling dizzy. Regardless of whether global warming is fact or fiction, I agree that our population should stop growing for environmental reasons: water, liveability, sustainability, pollution, etc.

There are other factors to consider regarding population like: the ethnic mix, defence, the economy, labour shortages, etc. But on environmental grounds, I agree: enough people already!

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