Melbourne protests mass population growth

July 6th, 2008,

On Sunday July 6, 2008, Planning Backlash held an impressive public meeting in Mooney Valley. Speakers included Blue Wedges activist, Jenny Warfe, and Actor Geoffrey Rush (pictured). The meeting focused the imminent threat of two key changes to government powers:

- New residential zones that remove residents’ rights to object to or even know about planning applications, and
- Removal of Councils’ planning powers by the Victorian government.

Jill Quirk, of Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian Branch, described the meeting as "Amazing" ...

Geoffrey Rush launched a new website for Planning Backlash, called Marvellous Melbourne at He spoke movingly of how utterly Melbourne will be transformed over the coming years. He also intelligently and courageously questioned the necessity for the population growth currently being imposed on Victorians, and raised the question of the optimum size for Melbourne.

For his courage, Geoffrey Rush deserves particular historic recognition from Australians. Although it is common for people at to challenge the grotesque premises and impacts of endless growth, a professional actor depends upon the mainstream media to a great degree. He therefore takes enormous risks in speaking out against politics which profit the mainstream media and which it heavily endorses. Indeed, it is largely because the mainstream media endorses undemocratic growth and the governments which provide it, that we have had this growth and its frightening and demoralising effects imposed upon us.
There's a funny Clarke & Dawe video at Marvellous Melbourne.

No commitment to sustainable future by Rudd Gov't (pdf)
Media Release 17 May 2008
Sustainable Population Australia:
“With the announcement by Minister, Chris Evans, that Australia is opening its doors to a massive increase in unskilled migration, the last vestiges of any appearance that the Rudd Government is committed to environmental sustainability or social equity have been swept aside”, said Dr John Coulter, National President of Sustainable Population Australia, today. (SPA).

“The total intake is planned to exceed 300,000, the largest intake since the migration scheme started in 1947 according to Minister Evans.”

Despite having been asked, Dr Coulter said that “Nowhere has the government answered the following questions:

• How does increasing our population by more than a million every three years make our climate change/greenhouse emission problem easier to solve?

• Every city in Australia is water stressed. How does increasing our population by an additional 5% every three years make our urban water problem easier to solve?

• It is doubtful whether in a climate changed, post peak oil world Australia can maintain water supply to its farmers. How does such rapid population growth make it easier to maintain our rivers, soils and food production?

• Australians have one of the highest per capita environmental impacts in the world. An increase in the Australian population has a larger global impact than the addition of a person just about anywhere else in the world. How does the Rudd Government morally justify increasing Australia’s demand on the global environment at the expense of many peoples far less well off?

• Australia has an acute housing shortage. More and more Australians cannot afford the rising price of a house or rent. One of the main drivers of this situation has been clearly identified as our already high immigration intake. How does Kevin Rudd justify making this situation even worse for ‘working families’?

• Australia has approximately 5% unemployment and another 5% of under employment. How does the Rudd Government justify bringing in unskilled workers when there are Australians unemployed and underemployed seeking work?

• There is a rapidly growing global food shortage. Increasing Australia’s population is leading to more and more high quality, well watered, food producing land going under housing and related urban infrastructure. Where is Kevin Rudd’s much advertised Christian morality?

This push for large population increase both by increased immigration and by measures to increase fertility rates lays bear the hollowness of the Rudd Government’s claim to be concerned about the environment and environmental sustainability. It reveals a government saying one thing but, with no understanding of or thought for long term sustainability, relentlessly pursuing a greatly expanded business-as-usual course” concluded Dr Coulter.
I wouldn't know the first thing about climate change, but I believe Australia's environment is already over-stretched and cannot currently take any more growth. Bravo to Geoffrey Rush for breaking the silence on population debate. It might even be standing ovation time. Hey, why not ...

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