Poll: Australia doesn’t need more people

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Associate Prof Nicholas Biddle. Photo: ANU

MORE than two thirds of Australians don’t think Australia needs more people, according to an Australian National University poll (ANUPoll) conducted in late 2018.

Now the Australian population is more than 25 million the poll asked: “Do you think Australia needs more people?”

In response only 30.4 per cent answered “yes”, which, according to ANU is a decline of about 15 per cent since a very similar question was asked in an ANUPoll conducted in 2010.

Lead researcher associate Prof Nicholas Biddle said the reasons most commonly given for not increasing Australia’s population were crowded cities, the cost of housing and support for training Australians rather than importing skilled people from overseas.

“Nearly nine out of 10 people nominated the cost of housing being too high as a reason for not increasing Australia’s population, while 84 per cent of people said that cities are too crowded and there is too much traffic,” he said.

“People also expressed concerns about the impact of population growth on the environment”

The reason for not supporting population growth with the lowest level of agreement was “we have too much cultural diversity already”.

“Indeed, there were more people who said that ‘having more people means more cultural diversity’ was a reason for increasing Australia’s population than those who listed too much cultural diversity as a reason against population growth.

“The policy and social context will always influence Australians’ views on population growth. Most people are now supportive of cultural diversity as a by-product of population growth.

On the other hand, geopolitics, defence and population pressures overseas are less likely to factor into someone’s decision than they might have in the past.

“Australians are more likely to support population growth if it increases our skills base, mitigates the impacts of an ageing population and increase our economic prosperity.

“But they do not want population growth to cause crowding, affordability or job security issues, nor at the expense of our natural environment.”

The ANUPoll surveyed 2167 Australians between November 19 and December 3, 2018.

The full report and data is published on the ANU website. 

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