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Demography and politics

The population of Australia was estimated at 22.8 million in February 2012, making it the 51st most populous country in the world. With a settlement pattern dominated by six major cities, Australia is one of the most heavily urbanised countries in the world.

During 2009 and 2010, the Treasury and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) each released projections that showed the population expanding by more than half, to around 36 million in the coming four decades. This implied a slightly slower rate of population growth (1.2 per cent per annum) than was experienced in the previous four decades (1.4 per cent per annum).

Unfortunately, these relatively modest population projections gave rise to an “antigrowth” sentiment, and to concerns about a headlong rush towards a “Big Australia”. It was claimed that 36 million people would be unsustainable, being greater than the country’s “carrying capacity”. These concerns were reinforced by the announcement that the level of net migration had reached 320,000 in the year ending March 2009, a record, and twice the rate of natural increase.

Related identifier: ISBN 0 85801 279 0


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