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Australian Population Growth or European Decline

Australian Population Growth or European Decline

Europe shows the alternative to growth is decline. A shrinking population and inflated expectations are a damaging mix. WITH Australians about to go to the polls, the topic that is emerging to shape the election campaign is population growth. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has made it made it her priority to move forward towards a smaller Australia, while Tony Abbott has pledged “real action” on border protection….

….Growth, whether it is economic growth or population growth, has almost become a swearword in the political domain. It now needs to be qualified by the adjective “sustainable”, or no politician will subscribe to it….

…After one of the longest periods of growth in Australia’s recent history, Australians have obviously forgotten that there is only one thing that’s more unpleasant than dealing with the side-effects of growth. It’s dealing with the side-effects of decline. In order to remind ourselves about this, we should look at Europe….

…A shrinking population would be a challenge in itself, but in Europe’s case the problems are multiplied by rapidly improving life expectancy. Although arguably today’s older generations are far healthier and generally more active than previous generations, it is nevertheless true that older populations mean relatively fewer taxpayers, more pensioners and more people in need of health care.

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