The recent Federal election saw the Sustainable Australia Party (ignored by the mainstream) field candidates and shortly before polling day at a local level the ACT Government announced 4550 residential dwelling sites would be released in 2016-17.
What these two events have in common is increasing community concern about population growth and continuing political failure to recognise this trend, far less act upon it.
Governments always need money and in the ACT means of raising this doss are limited to taxes (including levies) and land sales. The latter method conveniently dovetails with providing employment for lots of people from developers to tradesmen and the local whingers directly affected can be ignored for the apparent common good.
This contempt is no longer tolerated. People are objecting to pleasant pockets of land being sold off for profit and governments are being reminded they also are responsible for providing quality of life standards for the rate-paying community.
These standards include health services that don’t involve long waits, schools that are not overcrowded, housing beyond financial reach and roads and public transport that are not clogged.
All these problems come back to too many people using these facilities.
More government investment in infrastructure and paid for by increased and unpopular selective taxes should solve the crisis, but for how long if we allow unrestricted population growth?
And if more people means more demand for services and therefore jobs – a favourite claim for large scale migration – who ultimately pays? If migrants and refugees lack qualifications they may end up on welfare, which is to nobody’s benefit because the financial burden of keeping them falls upon others.
Although they constantly harp about it, is it government’s responsibility to provide jobs? In our capitalist society if you wish to start a business you are free to do so but it is not the government’s task to provide you with either employees or customers.
And do governments really provide jobs? The inference always suggests “new” jobs, however most large companies have their own workforce and sub-contractors – few new jobs there. Any new jobs probably are well out in the mulga.
Governments not only fail to recognise the problems of untrammelled population growth they encourage it with generous family benefits and concessions, adding to the public pressures mentioned earlier. Stopping such assistance after two children would be a start because there is no reason why the taxpayer should fund your personal choice of family size.
Some of the new dwelling sites proposed by the ACT Government are redevelopments of inner city high-rise and their replacements can only be anticipated in style rather than in height. The resulting population surge will add to the congestion already apparent into and out of our CBD and magnify parking problems.
At all levels of government population growth and its lifestyle consequences for communities are ignored. However as some recent events in Canberra have shown (Manuka Oval, Red Hill, Dickson, Yarralumla) the natives are increasingly restless at the threats posed.