14 May 2024

The Hoot: the ACT's ticking debt bomb, the problems with public housing and who said we want 'Big Canberra'?

| David Murtagh
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This week on The Hoot, David Murtagh is joined by Assembly reporter Claire Fenwicke to discuss the growing debt in the ACT (are we that far off being Victoria?), the myriad failures in public housing, and one of the reasons the Barr Government is so keen on light rail is that we are projected to have a population of 780,000 in 2060. A question for you: is this what we want in Canberra? And if so, can we still be the ‘Bush Capital’?

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HiddenDragon9:00 pm 11 May 24

Very apt to have the issues of public debt and rapid population growth covered in the same discussion – because there is a real connection, not just a coincidence, between the two.

The simple fact is that Canberra, like much of the rest of the country, has a adopted (whether by design, or accident, or a mixture of the two) an economic model which amounts to a Ponzi/pyramid scheme based on pumped-up population growth which does not generate sufficient real wealth to pay for the public infrastructure and services which the swiftly growing population demands.

This might have something to do with the fact that so many of the imported workers are being absorbed into a bloated, over-priced, and largely domestically-focused services sector, including a burgeoning publicly-funded/subsidised care sector, where productivity growth is elusive, at best.

Similar things are happening in other countries, most notably Canada, where some econocrats have recently summoned-up the integrity and intestinal fortitude to begin a public debate about being caught in a “population trap” –


Some media coverage here –



If only our muzzled, group-thinking econocrats could be so forthright about the herd of elephants in the room, instead of waffling on about “shifting the dial” with the usual tired wish-list of decades-old reform recipes and new ways of taxing wealth, rather than increasing it.

Most people are too frightened of having pompous woke know-it-alls jumping on them for saying anything and calling them racist. So they pretend and go along with the madness. It’s called the Abilene paradox.

Stephen Saunders5:04 pm 11 May 24

It’s easy to manage population, Proth, especially for an island nation in the far south seas. Historically, Australia’s net migration has averaged a mere 80K. During COVID, when we closed the borders, it fell below, minus 80K.

Crazy Labor has pushed it to 500K, against the wishes of voters, which has created our worst-ever rental and homeless crisis. That’s where the nonsense lies.

Continuing the rubbish, Stephen Saunders? “Historically” Australia had a much smaller population. Do you disagree that the current rate of immigration by population is the lowest it has been since 2000, is currently in decline, and is lower than it has been for most of the last 74 years?

This concept of we can stop growth of population by choice is nonsense. If we do not provide or build accomodation then all we do is increase the price of rent or housing – can you explain how we seal off our borders to prevent growth. This is a very NIMBY idea.

This is an odd comment, our population growth is not due to boat people arrivals its a government policy of high immigration which is used to hide the recession.

Proth57, immigration intake is set by government policy. The government can set those levels as they choose. Surely you would know that. So what is it that you see as “nonsense”?

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