Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Have your say on a sustainable population strategy for Australia - issues report released

Media release
16 December 2010

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke today released the Sustainable Population Strategy Issues Paper and called for all Australians to have their say about Australia's changing population.

The paper distils the major issues identified in reports prepared by the three independent Sustainable Population Strategy Advisory Panels established by the Minister in July. The reports focus on demographic change and liveability, productivity and prosperity, and sustainable development.

Minister Burke thanked the panel chairs - Professor Graeme Hugo, Ms Heather Ridout, and the Hon Bob Carr - and members for the valuable contribution they have made to the national dialogue.

"Changes in Australia's population will affect us all, in our work, in our communities and in our built and natural environments," said Minister Burke.

"The key to understanding policy for a sustainable Australia begins with the principle of regional difference.

Looking at the pressures on different communities around Australia, from Penrith to the Pilbara, demands a much more detailed conversation than dealing with arbitrary targets.

"The issue of a sustainable population goes to the quality of life enjoyed by all Australians. It goes to the quality of the air we breathe, the green spaces we share and how much sunshine is left at the end of the day after a long commute."

The release of the Government's Issues Paper is an important part of the broader community discussion in which all Australians are encouraged to contribute their views on how to manage our changing population.

This will help to inform the Government as it develops Australia's first Sustainable Population Strategy, which is to be released next year.

"Population change presents important challenges and opportunities across portfolios and all levels of government - at the national, state and local levels. But it is a debate that involves all Australians.

"We all have a responsibility to consider the impacts of a changing population on Australia for today and into the future.

"The objective of a Sustainable Population Strategy will be to ensure that future changes in Australia's population are compatible with the sustainability of our economy, environment and communities.

"The ultimate goal of the Sustainable Population Strategy is to improve the wellbeing of current and future generations through more effective recognition and management of the impacts of population changes.

The issues paper as well as details of the public consultation process and the formal submission process, are available from the department's website: