Population

  • Complex policy issue
  • Sustainability

Environmental impact is not determined by population numbers alone, but by the way that people live.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. The current level of population, population growth and the way we consume are outstripping environmental capacity. Australia must contribute to achieving a globally sustainable population and encourage and support other nations to do the same.
  2. Our environmental impact and ecological footprint is not determined by population numbers alone, but by a range of factors including per capita consumption patterns and levels, distribution of resources, agricultural practices for domestic consumption and export, levels and types of industrial activity, urban design and transport options.
  3. Australia's population policy should be determined by its commitment to:
    1. ecological sustainability;
    2. global and domestic social justice and equity, including women's rights;
    3. intergenerational equity;
    4. multiculturalism;
    5. international human rights obligations; and
    6. decent wages and conditions for all workers.
  4. Population policy should not be primarily driven by economic goals or to counter the effects of an ageing population.
  5. An Australian population policy must consider the geographical distribution of human settlements rather than just concentrate upon population size at the national level.
  6. Australia has an obligation to accept humanitarian migration including that resulting from climate change.
  7. The continuing rapid increase in the human population has the potential to adversely affect national or international outcomes in environmental sustainability, human health and welfare, and other areas. Current rates of resource use are not sustainable and are compounded by inequitable distribution of wealth and power.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. A reduction in Australia's use of finite natural resources to a level that is sustainable and socially just.
  2. Human settlements which are:
    1. designed and built to minimise environmental harm and maximise social well-being;
    2. located in areas where their ecological impact is minimised.
  3. Full implementation by Australia of the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, including:
    1. increasing our contribution to programs that empower women and increase their access to a wide range of safe family planning options;
    2. increasing our overseas aid budget to 0.7% of GNI;
    3. ensuring that overseas aid to the world's poorest, which often include women, is focussed on clean water and sanitation, education and high quality accessible health services, including sexual and reproductive health services;
    4. community debate about population, acknowledging that there are complex issues involved in population policy, including:
      • limits to unsustainable growth and resource use;
      • the survival of other species and ecosystems;
      • women's rights and especially education and access to family planning;
      • unsustainable resource use; and
      • inequitable distribution of wealth and power.
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