A Sustainable Population for SA

A Sustainable Population for SA

We can be better without being bigger 

South Australia, even with its relatively small population, has a disproportionately large ecological footprint. In fact, if everyone in the world were to live like us, we would need more than three planet Earths to provide us with the all the resources we consume and deal with all the waste we produce.

The impact of people on the environment is affected by three basic factors:

  • the number of people;
  • how much we each consume, including our food, travel, clothes, homes and activities; and
  • the technologies we employ.

In South Australia, both the number of people and the per-person consumption are increasing, intensifying our unsustainable impact. Improvements in technology may help reduce our impact, but we also need to stabilise our population and deal with overconsumption and waste.

We need a new approach to prosperity that challenges the underlying assumptions of growth and consumption. Part of reducing our ecological footprint requires reducing the rate of population growth. Unlike the old parties, which are still wedded to population growth as the mainstay of their economic policies, the Greens know we can be better without being bigger.

In the short term, South Australia’s population is still growing and must be accommodated and planned for, with the biggest pressure on Greater Adelaide. This has resulted in urban sprawl, which has destroyed valuable farmland and biodiversity, and put pressure on infrastructure.

Taking action

We don’t need to ignore our international human rights obligations or abandon multiculturalism to create a vibrant and sustainable South Australia. A new Sustainable Population Policy is needed, and will sit over other social, economic and environmental policies. Its objective should be to reduce the State’s ecological footprint.

The Greens will:

  • Aim to stabilise South Australia’s population within a generation.
  • Limit the sprawling borders of Adelaide, protecting our precious near-city farmland and wine regions; and
  • Encourage community gardens, parks and shared open space to maintain quality of life in a higher density environment.