AUSTRALIA’S population soared by almost half a million people in the year to March–a boom not seen since the 1960s.
A green group says that’s no cause for celebration and has called for immigration to be cut to protect the environment.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today shows the population increased by just over two per cent–or 439,000 people–in the year to March.
There are now 21.8 million of us.
Most of the recent increase–almost 300,000 people–was due to immigration.
But there’s also a mini-baby boom, with 160,000 babies entering the world during the year.
Recent research showed Australia’s population would balloon to 35 million–seven million more than previously thought–on the strength of immigration and births over the next 40 years.
The Government said the population boom was great news because it meant the economy would keep growing.
But some green groups say enough is enough.
Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Charles Berger said the growing population was on a collision course with the environment.
More people–as outlined in the ABS data–meant more greenhouse pollution, poorer river health and struggling infrastructure.
Every extra million people added 25 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution, Mr Berger said.
He called for migration to be cut to “more sustainable levels”.
“We cannot continue to add the equivalent of a city larger than Canberra every year to Australia’s population and still expect to maintain the health of our environment and our quality of life.”
The ABS data showed Western Australia was leading the population proliferation, while Tasmania lagged in last place.
All states and territories recorded an increase.