South Australia must reinforce and update its population targets and continue to plan urban growth accordingly, or suffer the consequences of poor planning and genteel decline, the Property Council says.
In its submission to the Environment, Resources and Development Committee Inquiry into South Australia’s population strategy, the Property Council of Australia (SA Division) has argued that the state does have the planning structures in place to facilitate sustainable urban development needed to accommodate economic and population growth.
“The critical issue is not about population numbers but how we manage the growth we have and prepare for growth we expect to occur,” says SA Division Executive Director Nathan Paine
“It is not about population number, it is about planning for growth in a sustainable and strategic manner, something that we have not done for almost 40 years.
“South Australia is now very much on that path. The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, supported by the Housing and Employment Land Supply Program, clearly sets out how Greater Adelaide will grow as our population grows.”
The need for good planning has become all the more critical following figures showing that South Australia’s population is likely to reach 2 million sooner than previously expected, sometime around 2030 on current growth rates. Further, the Property Council argues, there are demographic realities that South Australia cannot escape, meaning the 2 million population figure is neither arbitrary nor negotiable.
“The focus on population numbers is a distraction from the key population growth issue - planning for population growth,” Mr Paine said.
“The issue isn’t whether 500,000 or a million people will move to Adelaide, the key is having strategic plans and infrastructure investment in place that ensure we can provide the housing in a strategic and sustainable manner, close to public transport, employment centres and amenities.”
The South Australian Parliamentary inquiry closes on the back of the recent release of a discussion paper on a national population strategy by Minister for Population Tony Burke. According to Nathan Paine, the ongoing prominence and increasing politicisation of the population issue demands a robust but honest debate on growth.
“Many critics miss the point about population growth,” Mr Paine said.
“The best a State Government can do to attract more people is to provide a strong economy that presents work and investment opportunities, affordable housing that presents lifestyle choices and a vibrant community that appeals to individual desires.
“People will move for employment, housing choice and the promise of an exciting lifestyle; for too long, we have grown as a state without such plans, resulting in inefficient allocation of resources and development by stealth unsupported by infrastructure investment.
“This inevitably leads to negative outcomes for the greater community, and it is time that this changed.”
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