Finding common ground on a population strategy for Australia must be a priority of the federal government in the current term of parliament, Business Council of Australia President Graham Bradley says.
Achieving a carefully considered approach to population policy will be a major test of the credibility of the government’s longer-term national agenda for a stronger economy and community prosperity, Mr Bradley said.
As the federal government prepares to release a series of papers about Australia’s population, the BCA has developed a framework to help Australians weigh up choices for the future.
Mr Bradley said the BCA’s Framework for the Development of Australia’s Population Strategy offered a step-by-step path for achieving common ground on the nation’s population strategy.
“The BCA has been concerned in recent months to see much of the discussion about population issues taking place at a low, politically charged level,” Mr Bradley said.
“Our consistent position on population is that Australia will benefit from well-planned growth. But we believe the most valuable contribution we can make right now is to encourage well-informed, well-structured national discussion of the different factors Australia needs to take into account.
“This is not about reinforcing our own position – it’s about offering the government and the community a tool to help determine a national position,” he said.
The BCA’s five-step framework guides a process that involves:
- establishing our shared national goals
- laying out the facts behind population growth
- assessing different choices and future scenarios
- agreeing on a strategy most likely to deliver on our goals
- proper implementation, communication and evaluation.
“As the government develops this critical strategy for our future, Australians must have the information they need to consider all the factors that are important for our future prosperity, the liveability and services we expect in our communities, and our nation’s place in a changing world,” Mr Bradley said.
“The BCA’s framework is designed to encourage people to take account of all the relevant factors, and the implications of different choices we might make for higher or lower population growth.
“The reality is that, regardless of which way we go, governments need to plan and invest for changes taking place in the years ahead.
“As the federal minister finalises his discussion paper, we hope the BCA’s framework will be a useful tool in helping Australians reach a common ground position on our population future,” he said.
Download the framework summary or the research paper using the links below.