Although it receives little explicit attention, population policy is extremely important. The size and age structure of the population critically influence policies for education, housing, transport, health care, energy and water supply. Australia has a much higher rate of population growth than most affluent countries, promoted by decision-makers who believe it provides economic benefits. While an increasing population grows the economy overall, there is contention about the per capita benefit. One consequence of rapid growth is a serious problem of providing the expanding infrastructure needs of Australian cities, leading to social stresses and declining support for large-scale migration. The short-term economic appeal of rapid growth is producing serious social and environmental issues for the future.
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