By Dr Baljit Singh
Arthur Phillips (1738-1814) came to Australia from England with a small number of men ploughing land for their purpose in the New South Wales State of Australia, and set the founding stone of Australia, on 26th January 1788. Slowly, they moved to other places facilitating socio-economic progress, simultaneously enacting laws and legislation to improve well-being and health. Through natural increases in population and inter-state mobility, they built houses, health centres, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and leisure primary all around Australia, wherever it was feasible. Overseas migration from Europe and Asia built Australia (Australasia). The Chinese migrant community to Australia brought first banana plants with them in 1800 to Carnarvon in Western Australia, and then to North Queensland in the 1870s. It is now a huge industry, producing more than 414,000 tonnes bananas in 2016/17, with a farm gate value of $600 million.
Nevertheless, a large population puts pressure on resources, resulting in lower living standards. Earlier, Australia was a sparsely populated country, but now we see the demands of the population on land. The construction of high-rise buildings and more flyovers are underway, generating employment to construction engineers. A small community turns bigger to reap the fruits of economies of scale, however, leading to infrastructural difficulties as land is limited.
Low population density
Australia is the sixth largest country, but its density is the smallest among other large countries in the world, at three persons per square kilometre. China’s population density is almost five times that of Australia. In contrast, Monaco has the highest density (25,970 people per sq. Km), followed by Macao (20,752).
The area of the place and population, including work opportunities, determine the number of people in a place. Housing policy, migration, as well as political plans, also play a crucial role in determining the number of people living in a place. Industrialization, the location of mineral and energy resources, discovery of new resources, transport network, encourage human settlements. On the other hand, people move out of regions of unemployment, poverty, and crime.
Overseas migration is the main factor in Australia’s population to her developmental objective. In 1901, Australia’s population was four million. Today, as of 31 March 2017, it is 24.5 million. Among the eight states and territories of Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) had the highest population density, at 171 people per sq km, followed by Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW), and Tasmania (TAS). The Northern Territory (NT) has the lowest at just 0.2 people per sq km. The most populous cities are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
Do we need a population policy?
Australia’s population will reach 25 million by 2018, and by 2050, it will be 40 million, and by 2100, it will reach 53 million. The calculation is based on the average growth rate of 1.5 percent over the last seven years since 2010. Melbourne will soon become the most populated city in Australia.
A large concentration of population and the emergence of a nuclear family system have resulted in the influx of cars, which mean more contaminated air to breathe in, due to large-scale motor emission. However, congestion tax, car-pooling and public transport are options. Nevertheless, the population is ageing, and unemployment is high. Without earnings, there is no spending. Education and employment improve the standard of living.
The changing lifestyle
Before the Britsh came to Australia, life for the indigenous Australians was traditional. In modern times, schooling, employment, research, medicine, healthcare, improved water supply, and sanitation, including electricity, transport, and travel have made life much easier. Also, participation in modern social-economic and political activities, for example, sport and television, has given us a new way of life. Unemployment benefits enable families to sustain themselves in times of need, which testify the high living standards and commitment to humanity. Otherwise, socio-economic and health consequences would have been enormous. Childcare benefits, healthcare card, Medicare card, superannuation schemes, and modern medication have made life more comfortable.
A country for all in the making?
The Chinese investors are bringing money from their home countries to build more houses in Australia. The incoming of international students is important; therefore, maintaining ‘societal peace’ in a progressive state like Australia is essential. Population density is a measure of pressure on the land, it is managed through developments in the outskirts, reliving unemployment pressures, and enhancing better living standards in remote parts of the country, where the majority of inhabitants is engaged in farming.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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