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Big Australia

The Challenge

Big Australia, reported by ABC Four Corner's Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson

"The numbers tell the story. Australia's population is growing fast. Across the country, we've added almost 400,000 people in the last year alone. The populations of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth have expanded by nearly three million extra people in the last 10 years. And we're feeling the strain.

Australia has been trying to manage the pain of population growth for decades. We've become a wealthier and healthier country. Better educated with more opportunity than the generations before. Its our challenge to do the same for this next generation. If that's going to happen - we need to talk about it now.

At MindHive, we agree with Four Corners, that we need to have a managed conversation of what is needed and what we need to do to support the population of the future.

We're interested in our Hiver's thoughts and opinions on two key questions raised in tonight's program:

  • What sort of place do we want to live in?
  • What are we determined to hang onto and what are we prepared to give up?"

 

Challenge Opened: 11:23 AM, Monday 12 March 2018
Challenge Closes: 10:00 AM, Thursday 22 March 2018
Time to go: Closed

 

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The context

Big Australia, reported by Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th March at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th March at 1.00pm and Wednesday 14th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEDT, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

"You just can't go exponentially like that and not expect there not to be some sort of consequences." Bernard Salt, The Demographics Group

Australians living in our big cities are experiencing crippling commute times, over-crowded public transport, school shortages and an under supply of affordable housing.

"It's not a choice, it's forced on people. I don't think that's wonderful for our future." Dick Smith, businessman

And our population is set to get even bigger. There'll be almost 40 million of us by the middle of the century.

It's time for the nation to have a conversation about how big Australia is going to grow.

"It might be an uncomfortable conversation but it's necessary. In order for Australia to be the country we want it to be." Dr Liz Allen, demographer

On Monday night Four Corners investigates what a "Big Australia" will mean and the difficult choices that will have to be made.

"Do you have fences and turnstiles? Do you start to ration access? That's the sort of dystopia that we can see coming at us through the mist." Bob Carr, Former Foreign Minister and Former Premier of NSW.

We look at the projected rise of Australia's megacities - where some will double their current size - and ask who is planning for this?

"We've got huge changes coming... we're looking at things like infrastructure needs, education needs, health needs. These are huge issues that Australia is facing as our population grows." Innes Willox, Chief Exec, Australian Industry Group.

We investigate how we got to this point and interrogate why Australia has no national population policy.

"We've done an abysmal job. You know, there has been really no serious integrated debate around all the key factors that population growth brings to our economy and our national way of life." Innes Willox

Some are now saying we should pull down the shutters and dramatically reduce the number of migrants arriving in Australia or risk our envied way of life.

"I see disaster for the way of life that we loved in Australia." Dick Smith

Others point out that we're facing a tsunami of older Australians, who will not have people to care for them.

"The oldest baby boomer is about 68, 69. We're going to need more than 24,000 (aged care workers) every five years. We're going to need 50,000. It's not the sort of job that can be digitally disrupted." Bernard Salt, The Demographics Group

 

Challenge Opened: 11:23 AM, Monday 12 March 2018
Challenge Closes: 10:00 AM, Thursday 22 March 2018
Time to go: Closed

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Meet the Panel

Robert Humphries Director
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Glenda Caselli Manager (Corridor Management)
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Ross Lentell GM / CEO
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Lewe Atkinson Global Partner
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Bob Dick
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Lindley Edwards Group CEO
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Galina Williams Senior Lecturer in Economics
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Elissa Doxey Strategy & Management Consultant
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Timothy Flor Policy Analyst
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Gaith Bader Manager Online Services
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Tim Klapdor Online Learning Technology Leader
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Thought Leader

Rosemary Kennedy Associate Professor
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roxane shadbolt General Manager, strategic Programs, DMP
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Peter Grimbeek Statistics & Methods Counsellor
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Mark Wallace Regional Technical Director - Economics, Australia Asia Pacific
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Jason Schoolmeester Deputy Coordinator-General, Office of Major Projects, Infrastructure and Investment
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Robert Humphries Director
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Glenda Caselli Manager (Corridor Management)
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Ross Lentell GM / CEO
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Kaerlin McCormick Consultant
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Lewe Atkinson Global Partner
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Miranda Mortlock Dr
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Bob Dick
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Lindley Edwards Group CEO
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Steven Clark Lecturer
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Galina Williams Senior Lecturer in Economics
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Morrie Goodz Principal
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Corey Allen Inspector
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Lesley van Schoubroeck Independent public policy tragic
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Elissa Doxey Strategy & Management Consultant
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Timothy Flor Policy Analyst
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Tom Orren
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Martin Deering Executive Officer
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Mark Cantor Retired Engineer & Health Consumer Representative
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Fiona Margetts Manager (Policy Services)
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Judy Szekeres Consultant
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Gaith Bader Manager Online Services
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Jan Horton
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Kathleen Donohoe Director
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Tim Klapdor Online Learning Technology Leader
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Jesse Arrowsmith Snr Project Manager
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Timothy London Head of Product and Design, MindHive
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Rosie Odsey
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David Parsons Managing Director
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Megan Baker Communications Officer
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David Alexander
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Documents associated with this Challenge

File name File type Date uploaded Size (KB)
Four Scenarios for U.S. Population Growth.pdf
.pdf
3/14/2018 167
Australia_Population_Map.png
.png
3/15/2018 84
RMIT_Melbourne_at_8_Million_Matching_Land_Supply_to_Dwelling_Demand1.pdf
.pdf
3/15/2018 8,910
 

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