Australia should strike balance between population and sustainability: PM

12:56, June 27, 2010      

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Australia has to strike the right balance between population and sustainability, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Sunday.

The new prime minister said her approach is different from former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's view on the issue, adding that sustainability should be at the center of Australia's future growth.

"I don't believe in a big Australia," Gillard told Network Nine on Sunday.

"Kevin Rudd indicated that he had a view about a big Australia. I'm indicating a different approach. I think we want an Australia that is sustainable.

"We should pause, we should take a breath, we should just get this right."

Australia should not simply hurtle down the track to a population of 36 or 40 million, Gillard said.

If you speak to the people of western Sydney, western Melbourne or the Gold Coast, they would agree, the prime minister said.

But there are also some parts of the country facing skills shortages crying out for more people.

"We've got to get the balance right," Gillard said.

"We'll still have an approach about getting the migration settings right, about meeting our needs for skilled labor."

But a strong focus on training Australian people would remain.

Water and soil are important considerations as the nation's population grows, as is planning for transport, roads and infrastructure, Gillard said.

Population Minister Tony Burke would now be the minister for sustainable population.

Source: Xinhua


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