The Australian Electoral Commission’s announcement that South Australia will lose a representative at the next federal election highlights the need for a responsible and sustainable population growth strategy for SA.
The LGA advocated for a population strategy in its 2017/18 State Budget submission, and is keen to work as a partner in government and part of the solution to address the issue of stagnant population growth in SA.
LGA President Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said this issue was a particular concern for regional councils.
“As the closest government to communities, we know many of our regional areas are desperate for more skilled workers, and more families, to ensure their future economic prosperity and community wellbeing,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“The loss of a South Australian voice on the national stage is a huge disappointment that should serve as a wake up call.”
“It’s not just symbolic of SA falling behind its neighbours in population growth – it also means that our federal parliamentarians will have a reduced capacity to represent and advance the interests of South Australian communities.”
While South Australia will lose one seat in the Federal House of Representatives at the next election, Victoria and the ACT will both gain a seat.
Mayor Rosenberg said more than 93 per cent of Australia’s population growth comes from Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
“We’re not proposing an immediate and unlimited influx of new residents, but we do want to see a plan – in consultation with councils and stakeholders – to grow our population in a responsible and sustainable way,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“This plan should address population growth and decline in and between regions (including the metropolitan region); impacts of an ageing population on revenues and service delivery; labour force and skills; migration policy; maintaining and enhancing liveability for communities; demands on infrastructure provision: and impacts on climate change.”
“It’s clear that lack of population growth is holding our State back, and we need to work together to reverse this trend and ensure the future viability of South Australia’s regions.”