Include LG in growth management and planning: Treasury

Local government needs to be involved in decision-making about services, infrastructure, and population growth management, the Federal Treasury says.

The 2021 Intergenerational Report released by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this week points to a decline in Australia’s population growth triggered by Covid-19 border closures, but projects the population will continue growing faster than most other developed countries and reach 38.8 million in 2060-61.

The economic and social pressures and capacity constraints that result from an inward flow of migrants need to be managed carefully, the report says.

“Sustainable migration provides greater certainty for governments, businesses and individuals to plan for the future.

“[But] higher migration rates bring forward higher demand for services, natural resources, urban land, and infrastructure, which may be in limited supply and vary significantly based on region.

“This requires transparency, consistent decision-making and careful planning by all levels of government,” it says.

“The National Population and Planning Framework, agreed by the Australian Government, state, and local governments in 2020, provides a mechanism to pursue these population planning goals.”

“Governments at all levels need to ensure that planning and infrastructure provision keep pace with current and future migration rates and ensure that migrants have access to essential services – such  as public transport, support services and housing – and can meaningfully integrate into society.”

The report says migration should be kept at or below the capacity of the destination city or region to absorb new migrants, considering impacts on incumbent populations.  

It also touches on the impacts of climate change on the economy and the budget – and says that further investments in skills, infrastructure, and digital transformation will be required to boost productivity.