By Angela Dorizas
As the world nears ‘peak humanity’ there will be greater demand for security within Australia, says leading demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt.
“The world’s population will peak at around about 9 billion in the year 2070,” Salt said at the recent ASIAL Security 2009 conference in Sydney.
“When we reach this peak humanity there will be a scramble for all of these resources.”
However, he said the scramble for resources would occur earlier, most likely between 2025 and 2045.
“The world is going to be a very scary place,” Salt said.
“At that time there will be a demand for food, water, resources, energy and commodities. All of which Australia has to offer.”
He said strength in food and energy production placed Australia in a “very strong position” to trade, but also left the nation vulnerable to the global scramble.
“The bottom line is, we are the only nation on the planet to claim the resources of an entire continent,” Salt said.
“I think increasingly, Australia will be placed under pressure over that period, in terms of [other nations] getting access to the resources that Australia has.”
Australia will be under greater pressure in the 22nd Century, when an increase in life expectancy will bring the global population to 21 billion.
“What will Australia’s role be when the entire continent is claimed by 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 million people in a world of nine billion, let alone a world of 21 billion?”
He said Australia would need to protect its claim over the continent’s resources.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see within 10-years or even sooner a major military installation at the Gorgon Gas Project,” he added.
There will be growing demand for security within metropolitan areas, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne where a shift in ethnic composition is taking place.
“The fastest growing ethnic group on the Australian continent in the first half of this decade are the Chinese, followed by the Indians,” Salt said.
“The Indians prefer Melbourne, the Chinese prefer Sydney. The Asian focus of Australia has gained momentum over the last ten years or so.
“Initially it will lead to conflict and that’s the conflict that you’re now starting to see in cities like Melbourne.”
There will also be greater concern for community safety over the next decade, with retiring baby boomers expected to move into gated communities or install home security systems.
He said Generation X had “jumped on the baby bandwagon” and were producing 50,000 more babies per year than what Australians achieved in the year 2000.
“There will be up to 400,000 extra kids under the age of 10 over the next 10 years compared to the last 10 years,” Salt added.
“This might lead to issues around school security.”
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