Rudd establishes Australia’s first Population ministry

By Angela Dorizas

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced over the weekend Australia's first ministry for population growth, appointing Tony Burke as the nation’s first Minister for Population.

Mr Burke has been assigned the task of developing Australia’s first comprehensive Population Strategy, while retaining his current portfolio of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Population Strategy will consider the social and economic infrastructure required to support a growing population, including the roads, housing and service delivery network.

“These issues have never previously been coordinated at a Government level and they require a high level of cooperation with every level of government,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd said the strategy will consider, as an early priority, the impact of population growth on the economy and the further development of Australia’s regional towns and communities.

It will also address impacts of population growth on the environment, water and urban congestion, he added.

“Many Australians have legitimate concerns about the sustainability of the population levels in different parts of the country,” Mr Rudd said.

“Particularly its impact on urban congestion, its impact on the adequacy of infrastructure, its impact on the adequacy of housing supply, its impact on government services, its impact also on water and agriculture and on our regions.”

Development of the Population Strategy is expected to take 12 months.

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