NSW announces population review

The New South Wales Government has appointed an expert panel to oversee the state’s first ever population review.

“It is increasingly frustrating that as the largest and most successful State in Australia, NSW doesn’t have a seat at the table at a national level when it comes to policies impacting population,” Premier Gladys Berejklian said.

Ms Berejklian said that the current rate of population growth is placing unsustainable pressure on the state’s infrastructure, and that more must be done to maintain sustainable growth.

The Premier renewed her call for net overseas migration levels for a return to the Howard-era rates of 45,000 a year, until a population policy is put in place.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented infrastructure boom in NSW with more than $87 billion being invested in new roads, transport, schools and hospitals over the next four years alone,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“But it is clear that despite that record infrastructure pipeline, Sydney and NSW are still playing catch up. This review will allow NSW to take a strategic approach to planning around population.”

The members of the expert panel, which will provide advice to the Premier within two months, are:

  • Jim Betts, CEO, Infrastructure NSW;

  • Peter Shergold, Chancellor, University of Western Sydney, former Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, NSW Refugee Resettlement Co-Ordinator; and

  • Carolyn McNally, Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment.

The Panel will consider:

  • The current rate of population growth and infrastructure pipeline;

  • How long is needed for infrastructure to catch up with population growth rates;

  • NSW’s role at upcoming discussions with the Commonwealth regarding population; and will

  • Recommend next steps for more detailed work on the issue of population.

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