Australia will grow rapidly in the next 30 to 40 years and correct measures must be taken to ensure the nation can handle the population increase, writes Jamie McIntyre.
By 2050 Australia’s population could reach 40 million people – up from 23 million today. Sydney and Melbourne cannot accommodate them all; Sydney with 4.4 million people is already overcrowded and bursting at the seams.
As one of the most urbanised countries on the planet at 89%, Australia has enjoyed many great benefits, however high urbanisation is one of the reasons we have such high housing costs; a major issue that must be addressed to lower the costs of living.
So how do we negate the impact of urbanisation?
Let’s think rural Australia. Much of our future population could easily migrate to rural areas, where the cost of housing is cheaper and the quality of living sometimes much better.
Two key things must occur before city residents relocate to the country. The key to making this regional population boom a reality is high speed broadband and high speed trains.
A fast train network from Melbourne to Sydney, via Canberra and then Newcastle to Brisbane via the Gold Coast (eventually extended to Townsville) would enable many Australians to live in regional cities and actually commute to major cities or major regional cities for work.
With travel times of less than 60 minutes from Canberra to Sydney, or similarly Sydney to Newcastle, Bendigo to Melbourne or Geelong to Melbourne (in under 35 minutes) and only 22 minutes from Gold Coast to Brisbane, the proximity of larger regional cities to major cities makes commuting possible.
Other regional cities would also become closely connected. The upside is that shortening travel times from many smaller regional cities and towns to larger areas would assist the migration process.
Combined with high speed broadband, many more could run their global market businesses and still live in regional cities and towns.
Although costly, the fast train network is a vital piece of infrastructure that needs to be built. It would cost $100 billion approximately to build a fast train network from Melbourne to Brisbane, however studies have shown it can be cash positive and a very good return on investment, even before the entire section is complete. And as a start, connecting some cities can be done sooner for less.
If we outsourced such infrastructure it could be built for a fraction of current estimated costs and save taxpayers billions. This would also lead to job creation in regional areas due to the increased population. It would also address the exorbitant high cost of living, which no major party has policy ideas to address…
Excerpted from an article originally published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. If you are a subscriber to Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine, you will receive this article in your Nov/Dec 2013 issue of TGR. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.