The Community Action Party recognises that there is deep-seated community concern about the unconstrained and unplanned population growth in the ACT, and the lack of consultation by previous governments on this issue. The Party shares these concerns and will encourage a debate with the community on the type of ACT in which we wish to live.
While the expansion of Canberra has been strongly promoted in the past, it is now time to step back and re-examine the impact of population growth on the ACT community and environment. Having virtually doubled in the last four decades, the ACT population has now surpassed the landmark figure of 400,000. The Government now expects it rise inexorably to 500,000 by 2033 and more than 680,000 by 2062. Poor planning is already having negative effects on the quality of life in the ACT—semi-permanent water restrictions; less affordable housing; rush hour traffic jams; disappearing green space; much longer queues for health services; increased pollution, and declining biodiversity—and future population growth without proper planning will further exacerbate this situation.
The Party will insist that this issue is thoroughly investigated, taking into account long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability, as well as the availability of services and infrastructure. The Party will seek to prevent any development not shown to have genuine community support.
The Party is opposed to the ACT Government's unnecessary, misleading and wasteful 'Canberra: Create Your Future' campaign and supports its immediate termination.
The Party believes that existing ACT infrastructure (housing, transport, energy) and provision of Government services (health, education, social services) must be raised to at least the national average before any further major population growth is promoted.
Quality of Life
The Party believes that the ACT Government should ensure a functional and pleasant environment for its residents, and that population and other policies should contribute to the achievement of this primary objective.
Proposed future development of the ACT will be assessed on its economic and environmental sustainability and the extent to which it builds community cohesion. These factors should take priority over maximising income from land sales.
The Party supports a liveable ACT with an appropriate, community defined balance between high, medium, and low density population areas.
The Party has real concerns that if the quality of life falls below a certain point, people will start to leave the ACT. This would affect the ACT economy and the Government's revenue base and the Party supports measures to avoid this eventuality.
The Party recognises that true economic growth comes from technological and managerial innovation. This can achieve a steady improvement in living conditions without relying on population growth, but unfortunately current government practice finds it easier to capitalise on population growth.
The Party supports improved training for local residents rather than relying on importing skilled workers to fill perceived gaps in the ACT labour market.
The Party will seek to work with neighbouring councils and the NSW government to develop a sustainable model for regional growth and development.