Australia’s population officially reached 23 million on 23 April; a milestone that was generally reported positively. The population is small compared to many other countries (as is pointed out with tedious regularity), but Australia does not have a great amount of habitable land, so most of the population tends to live along the coastline, and much of that is clumped into the major cities.
Melbourne is, unfortunately, leading the nation’s population growth, and the negative effects of this are ever increasing: chronic traffic congestion (is it a coincidence that road rage is on the increase?), increased housing prices, inappropriate high-density developments in suburbs, pressure on health care, public transport and other services … the list goes on. Little if anything about this manic growth is for the better. From my perspective – I live in a suburb of Melbourne – quality of life is definitely deteriorating and the stress from this is continual. The State Government makes nebulous promises about improving infrastructure, but at the same time they cut funding.
Much of that infrastructure seems to only involve building more environmentally-destructive roads – an example being this brief report from my local newspaper (also online):
Plants face chop
ENDANGERED vegetation will be removed to make way for the new Dingley bypass, despite objections from green groups.
Greater Dandenong Council has given VicRoads the go-ahead to rip out a large old tree and vegetation, classified as “of very high conservation significance”, from the 0.19ha swampy woodland in the Westall Rd reserve.
Four environmental groups have slammed the unadvertised proposal. They say an overpass should be built to protect them.
Engineering services director Bruce Rendall said the proposal was not advertised because no third party would suffer.
It is similar to the Westerfield heritage woodlands being bulldozed through in 2010 (see 10/7/2010, 24/10/2010 entries) for the Frankston bypass. Native bushland continues to be razed for so-called “progress” and one feels so powerless and frustrated that it can’t be stopped. The Australian Aborigines lived here for 40,000 years or more, but in all that vast span of time they never did as much damage as did the arrival of European settlers in the last 200 years. The estimated population of Aborigines before settlement/invasion was around a million or so – something the fragile landscape here could cope with.
Some recent letters: