September 04, 2007 | Graham

50 million Australians

That’s the dream of Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.
Premier Beattie appeared at the Brisbane Club today, to declare victory over drought to the Brisbane business community on the basis that the recycled water plant is now working.
So flushed with success was he that, having just patched the water situation, he then proceeded to pitch for a more than doubling of the Australian population to $50 million. The rain’s now falling in Brisbane and it feels like the drought has broken, which might partly explain this enthusiasm.
No mention of where the extra water infrastructure is going to be built. This is a particularly important isse as it’s not so long since his then resources minister, Stephen Robinson, declared that because of climate change rainfall in Queensland is going to decline by 70%. So we’re going to hydrate more than twice the population on 30% of the water that we get now. As one diner at our table remarked – for migrants it will be BYO bottled water.
I guess it means he thinks we can do it all with recycling and desal plants. Just as well his other big pitch was for clean coal technology (which he predicts we will be able to export to the rest of the world). We’re going to need a good source of baseload power, and he ruled out nuclear.

Posted by Graham at 10:57 pm | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Well the climate change can be discounted for a start. There’s no evidence for that statement.
    50 million? That’s for Queensland alone of course. The other states will immediately copy and emulate such a change. Will relieve the population problems in India and China.
    Only trouble is we shall still have governments like Beattie, Iemmema, Brumby etc…

    Comment by Yendis — September 5, 2007 @ 9:45 am

  2. I seem to recall Jim Soorley, when he was Lord Mayor of Brisbane, also arguing for a massive increase in Australia’s and more particularly Brisbane’s population on the grounds that it would produce economies of scale, assisting efforts to build a viable public transport infrastructure and suchlike. Could it be that a larger population would make it more cost-effective to build water infrastructure, etc?

    Comment by Jason Wilson — September 5, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

  3. Fifty million? The man’s delusional. Australia is living off marginal agricultural land as it is and, has no water security for its current population.
    Well, it won’t be NSW Clarence River catchment water which will be fueling any increase in Queensland’s population, no matter what diversion scheme Messrs. Howard and Turnbull might still be privately pushing.

    Comment by Judith M. Melville — September 6, 2007 @ 7:43 am

  4. I agree 100% with Judith Melville, Beattie is just in the game of headline grabbing; he has to be, with such an assine statement. 50Mil indeed, The Gov/Private Sector cannot house the population we have, nor supply the infrastructure; water; essentials? unless we all live like ants & die like ants…Sub-Saharan Africa; Indian Sub continent; China; we have plenty of “Ideal Models” to choose from. Banana Republic anybody?? –

    Comment by Dee Bain — September 9, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

  5. Yep, another miserable politician belly-aching, because “water auctions” for new cotton-growing were knocked back by a teetering Turnbull. This AFTER the Climate Centre had issued its September report describing Southern Australia as remaining in Deep Drought.
    It is a sick dogma, economic rationalism.
    Ecological and economic reality; productivity and sustainability remain subordinate to brainless neoliberal “development at any costs” theology and wide-eyed zealotry ( or is this just plain ol’fashioned greed? ), while the country goes to hell in a handbasket.

    Comment by paul walter — September 16, 2007 @ 2:58 am

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