The 2015 Intergenerational Report

Australian Treasury produced the 2015 Intergenerational Report

The 2015 Intergenerational Report was produced by the Australian Treasury

The 2015 Intergenerational Report released this week offers a view of Australia in 2055.

The Federal Treasurer wants his Intergenerational Report projecting Australia in 2055 to begin a conversation with the Australian people. Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says the document is too politicised to be taken seriously. Greens leader Christine Milne says the report is a ridiculous document.(SBS News)

Such divided views suggest that the Report may be worth reading to see what the fuss is about.

Getting older and working longer

An aging demographic profile and its economic consequences have occupied much of the media’s coverage. For example: Intergenerational report: Grey army marches to our rescue, in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Rising numbers of Australians living over 100 has been a topic of media interest.

Population forecasts

2015 Intergenerational Report Box 1.3 (click to enlarge)

Population growth by country (click to enlarge)

The report assumes that Australia’s population will increase by 1.3% per year which is “slightly below” the average growth rate  over the past 40 years (from 1975 to 2015). This assumption leads to a conclusion that by 2055 Australia will have nearly 40 million people.

This is a projected increase of 66% on Australia’s current population of 24 million. If this growth were to be distributed evenly across the country, Redland City’s population would increase from 147,000 (2013) to  245,000 in 2055.

The report explains that:

Net overseas migration has a significant impact on population projections. Net overseas migration is mainly comprised of permanent migration (including skilled and family) and temporary migration (including temporary skilled and students). The central assumption of this report is that net overseas migration will be 215,000 people a year beyond the current forward estimates, which is based on current permanent migration intake settings.

The permanent migration intake, which was increased significantly during the mining boom, is reviewed each year in the context of the budget to reflect evolving economic and social circumstances. Temporary migration (including temporary skilled and students) has also been an important driver of increases in net overseas migration over the past decade. (Executive summary , page vii)

The report does not explain why Australia would continue with current migration intakes in the absence of a mining boom. It does provide a country by country  comparison of population growth rates  which shows that Australia’s growth rate over the past five years has been much higher than most industrialized counties. (Box 1.3 Page 9 – see image above).


Section 1.5 of the 2015 Intergenerational Report is titled “Managing the Environment”. It includes statements like:

Achieving strong economic growth and strong environmental outcomes are complementary objectives. Policies that create strong economic growth and a sustainable budget will mean that government is better placed to invest in environmental protection. More broadly, domestic and international experience shows that as real per capita incomes rise people are more willing not only to devote more resources to environmental improvement, but actually a growing share of their higher incomes. (page 35)

Conversely, protecting the environment can also contribute to economic growth, particularly in certain sectors. For example, an improved environment can boost opportunities for tourism, while appropriate and sustainable management of fisheries can enhance the long-term health of the fishing industry. (page 37)

As Australia’s population grows, careful land management planning and strategies will be required to mitigate the risk of biodiversity loss. Greater links between conservation and protected areas, national parks and private lands could provide corridors through which native flora and fauna can travel in response to changing habitats. (Page 38).

The Report appears to suggest the the current Government’s environmental policies such as a single National Landcare Programme, the Green Army and One Stop Shops for environmental approvals are sufficient to see Australia through the next 40 years.

Climate change

The 2015 Intergenerational Report has very little to say about how climate change issues will impact Australia over the next 40 years. Peter Chistoff says in Climate is an intergenerational issue, but the report ducked it: that the Report:

mainly spends its time reassuring us that current policy is sufficient for the task and that Australia’s emissions targets will be met courtesy of the government’s A$2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. It offers no critical comment about the adequacy of current targets or about additional demands for mitigation or adaptation that might arise in future.

A similar commentary is provided by WWF’s Kellie Caught in Intergenerational Report goes backwards on climate change.

Read it yourself

The Treasurer wants Australians to discuss his 2015 Intergenerational Report over the BBQ

Discuss the Report over a BBQ

Here is a link to the 2015 Intergenerational Report.

Read it for yourself and then you can make a meaningful contribution to the national conversation that Joe Hockey wants us to have at every town hall, every street corner, over every barbecue.

By Redlands2030 – 7 March 2015

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3 thoughts on “The 2015 Intergenerational Report

  1. Nationally, population growth by way of 200 000 immigrants a year is bi-partisan policy. But rarely discussed are the consequences economic growth yes but not necessarily increasing productivity. It allows governments (of all persuasions and all levels) to take their hands off the economic levers and pretend they doing something. It seems to absolves them from solving IGR issues meaningfully. We should be concerned: it is not just about making a bigger pie but making a smarter pie. Check the comparison with Sweden…sobering.

    Kelvin Thomson, Federal Labor Member for Wills, speaks out on lots of the “hard” issues. In this video he refers to his ‘Witches Hat Theory of Government’. He outlines his ideas on the impact and influence of rapid population growth on the electoral cycle, political parties, and leaders in Australia and overseas. It might be that Campbell Newman and even Anna Bligh might, in hindsight, agree with him!!

    Kelvin speaks about the rapid population growth experienced in Queensland (and Victoria) over recent years, and the impact he contends that it had on the recent state election results.

    The real benefits, long term consequences and costs of accelerating population growth should be opened for debate. Economically it seems essential to sustain a national ponzie scheme.

    It is a longer video than most…perhaps good ideas don’t come from 30″ grabs and 3 words.

  2. The Intergenerationl Report not only virtually ignores climate change and its potential significant impacts, but it is based on the mantra that the economy will continue to grow. It cannot grow forever, and it should factor in a transition where the economy moves into a steady state situation. Growth economics is largely based on a Ponsi Scheme, where the true costs are not factored in and the economy is based on ever growing future incomes, which may or may not exist. There needs to be a public debate how the weakness of the growth mantra is exposed. There needs to be modelling on the implications of a low or zero growth economic scenario and what the implications are for current and future generations. Business as usual is a fallacy, as evidenced in Europe. One is lead to believe that the purpose of the Report is for the present government to pursue its present policies, which will only further divide the nation.

  3. Managing the Environment
    By 2055 Redlands will have very little environmental lands left if Redland Council continues down the path they are going. Public land with koala habitat at Toondah given to developers, land in Mt Cotton in Koala coast approved for large Quarry expansion, one Quarry approved to trash right to the boundary of Venmans National Park, lots of wildlife corridors which have been given approval to clear for more development. More houses means Council and Main Roads will clear large tracts of land for major road widening right through Koala Coast and the list goes on.
    Population Forecasts
    Many people in Redlands want to hold onto bushland areas, hold onto the character and identity that people hold dear. The Urbis report says that there is enough land in Redlands to accommodate the expected population increase, there is no need opening up any more land for development.
    Getting older and working longer
    Sadly those that wrote that report probably work in an air conditioned office, ask the bricklayers, plumbers, concretors, landscapers, and many tradesman and labourers what they think about slogging away till they are 70. Ask anyone over 55 who has been retrenched from the State government by Newman how easy it is to get a job????

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