11am AEDT, 25 Mar

Australian Science Media Centre

MEDIA ALERT: Population plus: What can Australia sustain?

NATIONAL MEDIA BRIEFING – Thu 25 March 10am (11am AEDT) in Brisbane (Also available online)

Embargoed to 11am AEDT on Thu 25 March

Population growth is touted by many experts as the number one issue in Australia, the linchpin to many other issues such as water resources, energy consumption, an ageing workforce, greenhouse gas targets and economic growth. With Australia predicted to reach 35 million by 2050, how can we ensure that the economic benefits of this growth are not negated by excessive urban sprawl, strained infrastructure, environmental destruction and ultimately a lifestyle none of us would want?

With the Australian Bureau of Statistics due to release their latest quarterly population estimates this week and Anna Bligh calling an extraordinary public meeting on growth management in just over a week, the Australian Science Media Centre has decided to hold a national briefing in Brisbane to highlight what the evidence can tell us about population growth projections and impacts.

Come and hear some of Australia’s key experts in the areas of demographics, ecology and economics confront the dilemmas that face us.

The briefing will discuss the following issues:

Ø Southeast Queensland is often considered the canary in the coalmine on many population issues. Prof Martin Bell from the University of Queensland will release a report on the issues and options for the future in this rapidly growing part of Australia.

Ø 35 million by 2050 is a common projection for Australia’s growth but is this realistic based on current data analysis?

Ø Is 35 million people sustainable for Australia and how can we ensure adequate energy, water, health, housing and a healthy environment as people concentrate in coastal areas?

Ø While the economic and social benefits of strong population growth are a focus for economists, the pitfalls of growth for the environment and sustainable resource use are of great concern to ecologists. Can these competing demands ever be reconciled? What will it take to reach consensus?


· Professor Graeme Hugo, ARC Australian Professorial Fellow and Director, National Centre for Social Applications of GIS, University of Adelaide

· Professor Martin Bell, Director, Queensland Centre for Population Research, University of Queensland

· Dr Graham Turner, Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems


DATE: Thursday 25 March 2010

START TIME: 10am in Brisbane (11am Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

DURATION: Approx 60 min

VENUE: Don Curruthers eXchange Meeting Room, Dorothy Hill Library (Building 50, Level 5), University of Queensland, St Lucia (click here http://www.library.uq.edu.au/pse/vtour/where.html for a map)

PHONE CONTACT ON THE DAY: 0424 676 136 OR 0405 232 790 (during the event you can also try calling the AusSMC office on 08 7120 8666) PARKING: Some parking is available. Please notify us in advance.

JOINING ONLINE: Journalists not able to attend can follow the briefing online via audio and video streaming. Each presenter will speak for approximately 7 minutes followed by questions. Online journalists will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

1. Go to the briefing web portal by clicking https://aussmcus.webex.com/aussmcus/onstage/g.php?d=826762563&t=a here 5 minutes before the start time or anytime during the briefing. Alternatively go to www.aussmc.org and follow the links.

2. Enter your name and email address

3. Click “Join”.

(System requirements: You will need a broadband connection and speakers/headphones to hear the event. Allow 1-2 mins for your computer to be configured correctly, install ActiveX, if asked)

*Note* some Fairfax journalists may not be able to access the online system due to a firewall issue. Please contact us to arrange phone access. Radio stations can also record the briefing over a phone line. If you would like to make sure that you can connect, please contact us to arrange a quick test before the day.

If you have any problems joining the briefing online, phone Webex on 1800 12 92 78 quoting access code 826 762 563.

Audio files will be posted on our website at www.aussmc.org as soon as possible after the event.

For further information before the event, please contact the AusSMC on 08 7120 8666 or email info@aussmc.org. For interview requests or queries on the day phone Nigel Kerby (0405 232 790).

Issued: 23 March 2010

Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)

Street address: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, ADELAIDE SA 5000

Postal address: PO Box 237, RUNDLE MALL SA 5000

Ph: (08) 7120 8666 | Fax: (08) 8231 7333 | info@aussmc.org | http://www.aussmc.org www.aussmc.org

The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, non-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise. The national centre is advised by a Science Advisory Panel and governed by a Board of Management. It is supported by a wide variety of sectors with each contribution capped at 10% of total running costs. Foundation sponsors are the ABC, APN News & Media, Cochlear Foundation Ltd, CSIRO, the Govt of SA, Innovative Research Universities Australia, Macquarie Bank, Media Monitors, News Ltd, New South Wales Govt, Orica Ltd, Queensland Govt, ResMed Inc, the Royal Institution of Australia, the State Govt of Victoria, Network Ten and the University of Melbourne. Gold Sponsors are ATSE, Cisco Systems Inc., CSL Ltd, IBM Australia, Johnson Winter & Slattery, Shell Australia Ltd and the University of Adelaide. Supporters include AMTA, FASTS, Microsoft, Powerhouse Museum and Flinders University.

Disclaimer: Please note that any views expressed are the personal opinions of the experts named. They do not represent the views of the AusSMC or any other organisation unless specifically stated. The AusSMC attempts to provide a range of views from the scientific community.

The AusSMC can help journalists find an expert on a topical area of science. For more details, contact us. If you do not wish to receive further emails from the AusSMC, please reply with “Unsubscribe” in the Subject.

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