Our Growing Population
When faced with a challenge, it is always useful to look at the big picture.
When asking anybody living in The Hills what concerns them, most will simply answer, ‘traffic and high rise’. Barely a day passes without media reference to Australia’s surging immigration which has more than two hundred thousand people choosing to live here each year. Immigration, which has underpinned our nation since European settlement began, continues to enrich and strengthen us but also brings its challenges. Regrettably, but perhaps understandably, about 80% of immigrants settle in Sydney and Melbourne and only a relatively small number elsewhere.
As part of the tide and drawn by the lifestyle and employment opportunities offered by The Hills, it is estimated that another hundred thousand people will seek to make their home here in the next 15 years. Whilst this number may seem challenging in its implications, it is important to recognize that the Greater Sydney Commission foresees a city population of eight million by 2056 without the endless low rise urban sprawl of other great cities like Tokyo.
Council grapples with this demographic challenge at every meeting and in its daily interactions with residents often railing against traffic congestion, inadequate commuter parking, diminishing block sizes, affordability and the emergence of many high rise apartment blocks. Inevitably, decisions which are always ultimately made in pursuit of the “greater good” test will be unpopular with some but that is simply an outcome of our wonderful democracy working within the demographic environment outlined above.
Residents should take comfort from knowing that their elected representatives, supported by a council team skilled in the profession of urban and rural planning, also live here and share their community’s concerns. The maintenance of a lifestyle which both aspiring and longer term residents expect is uppermost on our minds.
I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to again participate in ensuring that this wonderful part of the city remains so.