27 Jun 2010

Australian population policy to be refined

1:56 pm on 27 June 2010

Australia's new prime minister Julia Gillard intends to put the brakes on the government's population policy for the country.

Last year, her predecessor Kevin Rudd said he was in favour of population growth.

The ABC reports the government predicted the population would reach around 36 million by 2050, largely through immigration.

Mr Rudd even appointed a population minister, whose title will now change to minister for sustainable population.

Miss Gillard told Fairfax that "Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population.

"We need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia.

But Ms Gillard said that did not mean putting a stop to immigration all together.

"I don't want business to be held back because they couldn't find the right workers," she said.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin told Channel Ten on Sunday that Australia's population growth has to reflect the country's economic needs.

Ms Gillard replaced Mr Rudd on Thursday after factions within the ALP withdrew their support for him following a fall in support for Labor in the polls.