17 November, 2011

Lets Get the Facts Right

Recently we have been bombarded with articles in the media by Bernard Salt covering a range of issues about planning and population growth. Bernard Salt is often(almost always) described as a demographer or Australia's leading demographer. In a recent item in the Weekly Review, he said Melbourne needs New York style higher density because our population could double to 8 million and he has long argued that the retirement of our baby boomers about to exit the workforce will place pressure on our future tax base and our ability to cope with the aging society. The so called "Aging Population " is a scare tactic which is constantly being used by the growth lobby to argue the case for increased migration to bolster our workforce.
Well, lets get the facts straight, Salt is not a demographerhe is a partner at KPMG, a large accounting firm, and advises the big end of town on business issues. More accurately he could be described as a social commentator. He has now abandoned his baby boomer theories because he got his calculations wrong and he has retracted his position (sort of). In reality Bernard Salt could be described as a lobbyist for the business sector including the development, building and construction industry.
Residents in Boroondara may remember that Bernard Salt was used by our council to argue for its very flawed Activity Centres proposals. He was intoduced as a demographer at the "summit" and made some very silly comments about widows in their large cream brick veneers moving out to make room for families as a way of coping with the increasing population.
So far, because real demographers do not comment upon what a populist like Bernard Salt writes, he has flown under the radar and recieved little crirticism. To the contrary, he has received much adulation from business groups and the Australian newspaper.
We thought is was about time to balance the ledger.

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