Plans to massively boost Australia’s population are a bad idea and must be stopped, entrepreneur Dick Smith says. ‘The Federal Government favours a “big Australia” and wants to increase the country’s headcount from 22 million to 35 million by 2050, largely by immigration. But Mr Smith said this was ridiculous.

“We need to do something about this incredible increase,” he said at an Australian of the Year dinner in Parliament House today. “No one is allowed to talk about it … I am.”

Mr Smith said Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. It was crazy that seawater was being desalinated for drinking water to supply a booming population. “I believe in 100 years time people in Australia will be starving to death.”

The intake of skilled migrants should be slashed and women should be discouraged from having more than two babies, Mr Smith said. He believes nine out of 10 Australians do not want a population boom. Mr Smith is working on a documentary on the issue.

The Government wants to increase the population because it means more young taxpayers to pay the rising health and pension costs of the ageing population. But a recent poll showed most people did not like that plan and some green groups have voiced concerns about the environmental costs.

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