Two-child policy scorned

A CALL by business tycoon Dick Smith for Australian families to be limited to two children to curb population growth has been flatly rejected by some of Tweed's community leaders.

The former Australian of the Year told a development conference last week the quota was necessary because the population burden on resources was like “a plague of locusts” and too many children were growing up in apartments unable to “free range” in their own backyards.

However, Mr Smith said the limit should not be forced on parents but achieved “by encouragement”.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest, who says his electorate has the highest population growth in NSW outside the Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong metropolitan at 2.9% a year, rejected the suggestion outright.

“Not at all. I don't think you can limit the number of children households have,” Mr Provest said.

“It would be similar to the one-child limit in China.

“We do at times have a youth problem in the Tweed, but it's a question of providing adequate services and infrastructure.”

Tweed councillor Joan van Lieshout, the mother of four children, objected to Mr Smith's population solution.

“I wouldn't be a supporter of that,” Cr van Lieshout said.

“I don't think we have the right to tell people how many children they should have.

“A lot of people can't have children. The infertility clinics are full.”

Cr van Lieshout said she agreed with comments by Federal shadow treasurer Joe Hockey that Australia's population should be spread across the regions, rather than concentrated in cities like Sydney.

She said the Tweed could set an example of how to accept a higher population without destroying the environment.

“The population needs to be dispersed across the state,” she said. “That wouldn't mean inappropriate development. A higher population doesn't have to have an impact on the environment if we do it right.

“We don't want the Tweed Coast to be blown out like the Gold Coast.”

Tweed mother of four grown-up children and foster carer, Corinne Pennay, who stood as a Christian Democrat candidate in the recent NSW election, was saddened by Mr Smith's comments.

“It's sad we are trying to control people's lives to that extent,” she said.

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