Two-child limit a growing issue
A CALL by millionaire businessman Dick Smith for Australian families to be limited to two children has split the Tweed community.
The former Australian of the Year sparked the debate by suggesting a two-child limit be encouraged, not enforced.
His comments coincided with predictions the record growth of the Tweed's population was set to continue for 20 years.
Murwillumbah father of 10 and Christian Outreach Centre pastor Bob Spence, whose 20th grandchild came into the world yesterday, made no apologies for his large family.
“We are not sorry for any of ours. All our kids are successful in life,” Pr Spence said.
“When we get governments trying to control that, we are getting like communist countries.
“I've got a bit of a Christian viewpoint – a Catholic view to be honest.
“God gives life ... but sometimes we have got to use wisdom.
“For some people it is tough.
"We had a tough road with 10, but somehow we survived and not one was unemployed.”
Corinne Pennay, who stood as a Christian Democrat candidate for the seat of Tweed in the state election, criticised the proposal on the weekend and has continued to speak out, warning any such limit could reduce the number of women in the population and interfere with “God's balance”.
Ms Pennay said Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed the average number of babies per woman in Australia was already 1.8 – just below the two requested by Mr Smith.
“I believe in China, where they are only allowed one child, most choose a son.
"So somewhere down the track there will be less women to reproduce with,” she said.
Tweed Shire Greens Party councillor Katie Milne joined the torrent of comments on the Tweed Daily News website, pointing out Mr Smith said he wanted to “encourage this as a goal through education, not mandate”.
Cr Milne later told the Tweed Daily News population was a big issue for Australia and the Tweed.
“The more people we have the more expensive highways we have got to build. It does kind of exponentially blow out,” she said.
Former Greens state election candidate Andrea Vickers said Tweed Shire Council needed to reassess the local growth rate “and ask local people if it's what they really want”.
Ms Vickers said Mr Smith was not talking about controlling people's lives, just about setting sustainable population targets.
“What's important in Tweed is that we set sustainable growth targets, whether it's people moving into the area or being born here,” she said.
“The economy doesn't have to depend on rapid population growth.
“I think most people want their children and grandchildren to grow up in a world that still supports their needs.”