RENOWNED scientist and author Tim Flannery has fired a broadside at the State Government's push to attract more migrants to South Australia.
And he said the water crisis made any government's policy of increasing population unsustainable.
He questioned why the Government was bringing professional migrants to the state instead of training SA's unemployed to fill skilled-job vacancies.
"Why is it you would want to bring in more people when there are chronic unemployment problems in parts of Adelaide which must be addressed – (especially) in the northern suburbs towards Elizabeth?" said Prof Flannery, the 2007 Australian of the Year and former SA Museum director.
"In my view there should be more emphasis on helping those who are already there in the state than just bringing more people in."
Prof Flannery, who is principal research scientist at the Australian Museum in Sydney, said the policy of "aggressive population recruitment" had already been tried and failed.
He said the pockets of chronic unemployment – sometimes stretching across three generations – were created by bringing in people to fill jobs in a manufacturing industry which had proved unsustainable, as shown by the closure of the Mitsubishi car plant this month.
"I think South Australians should ask themselves whether that (migration policy) is the right model for the future," he said.
I don't always agree with Tim Flannery. Some of his views on global warming seem overly alarmist to me. Nonetheless, he stands as one environmentalist who is consistent in his views: he believes that human populations are harming the environment and therefore he opposes a rapid increase in the population via mass immigration. He stands too as one member of the elite who thinks in terms of the local population rather than seeking salvation elsewhere.