13-May-2004 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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AUSTRALIA: HAVE BABIES AS SERVICE TO COUNTRY

Canberra, Australia, May. 13 (LifesiteNews.com/CWN) - Australian Treasurer Peter Costello announced new tax incentives on Wednesday to encourage families to have more children. "If you can have children, it is a good thing to do," Costello said, "one for your husband and one for your wife and one for the country."

The annual budget speech addressed Australia's population crisis -- with a replacement rate of only 1.75, the country is headed for financial calamity. The forecast is the result of The Business Council of Australia's position paper that revealed that Australia's population must grow by 10 million -- from 20 million now, to 30 million by 2050 -- to maintain a strong economy. That forecast translates to a necessary 1.25 percent growth in population. For the population to simply replace itself, each woman must have "2.1" children, the replacement rate.

The new tax package for families includes increased subsidized child-care, cash disbursements of A$1,200 per child, and a A$3,000 lump sum for every baby born. Costello urged couples having children to make up for those "not even replicating themselves."

"The impact of aging of the population means the 'dependency' ratio in Australia will double from six people of working age for every retiree in 1990 to just three working age people per retiree by 2028," the Business Council paper stated. "The consequences will have an enduring impact on the way we live and work and profound implications for spending on health and social welfare." Costello said that having two children per family simply wouldn't "fix the aging demographic." At the conclusion of the press conference, Costello told journalists: "Go home and do your patriotic duty tonight."

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