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Australia's population hits 25 mln
Last Updated: 2018-08-08 07:26 | Xinhua
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Australia's population has hit 25 million mark, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirmed on Tuesday.

The milestone was hit shortly after 11 p.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Tuesday, the ABS said.

"Australia's population has increased more than sixfold since 1901 when it was 3.8 million," Anthony Grubb, Director of Demography at the ABS, said in a media release.

"By 1918 it had grown to 5 million, it had doubled to 10 million by 1959 and reached 20 million in October 2004. It has been just over 2.5 years since we reached 24 million in January 2016."

Migration overtook natural increase as the biggest driver of Australia's population growth in 2005 for the first time since the gold rushes of the 1850s.

According to the ABS, net overseas migration currently accounts for 62 percent of the nation's population growth and natural increase 38 percent.

The growth has sparked calls for the government to cut the number of migrants allowed into Australia each year by half.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed such a dramatic cut but along with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, did reduce the number of migrants to the lowest level in over a decade in 2017.

Caroline Sullivan, a Professor of Environmental Economics from Southern Cross University, said that the solution for Australia's population growth was to further spread the population.

"Australia is the world's sixth largest country by area, yet, according to the UN, we are 53rd in terms of population," she said in a media release on Tuesday.

"With the population of the world continuing to grow exponentially, there is no likelihood of a decrease in human pressure on productive resources, and if Australia is to prosper in a sustainable future, we must recognise that this huge land area will have to provide a home for many more people in the future."

Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge agreed with Sullivan's position, confirming that the government was working to channel more migrants to rural areas.

According to Tudge, 87 percent of the 111,000 people who arrived in Australia on skilled migrant visas in 2017 settled in either Melbourne or Sydney -- Australia's two biggest and fastest-growing cities.

"If the population was distributed more evenly, there would not be the congestion pressures that we have today in Melbourne and Sydney," Tudge said.

"Meanwhile, we have other parts of Australia wanting more people," Tudge said.

ABS data revealed that women made up the majority of the population with 98 males per 100 females compared to 110 males per 100 females in 1901.

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