Fw: Sat.26.9.20 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Sat.26.9.20 Metro Twitter
Buses replace trains Newport - Werribee until 8.00 (works).
Buses replace trains on sections of the Upfield line until the last train of Sun 15 Nov (level-crossing works at Coburg and Moreland).
Buses replace trains Ringwood - Lilydale until the last train of Sun 27 Sep (level-crossing works).
Buses replace trains Dandenong - Pakenham from until 7.00 (works).
Buses replace trains Newport - Werribee from 19.00 to 8.00 Sun 27 Sep (works).

Letters to the editor March 7, 2019.
* We deserve better The ACT government should consider the views of Professor Hensher, founding director of Sydney University's Institute of Transport and Logistics, in its planning of Canberra's transport system.
Professor Hensher observed "There's the old adage that buses are boring, trains are sexy. Trains might be more comfortable, but they come at a much higher cost of construction and (there are) a limited number of corridors in which we can justify them (in Sydney)." The Productivity Commission found light rail was not warranted in Canberra and the ACT Auditor-General also found there were major deficiencies in its business case.
Barr, Rattenbury and Fitzharris are now advocating its extension to Woden in the absence of evidence of how it stacks up against alternatives including busways. One would expect a responsible government to intensely scrutinise any light-rail project given the marginality of the Gungahlin to Civic and Newcastle projects and the farce of the Sydney CBD light rail which is expected to open more than a year late and $1 billion over budget. [Hensher is a well-known bus exponent: I wonder if he commutes on one?]

Commonwealth backs State Circle route for light rail stage two March 7, 2019. 67 comments.
The second stage of light rail is increasingly likely to travel from Civic to Woden via State Circle instead of the Parliamentary Triangle, after the findings of a federal inquiry into the project were endorsed by the Coalition government.
The brakes are finally set to come off planning for the next leg of Canberra's light rail, after the Commonwealth tabled its formal response to a federal parliamentary committee report.
It appears less and less likely that the second stage of light rail will travel past Old Parliament House.
The report warned the ACT government's chosen route through Barton would "unavoidably add further complexity, time, and cost to the project".
Instead, the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories said the ACT government should use the routes already laid out in the National Capital Plan for intertown public transport, specifically State Circle.
If the territory still chose to take light rail through Barton and the Parliamentary Triangle, the committee said there should be a more complex approvals process, recognising the national significance of the area.
The federal government agreed or agreed in principle to each of the committee's six recommendations, which also included that designated areas of light rail be wire-free to minimise the visual impact on the parliamentary zone.
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Sussan Ley said the recommendations provided "clarity" for the project going forward.
“Following the tabling of this report, the Australian Government encourages the National Capital Authority and the ACT government to continue working together to ensure that the proposed route for the project is consistent with the National Capital Plan," Ms Ley said.
“Canberra is more than just a city; it is home to some of the nation’s most significant institutions and buildings and is filled with examples of our heritage and national identity. That is why it is so essential that the unique
character of the nation’s capital is preserved for all Australians."
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said: "It’s great to see the Commonwealth Government giving guidance and support to stage two of light rail from Civic to Woden."
"We welcome the Commonwealth’s approach to the heritage of the parliamentary zone, noting that heritage is something the ACT government is determined to maintain and enhance in the area," she said.
"We look forward to working with the Commonwealth government, the National Capital Authority and the Canberra community on the best way to deliver light rail to Woden as soon as possible."
The bipartisan joint standing committee report from October said concluded the National Capital Plan could be considered as "in-principle" approval for light rail routes, and following that would mean the project could be approved faster.
The plan allows for an intertown public transport system along Kings and Commonwealth Avenues and State Circle but not across the Parliamentary Triangle, like the ACT government's preferred route does.
But at the time, Ms Fitzharris said the government would still pursue a route through Barton even though obtaining approvals would be more complex. Her officials said the Barton dogleg had been endorsed overwhelmingly through a public survey and travelled past more cultural institutions and workplaces.
However ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr later said he would not allow "perfect to be the enemy of good" in getting the project approved, opening the door to a "compromise" route using State Circle.
Mr Barr said his government would make a final call once the federal government published its response to the joint standing committee report.
They kept both options alive by preparing Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Referrals for both routes, a requirement for the project to proceed.
But the delay in the federal government response meant they had to postpone much of the planning work. Documents tabled last month in the assembly showed $4.8 million of consultancy work had to be postponed due to the uncertainty around the Commonwealth's reply.
The State Circle option was strongly backed by the ACT Property Council and the Woden Valley Community Council, although the Public Transport Association of Canberra felt the long term benefits of light rail would have been betterrealised with the Barton route.
However, the State Circle route is not without its challenges.
The steep gradient from State Circle to Adelaide Avenue could be a problem, early analysis has shown, and the curvature of the road also makes the placement of stops challenging.
It's also unclear whether the light rail would travel east or west around State Circle on that prospective route.

Melbourne Express, Friday, March 8, 2019.
9.18 There's still heavy traffic coming in from the east because of planned works on several lines, and a left-hand lane closed inbound just before the ring road at Thomastown.
8.13 'Lucky to get a car spot at 5.30'  It sounds like it's fun out there in Melbourne's east.  Express reader Dave usually gets the train from Boronia, but today he went to Glen Waverley to avoid the works. "Everyone else must have had the same idea as I was lucky to get a car spot at 5.30".
7.38 Are you an unlucky train commuter sitting on a bus this morning? Planned works are affecting the Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale lines this long weekend, with buses replacing trains between Burnley and Box Hill stations until the last service on Monday. Is there chaos at your station? Or has everyone jumped in their car to avoid the buses?
5.54 On the trains, there are major delays on the Williamstown line, with some cancellations (an earlier equipment fault near North Melbourne).

Alamein/Belgrave/Lilydale lines: Buses replace trains Burnley - Box Hill until last train of Mon 11 Mar (station 'upgrade' works).  Express buses operate Parliament-Box Hill between 4.45 & 21.55 today.  All citybound Glen Waverley trains will run to Flinders St via the loop between 6.30 and 9.30 [should have been all morning].
- What a joke, nobody even wants to go to Parliament. We want to go to Flinders street or Richmond.
- Poor planning.  No fewer than four ‘replacement’ buses sailed past Glenferrie, leaving at least a 25 minute wait.
- 8.19 I've been on a bus from Camberwell to the city for half an hour, stuck in Riversdale road, make it go direct to city please.
- 8.39 Did you forget to tell the Alamein line passengers that Camberwell station was dug up ?   What’s the point of having the notify app if you don’t use it?  How about notices on the station? Very frustrating when this could have
been avoided easily.
- 8.59 How does one get to East Richmond?
- 9.17 No they’re not looping. Just as trains are pulling into Richmond they’re announcing that trains are now heading straight to Flinders. Very confusing and disorganised.
- Let's hope that everyone takes the bus and not the 109 tram to Box Hill.  Are there extra trams for this afternoon's peak?
- We will be running extra route 109 trams between Elizabeth Street and Box Hill.
- Any particular reason why replacement buses are so out of the way and nowhere near a station? What a waste of time.
- 16.27  More  announcements are needed. Lots  of people are at Burnley wanting express to Box Hill. They should be getting an express from Parliament.
- Express buses do depart from Parliament; we are also running some buses express Burnley - Box Hill.
- Lot's of people just want Glenferrie.  Might be a  good idea to get a standby bus to run just for Glenferrie.
- Give 2 hours travel time.
- How long is the gap for your replacement buses?  I waited for 20 minutes at Burnley station, nothing came.
- Buses should be at least every 10 minutes, are you on a bus yet?
- Why do you think we want to hear that it's women's day over the garbled loudspeaker?
8.32 Pakenham line: Minor delays (a train fault near Narre Warren).
8.32 There's no train coming at Hallam.
- 8.45 now major, but clearing.
- 8.49 Trains are now on the move again, but with major delays.
- Billions of dollars of taxpayer investment; still the issues keep happening.
- Trains should be checked every day; faulty trains should not be used in the first place.  Delays,cancellation,this/that fault,this/that works, All excuses. R they meeting contract? Who keeps them accountable?
- Because of the delay, I will be missing my bus further ahead, and have to walk for at least 2.5 km in order to reach my office, and then too late.  Would Premier Andrews take these dramas every day?  PTV is PUBLIC TRANS VILLAIN.
- Can you really blame Metro for a faulty train. They have zero control over it.  Relax. I'm on it too.
- Of course blame Metro: that is a responsibility which the franchisee carries.  It happens far too often.  Presumably lack of maintenance and checking, to cut costs.
- I can be relaxed more once trains are running without any problems, which have been a daily affair since last December.  After all this running around, I have shed few kilograms, a blessing in disguise.
- Why is the Pakenham line always affected?  Suffering for the last 4-5 years with this.  And no investment on this line.  Worst line by customer survey every year.  Pakenham train line wins on that.
- Write to transport minister Allan; I did.
- stop doing me dirty thx metro.
16.28 Sunbury line: All citybound trains will not stop at Footscray (police).  Passengers at Footscray take trains from pfm 5.  Passengers for Footscray change at North Melbourne for Werribee/Williamstown trains.
- 16.36  What about outbound services? I just got kicked off a train at North Melbourne.
- The issue is new; we are awaiting more information; police have demanded that trains be stopped.
- That’s retarded.
- 16.36 Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Sunshine (police).  20 buses have been requested, and will take over 60 min to arrive. Consider alternatives.  Passengers for Footscray, take Werribee/Laverton'Williamstown trains.
- 20 buses won't cut it.
- 16.57 It's been a hellish week for train travel. I think that I'll just drive to work next week and do my bit to clog up Melbourne's roads.
- 16.58 Is this city bound only? Or both directions?
- both.
- 17.00 20 buses for peak hour. Are you kidding? That's about three trains. You need three times that.
- 17.10 We have just requested more buses (50) as the situation has changed.
- 17.15 Buses to replace trains North Melbourne - Sunshine/Newport/Williamstown.  Please defer travel.  Buses have been requested and will take over 90min to arrive.
- 17.17 Now Werribee and Williamstown are out too, so you need even more buses.
- 17.21 We are putting out calls to all bus companies.
- 17.24 We now have 50 on order and are trying to get more.
- It's a bit of a hot mess here at North Melbourne.  Your staff and PSOs are trying their best, but there aren't enough of them.
- We are sending more staff, hope to be on-site soon.
- Is there a rough estimate on when this will clear?
- 17.24 50 buses have been requested, and will take over 180min to arrive.  [Walking from South Kensington or Showgrounds would have been quicker, but essential crossovers have been removed].
- 17.31 Trains have resumed, with delays of 90 min after police performed safety checks at Footscray.
- 17.32 Crowd-control measures will be in place at loop stations and North Melbourne to ensure safe flow of passengers onto platforms. [the magic word, for all conceivable situations].
- 17.59 Stopping all stations to Sunbury with the train full from the start.
- 18.43 Clearing.

'It's going to be very busy': Peak hour train delays after suspicious object found at Footscray station March 8, 2019 — 6.04pm.
Police conducted a safety check at Footscray Station after an object was located unattended outside the station. Credit: Nine News
Trains have resumed but delays are still expected after the bomb response unit were called to Footscray train station to inspect a suspicious object.
Police conducted safety checks on the object which was found just outside the station about 4.30pm.
The bomb response unit attended the scene and gave the all clear just after 5.30pm, a police spokeswoman said.
Trains have resumed, however the disruption is still expected to cause some peak hour delays.
Metro Trains are estimating delays of an half an hour to 45 minutes.
"It's going to be very busy," a spokesman said.
However, he said the crowding had eased after the incident was resolved.
17.22: Werribee / Williamstown lines: Buses replace trains North Melbourne-Newport. Sunbury line: Buses replace trains North Melbourne-Sunshine due to a safety check at Footscray Station after an object was located unattended just before 4.30pm. 7News
17.38 Masses of people stuck trying to get back on the trains after a reported bomb scare at Footscray station

Sydney's light rail line set for staged opening to passengers March 8, 2019. 241 comments.
Sydney's light rail line is set to be opened in stages with the first trams expected to begin carrying passengers from Randwick to Circular Quay in December, followed by the branch line to Kingsford several months later.
Construction of the Randwick branch of the line is the most advanced part of the multibillion-dollar project, and trams have been running from Moore Park to the end at a High Street terminus for several weeks as part of testing.
However, construction of the other branch of the line along Anzac Parade to Kingsford has been dogged by problems and is further behind.
Light rail vehicles at a stabling yard next to Randwick Racecourse have been undergoing testing.Credit:Louise Kennerley
Transport for NSW confirmed that it was in discussions with the consortium overseeing the project about opening the line from Circular Quay to Randwick in December.
The agency said it believed the entire project – including the branch line to Kingsford – could be completed by March next year.
Transdev, which will operate the trams, has begun recruiting the first of up to 100 drivers. They will begin training by the middle of the year on the 67-metre tram sets, which will have seating for 120 people and standing room for 330.
Noise curtains just over a metre away from the well-known Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills.Credit:Louise Kennerley
Despite the likelihood of a staged opening late this year, contractors have missed deadlines to remove large barriers along the 12-kilometre route by last month.
In Surry Hills, barriers still line much of Devonshire Street, three months after they were slated to be removed.
At the Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills, temporary noise curtains are just over a metre from its front door and barriers are everywhere.
Barriers remain along much of Devonshire Street in Surry Hills more than three months after they were supposed to be removed.Credit:Louise Kennerley
Owner David McGuinness said it had been a tough few years for the cafe and other businesses such as the Book Kitchen, which closed almost two years ago.
"It has definitely had an impact on our business but ... a lot of people have really been hurt a lot worse than us," he said.
"We are definitely looking forward to the barriers coming down in the next few weeks. I just try to keep a positive outlook in that it will have a positive impact in the end."
Barriers also remain along large stretches of the southern end of George Street from Town Hall to Chinatown in the CBD, more than a month after all but "localised barriers" were meant to have been removed. In the east at Kingsford, they still stand along parts of Anzac Parade.
The transport project has been marred for the past three years by repeated delays, legal battles, cost blowouts and prolonged disruption to businesses and residents.
Under the original timeframe, Premier Gladys Berejiklian was meant to be cutting the ribbon on the project this month ahead of the March 23 election.
Related Article With 5m residents each, Melbourne and Sydney need to move more people by train. Our roads and rail may not be as bad as you think. But here's why we could still do better

Light rail likely to go east around Parliament House to get to Woden March 8, 2019. 58 comments.
Light rail will likely use the eastern side of State Circle to get to Woden, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris has said, as she confirmed her once-preferred route via Barton would most probably be ditched in favour of the more direct track.
Cabinet is yet to make a formal decision on dropping the Barton dogleg, however Ms Fitzharris said the government did "now view a more direct route as the most likely route to Woden".
The State Circle option sits between the earlier Capital Circle route and the Barton route. However it is yet to be determined whether the light rail would go east or west around the circle. Credit:Canberra Times
It follows the federal government's endorsement of a parliamentary committee's recommendation that the ACT instead pursue the route already set out in the National Capital Plan for intertown public transport, instead of cutting across the Parliamentary Triangle on the way to Woden.
While Ms Fitzharris initially resisted the recommendation, insisting the government would continue to pursue the Barton route as it had been endorsed by a community survey, she said now the government did not see it as a "viable option".
"At that time the route through Barton came back pretty clearly from a number of stakeholders and the community as the preferred route, but that has clearly changed as the conversation about light rail in the ACT continues," Ms Fitzharris said.
"Our view now is we want to get light rail to Woden built; we’re looking at a range of options for a more direct route and we think that going around the eastern side of Parliament House on State Circle is the more likely route."
Inner South Canberra Community chair Marea Fatseas said the community needed to have more information in order to endorse one route over the other.
"Community engagement on integrated land use and transport is needed before construction of the light rail begins, not at the end as was the case for light rail stage one," Ms Fatseas said.
"For example, does [the government] plan to sell the sporting fields next to the Mint to enable urban intensification along the light rail stage two route? It already plans urban intensification, probably a new suburb, on what is currently the Curtin horse paddocks.
"To enable the community to come to an informed view, we need to know the costs/benefits of these different options."
The government previously said passenger modelling for the Barton route versus the more direct route was comparable, although there were more "places of employment and interest" in Barton.
Ms Fitzharris said the government would seek to have "very early discussions" with an incoming federal government regarding light rail stage two, and lodge an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Referral by mid year.
She said the territory was yet to make a decision about the removal of the near-century old Weston trees on Commonwealth Avenue, as they were still determining whether light rail would travel down the median or on the road for that part of the route.
If the Weston trees had to be cut down though, Ms Fitzharris said they would continue the approach of stage one where "not only did we replace all the trees, but we planted more".
Asked how switching to the direct route would affect passenger numbers, Ms Fitzharris said the start of the first stage of light rail next month would likely encourage people to consider using the system.
She also said the light rail was only one part of an integrated public transport network, which included buses as well as walking and cycling infrastructure.
Asked whether the more direct route would be cheaper, Ms Fitzharris said "not necessarily".
"We’re doing some work on that and obviously it depends on the final route and obviously it also depends on the Commonwealth processes," she said.
"One small concern I have is around works approval processes needing to go to an inquiry.
"For example, what that would mean is every DA needing to go through a parliamentary committee process is not something that’s workable, but I’m confident we can work with the Commonwealth and the National Capital Authority on a workable solution to approval processes when we get to that details stage."
Related Article It appears less and less likely that the second stage of light rail will travel past Old Parliament House.  Commonwealth backs State Circle route for light rail stage two.
Related Article Barr govt likely to axe Barton dogleg of stage two light rail.

Major delays on Sunbury, Werribee and Williamstown lines
Herald Sun March 8, 2019.
Police have deemed a package found at Footscray station non-suspicious and have reopened the station. Picture: 7 News.
Services on the Sunbury, Werribee and Williamstown lines will resume shortly with delays of up to 90 minutes expected.
Police and metro staff will be on crowd control at Southern Cross platforms as hundreds of commuters making their journey home on the affected lines.
Earlier, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said that the station had been shut down as a safety precaution after an object was found unattended about 16.30.

September 26, 2020 As it happened: Jenny Mikakos resigns as Victorian health minister, will leave parliament as state records 12 COVID-19 cases; Australian death toll rises to 870 Roy Ward and Paul Sakkal
* 19.41 summary:
- Victoria has recorded 12 new cases and one death for the 24 hours up to Saturday morning which takes the 14-day rolling average down to 23.6.
- Global COVID-19 deaths could pass two million before a vaccine is available.
- Queensland recorded no new cases on Friday and has only five active cases in the whole state.
- New South Wales officials are concerned about a possible case of community transmission which could reset their count with Queensland and delay re-opening the border between the states.
- Martin Foley was named as the new Health Minister.
- Victoria recorded 12 cases and one death. Premier Andrews said his team would work "into the night" to finalise plans to ease the strict lockdown on Sunday. He warned, however, that the rule changes would not be dramatic.
- Health Minister Mikakos resigned on Saturday morning, informing the Premier of her decision via text message a day after he told the hotel quarantine she was "accountable" for the scheme. Ms Mikakos quit parliament, where she has served since 1999, and said she strongly disagreed with elements of the Mr Andrews' evidence to the inquiry. She was replaced as health minister by Martin Foley, who holds the mental health portfolio among others.
- NSW recorded one new case, a person in hotel quarantine. Queensland recorded three new cases, including two crew members of an international ship who have been transferred to hospital and a person who arrived from overseas and is now in quarantine.
- Western Australia's Health Minister confirmed seven further crew members from the bulk carrier anchored off Port Hedland tested positive for COVID-19.
* 18.13 Lockdown bites: An empty Flinders Lane.CREDIT:GETTY
* 17.06 Seven new COVID cases in Western Australia Kate Hedley. Western Australia's Health Minister has confirmed seven further crew members from the bulk carrier anchored off Port Hedland have tested positive for COVID-19.
Two crew members on board the vessel that was due to dock earlier this week tested positive to COVID-19 late on Wednesday evening.
The vessel remains at anchor off the coast of Port Hedland.CREDIT:VESSELFINDER.COM
On Thursday Mr Cook said there was no reason for people in Port Hedland to be alarmed.
* 13.50 Split emerges over policies to lift population growth Jennifer Duke and Shane Wright. Top economists are split over whether the federal government should intervene to bolster the nation's falling population growth rate as debate swells about policies to attract more migrants when many Australians are unemployed.
Immigration has dropped sharply this year due to restrictions on international arrivals to Australia to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the biggest fall in population growth since World War I.
But Market Economics managing director Stephen Koukoulas, University of Western Australia Professor Jakob Madsen and Newcastle University Professor Bill Mitchell all strongly opposed any moves to encourage population growth in The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age Budget 2020 Scope Survey.
At the same time many others warned the economy would struggle to recover without efforts to increase the migration rate, including University of Melbourne Professor Neville Norman, BIS Oxford Economics' Sarah Hunter, Housing Industry Association chief economist Tim Reardon and a swathe of banking chief economists.
Click here to read the story.
Australia's population growth rate will sink to levels not seen wince WWI.CREDIT:ANDREW DYSON
* 11.24 Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited and spoke at Osborne Naval Shipyard on Saturday.
video: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the commencement of Australia's $45 billion Hunter Class Frigate defence program in Adelaide.
* 9.50 NSW welcomes easing of restrictions. Laura Chung. As of this today those living in NSW will see a slight easing of restrictions that allow up to 20 wedding attendees on the dance floor and more than one parent at their child’s sporting events.
From October 1, theatres will be able to sell tickets for 50 per cent capacity of their venues up to 1000 people and corporate events will be able to host up to 300 people as long as all attendees are seated.
On Thursday, the first flight between Sydney and Adelaide operated, allowing many families to reunite after months apart.
* 7.42 Health authorities have told people to check for symptoms if they travelled on the 907 bus route to/from Mitcham on September 19 between 3-3.30pm or on 23 September between 12-2.30pm.

Split emerges over policies to lift population growth. Jennifer Duke and Shane Wright. September 26, 2020. 34 comments
Top economists are split over whether the federal government should intervene to bolster the nation's falling population growth rate as debate swells about policies to attract more migrants when many Australians are unemployed.
Immigration has dropped sharply this year due to restrictions on international arrivals to Australia to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the biggest fall in population growth since World War I.
Australia's population growth rate will sink to levels not seen wince WWI.CREDIT:ANDREW DYSON
But Market Economics managing director Stephen Koukoulas, University of Western Australia Professor Jakob Madsen and Newcastle University Professor Bill Mitchell all strongly opposed any moves to encourage population growth in The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age Budget 2020 Scope Survey.
At the same time many others warned the economy would struggle to recover without efforts to increase the migration rate, including University of Melbourne Professor Neville Norman, BIS Oxford Economics' Sarah Hunter, Housing Industry Association chief economist Tim Reardon and a swathe of banking chief economists.
Professor Norman warned of a host of issues from fewer people than expected coming to Australia, including a loss of production and economies of scale, skill gaps for employers and a drop in the ratio of taxpayers to those dependent on welfare due to an ageing population.
"These effects will be both immediate and longer term. If this virus goes on for a decade, these effects will be dominant and sustained," he said.
Victoria University's Janine Dixon warned businesses would "experience more difficulty in finding skilled labour". NAB chief economist Alan Oster said it was unlikely there would be a skills shortage in the short term with so many Australians out of work and it was "probably not worth looking at specific population policies until any long lasting impacts are identified".
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the drop in population growth from 1.6 per cent a year to 0.6 per cent, partly due to the collapse in immigration from international travel restrictions, could knock 1 percentage point off annual growth. This would largely be due to 80,000 fewer homes needed and less consumer spending.
"The government should look to reinstate immigration once it's feasible ... but with significant levels of unemployment likely to be sustained for several years the lift to immigration should be gradual," Dr Oliver said.
"The focus should be on boosting ... the living standards of those already in Australia, and this does not require a resurgence in immigration."
Mr Koukoulas said post-pandemic immigration should be at low levels. "Included in those benefits [of less population growth] are a lesser need for expensive infrastructure, reduced pressure on housing and an abatement of congestion."
Prof essor Madsen opposed policies to bolster population growth, saying it would not help per capita income growth, risked elevating house prices and increased the country's carbon footprint.
"[We] should not panic about a stationary population and people need to realise that population growth ... should not be promoted," he said.
But Ms Hunter said the drag on international student enrolments would be detrimental to universities and, more broadly, businesses would see less demand leading to lower capital expenditure.
"It will also mean lower revenues for the government and will force a reassessment of the services and infrastructure needed," she said.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief economist Gareth Aird and St George Bank chief economist Besa Deda both warned about the effects on the housing market and the construction sector. The drop in demand could affect a wide range of industries.
"Retail sales would be weaker than otherwise, as might business formations by migrants with entrepreneurial spirits," Ms Deda said.
Industry Super Australia chief economist Stephen Anthony said the government may see the lower population growth "as an opportunity to rely less on temporary visa migration in future and investment more in current residents in terms of technical training and new apprentices".
Professor Mitchell said slower population growth would allow the government to deal with the housing crisis, gridlocked capital cities and urban infrastructure under strain.
Instead, he said the government should focus on helping the disadvantaged leaving South Asia due to environmental problems.
"I don't buy the argument that we need skilled migration at the same time we starve our training and vocational educational institutions of funding and keep millions of people in more or less permanent unemployment."
However, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre deputy director Rebecca Cassells said Australia was in a position to attract a skilled and diverse workforce in the years ahead.
"Slower population growth will impact on a number of industries and ultimately places downward pressure on consumption and economic growth, as well as constraining innovation," Ms Cassells said.
RELATED ARTICLE Sydney house prices. Housing demand to collapse as population growth falters
RELATED ARTICLE A baby bonus is unlikely to be on the cards this year. 'Baby bonus not back': MPs want childcare and tax benefits instead

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