Former premier warns population boom may lead to turnstiles at Australian beaches

We could see fences and turnstiles at some of Australia's most famous beaches unless migration intake is controlled, a former NSW premier has warned.

Former NSW premier Bob Carr told ABC TV's Four Corners program the consequences of not tightening migration could mean restricting access to recreational spaces by erecting fences and turnstiles around Sydney's beaches.

"When you contemplate the eastern suburbs of Sydney, access to the beaches, which is a natural space, recreational space, what do you do?" Mr Carr told the ABC.

"Do you have fences and turnstiles? When the population around Bondi, for example, reaches the sort of intensified level that means the roads are choked most days in summer, do you start to ration access to the coastal walking trails along the coast?

A crowded Bondi Beach on a summer's day. File pic. Source: Getty Images
A crowded Bondi Beach on a summer's day. File pic. Source: Getty Images

"And down the national park? Fences, turnstiles, online ticketing. I mean, that's the sort of dystopia that we can see coming at us through the mist."

In 2000, he declared Sydney was "full".

On Q&A Mr Carr suggested instead of adding one million to the Australian population every three and a half years, to instead add one million every six.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Melbourne reached the largest population growth between June 2006 and June 2016 with an increase of 964,600 people. Sydney was second with 773,600, Brisbane third with 452,000 and Perth fourth with 445,100.

The overall population increase over that time period was a 2.9 per cent growth across the capital cities.

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The crowds cross George Street, Sydney. Source: Getty Images
The crowds cross George Street, Sydney. Source: Getty Images

NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley said Sydney's pull as the largest city and a job magnet has contributed to one third of the nation's migrants coming to the city.

One year out from a state election Mr Foley has called for a set number to be placed on Australia's migrant intake – to be made in consultation with all states and territories and the federal government.

"Sydney full of towers is the inevitable consequence of the current very large migrant intake," Mr Foley told 2GB radio.

In 2010, the Federal Government forecasted Australia's population could reach 35.9 million by 2050.