With regard to the slowing down of population growth, [a government spokesman] said the Government would further review how to liberalise its policy to attract quality entrance for employment, study and investment. Government news release July 16 Notice that word 'entrance'. Some officious person obviously does not believe in proofreading. He or she dictated 'entrants', a gopher took it down as 'entrance' and that was the way the press release went out, nothing reviewed and nothing changed, just like the official policy response so far to the latest figures on population growth. Let me run you through the first chart, starting with the red line from mid-1997 to mid-2006. This represents official data for population growth up to mid-2006, an average of 0.83 per cent a year, which was lower than officialdom had expected but not completely out of line. Then along came the 2006 by-census and suddenly things went way out of line. It turned out that average annual population growth between 2001 and 2006 had not been near the 0.8 per cent level but had barely registered 0.4 per cent. The blue line shows you how our statisticians re-jigged the growth figures to make things line up again. They used the front-end load model - take the earlier numbers way down, right down to minus 0.5 per cent for the last half of 2002 (well before Sars hit us), which yields room to take the later numbers way up. This they did. The latest number was for December 2006 and they made this a reach-for-the-sky 0.92 per cent growth rate. How convenient. You'll pardon me for being a sceptic, I hope. It was convenient because 0.92 per cent then gave them a perfect hook on which to hang a forecast that says population growth will not really dip below 0.8 per cent for the next 16 years and will give us 8.57 million people in 2036. That's the green line on the chart and now please pardon me for being an even greater sceptic. The post-2030 forecasts here are higher even than an earlier census study done three years ago, before it was known that all population growth figures at the time were much too high. And they call this statistical analysis? Mind you, it is still conservative by the standards of the pipedreams of some other government departments. For instance, the Planning Department's Strategy 2030 study (they'll have the study finished by 2030) projects a population of 9.16 million for mid-2030. The census forecast for that date is now 8.3 million. Wilder yet is the Transport Department's guess in its Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS3). It forecasts a mid-2016 population of 8.9 million which is now well into the range of lunacy. The latest census forecast for that date (also probably too high, remember) is 7.4 million. This is worth mentioning because CTS3 is still the working framework for the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure. Strategy 2030 will be used to justify even more. But both are right in line with the chief executive's mania for pouring concrete and, as the second chart shows, with the huge increase in capital expenditure envisaged in the financial secretary's most recent budget. Both men are gung-ho on big public construction projections. That fact is that the government doesn't want to be told it is using false population projections to justify massive expenditure of public money. It doesn't want to hear that any hard-headed analysis of present population trends says it is time to cut way back on infrastructure spending. It is simply unwelcome news and fingers are jammed in ears down on Lower Albert Road if anyone even whispers it. The line instead is that we must have more quality 'entrance' to boost the population numbers. That will fix things. We want more people so that we can justify putting up more buildings. It's an upside-down world we live in here.