The Nationalist Party will present a long-term plan for sustainable economic development because the government's economic model, based on population growth, has undermined living standards and public health, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said on Wednesday. 

Speaking at the PN club in Mellieħa, Dr Delia said the government's economic model had seen the population surge by 76,127 people in six years, when Malta was already among the most densely populated countries in Europe.

The rapid population growth had brought about traffic congestion, air pollution, increased problems of waste disposal, pressures on the health system and the infrastructure, a lack of open spaces, high rents and downward pressure on wages.

The government, he said, had only planned for the short term, whereas the PN would plan longer term and ensure that everyone benefited from economic growth. 

Dr Delia observed that according to Eurostat data, Malta's population grew by 18.2% in six years, A Eurobarometer survey had also confirmed the concerns of the Maltese people about issues such as the rising prices of property.  

The government's policies, Dr Delia said, were leading to worker exploitation and cheap labour, making it increasingly difficult for many people to make ends meet, particular as prices for essential items such as fuel rose.  

In its economic plan the PN would aim for sustainability, fair distribution of wealth and good salaries while putting the environment high on its agenda and ensuring that everyone's dignity was respected, he said.

The activity was held as part of preparations for the celebration of the 55th anniversary of Independence.