POST 65: MORRISON GOVERNMENT RECOMMENDS A GLOOMY FUTURE FOR PERTH

Summary

The Morrison government have released their first population policy statement for 2020.  It presents a dismal future of packed Australian cities as a result of full steam migration to 2030.

From 2023 onward, the Morrison government is planning for a return to pre -Covid 19 levels of very high migration. Representing an annual increase of well over 200,000 Net Overseas Migration (NOM) to 2030 (see Chart 1 below).[1]

Australia’s migration program has soared to unprecedented levels over the past two decades due primarily to the growth of the uncapped temporary visa program. This is leading to fast paced population and social change.

To give an indication of the implications of the current policy compared to historical migration trends. From 1948 to 2003, NOM was around 90 000 per year, with no upwards trend.[2] A return to more reasonable NOM levels under 100,000 per year is advocated by the Western Australia Party.

Greater Perth will bear the brunt of Federal government’s accelerated migration plans

Australian cities will bear the brunt of the government’s accelerated migration policy. The Morrison government is insisting Greater Perth undergo rapid population growth over the next decade. There migration policy will put significant pressure on Perth’s quality of life; environmental assets and healthy suburban lifestyle. Recommending that Greater Perth needs to grow by another 335,000 people by 2030.

Their migration strategy aims to open up temporary migration from 2023, to ensure over 50% of Perth’s growth will come from net overseas migration.

The Western Australia Party recommends 50% less overseas visas. See our alternative population scenario for Perth https://prowacom.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6538&action=edit.Resulting in a more manageable rate of population growth

Chart 1. Net overseas migration forecast and projections for Australia, 2007-08 to 2030-31

(Source: Australia Government Centre for Population, 2020.[3])

The Morrison government fails to change migration for the better.

The Liberal Coalition had a perfect opportunity to present a new and hopeful migration policy to the Australian public after coming through a global pandemic. The last thing Australian’s need is a return to pre-Covid 19 mass migration levels. The government are aware that alternative projections demonstrate net overseas migration at 50% lower (around the 100,000 mark) enable population and economic growth. But with much lower social and lifestyle impacts than their high growth preference.

It is remarkable the Morrison government have failed to learn from the consequences of their pre-Covid 19 mass migration policy? Traffic congestion in cities, house price escalation, huge taxpayer funded infrastructure projects and intense competition in the domestic labour market.

But this is exactly what the Morrison government have in store. The government have paved the way for increasing arrivals of students, temporary skilled workers and other temporary migrants. Net overseas migration is forecast to rise to 201,000 by 2023-24 and continue on a upward trajectory to 2030.[4]

Government report pessimistic about natural population increase

The government’s Centre for Population report is overly pessimistic about natural increase. Their fast track migration strategy is dependent on very low forecasts for Total Fertility Rates. They are basing their plans on the premise that birth rates will remain very low, therefore a large migration intake is necessary to help fund aged dependency, which is projected to increase due to lifts in life expectancy.[5]

Future fertility is assumed to contribute to slower growth as people delay decisions to have children, with the fertility rate dropping to 1.58 in 2021-22. If this forecast comes to fruition this would represent the lowest TFR rate recorded in Australia.[6]    

Yet historical trends in Western Australia reveal a TFR average rate of 1.86 from 1990 to 2018.[7] The government’s population policy fails to give any prominence to fertility rate recuperation or the higher TFR rates in Western Australia. [8]  

References


[1] Australian Government Centre for Population, ‘Population Statement: Insights from Australia’s First Population Statement’ (scheme=AGLSTERMS.AglsAgent; corporateName=Department of the Treasury, 2020) <https://population.gov.au/publications/publications-population-statement.html> [accessed 5 December 2020].

[2] corporateName:Productivity Commission, ‘An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future – Commission Research Paper’, 2013 <https://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/ageing-australia&gt; [accessed 5 December 2020].

[3] Australian Government Centre for Population.

[4] Australian Government Centre for Population.

[5] Australian Government Centre for Population.

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Births, Australia, 2018 | Australian Bureau of Statistics’, 2019 <https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/births-australia/latest-release> [accessed 18 November 2020].

[7] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘National, State and Territory Population, March 2020’, 2020 <https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/national-state-and-territory-population/latest-release> [accessed 29 September 2020].

[8] Commission.

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