POST 104: TIME TO DEVOLVE AUSTRALIA’S IMMIGRATION POLICY TO THE STATES AND TERRITORIES?

A major issue facing States and their people is the Federal government’s hyper immigration policy.

Radical shifts in Federal immigration policy caused Australia’s population to swell by 35 per cent in 20 years from 19 million in 2000, to where it’s now sitting around 25.7 million — an extraordinary 30 years earlier than the Australian Bureau of Statistics was projecting.

Australia’s population reached 25 million in August 2018.

In 2008 Australia’s net overseas migration spiked at 315,000. Equating to an enormous 250% lift on the long-term average of around 90,000 people per annum (See Chart 1 below).

The Government’s 2021  Intergenerational report is recommending more of the same at over 200,000 net overseas migration from 2023 onward.

States are left with major infrastructure costs, diminishing quality of life for citizens, plus social and environmental problems.

Political manipulation of the immigration debate and Government projections (biased towards high immigration models) is causing public mistrust and angst.  

Crumbling support for immigration, amid fears of overcrowded cities.

A recent survey by the Australian National University demonstrated crumbling public support for immigration, amid fears of overcrowded cities and homes priced out of the reach of ordinary people.

Net overseas migration is excessive, rising to over 60% of Australia’s population growth, before the international border closure.

Net overseas migration could be culled and Australia would still maintain steady growth.

The good news is there is some prominent Australians’ calling for reforms to the migration program. The eminent Australia Professor Ross Garnaut has examined the past 15 years of very high immigration, he says much lower immigration will hold back total output growth in coming years, but it “might improve the living standards of most Australians”.

The economics Professor is suggesting the Morrison government reduce net overseas migration by about 50%. And the international border closure presents an ideal opportunity to develop a higher skilled migration program. The level of migration to Australia has plummeted, and moved in the direction of the long-term average for net migration (See Chart 1 below).

Australia’s current low unemployment levels are predominantly due to the restricted migration intake. Youth unemployment fell to its lowest level since the Global Financial Crisis. This is proof positive that the collapse in immigration is benefiting Australia’s youth.

Population Research WA applied Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections and demographic inputs to show net migration can be culled and manageable population in Greater Perth is the likely outcome. See Chart 1 on our Home page.

If Federal policy maintains a steep migration trajectory. States should push for amendments to migration legislation to ensure local people have a bigger say in the State migration intake.

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Historical population, Released 18/04/2019)

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