POST 116: AUSTRALIA’S POPULATION GROWTH SLOWS – DUE TO FALL IN NET OVERSEAS MIGRATION

Introduction

Australia’s population growth rate has slowed to more manageable levels compared to the past 2 decades.

The annual growth was 35,700 people (0.1%) driven by natural increase of 131,000 babies born in Australia.

Net overseas migration dropped into negative figures at minus 95,300.

Compare this to the previous decade when Australia’s loosely controlled temporary migration program caused net overseas migration to zoom up to well over 200,000 per year. Reaching a record high of 315,000 in 2008 see Chart 1 below.

Unemployment rates drop to lowest level in over a decade

One of the key benefits to Australian citizens of lower immigration is Australia’s unemployment rate dropping to 4.5%. The lowest level in almost 13 years.

Independent economist Saul Eslake points out that “an important but under-appreciated reason for the so-far surprising rapid decline in unemployment, from its lower-than-expected peak of 7.5 per cent last July, is the absence of any immigration.

These great employment outcomes indicate it may be a good time to dispense with the Big Australia goal of rapid population growth promoted by big business.

The evidence is mounting of the many benefits flowing to Australian’s as a result of lower immigration levels.

Notwithstanding, how well some States such as Western Australia have responded to lower immigration levels. The population being able to get on with their normal lifestyle during a global pandemic. And the WA unemployment rate falling from a high of 8.5% in July 2020 to a low of 4.6% in August 2021. An outstanding recovery for the State’s economy and local workforce.

Cutting back the Federal governments huge overseas migration program

Federal government should seriously assess culling the nations migration program to more moderate levels compared to the turbo charged figures caused by uncapped, loosely regulated temporary migration over the past 15 years, see Chart 1 below.

For example, the long-term NOM average for over 50 years is around 90,000, shown in Chart 1.

The Morrison government should assess the option of a reasonable NOM figure around 100,000 per annum. This would mean the population rising by around 230,000 per annum.

And at that level the prospects for domestic unemployment rates remaining low are more likely compared to Federal governments’ plan to quickly grow net overseas migration to over 200,000 by 2023.

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