Australia’s mass migration lobbyists are out in force.

Reserve Bank Australia governor Philip Lowe is proposing the Australia government needs to start looking overseas to fill jobs. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants to start bringing in more foreign students with work permits and thinks other states should do the same.

These are outrageous immigration proposals. The dust has barely settled on the Wuhan coronavirus and there is well over 1 million Australian’s struggling to get a place in the job market. [1]  In this context, it’s hard to believe Australia’s migration globalists can be so indifferent?

It’s time for change. The Western Australia Party is for lower net migration not mass migration. The Western Australia Party is extremely disappointed that Australian political and business elites have started the push for large-scale immigration. Not only that, Australia’s unemployed have 1.9 million temporary foreign workers to contend with in the Labour market.[2]

Mass migration – don’t ignore it’s negative impacts.

Migration lobbyist’s come with their predictable calls of economic catastrophe if the huge number of temporary foreign workers is tailed back. Reserve Bank Australia governor Philip Lowe said Australia needs an influx of migrant workers to get the economy working again.[3]

These are tried and failed immigration policies, which have taken our cities down the path of massive infrastructure spending and traffic congestion. Housing demand far outstripping supply, leading to over priced house and land packages. In addition, the West Australian government are forcing their high-density housing projects, which are drastically changing the character and liveability of Perth’s high quality low-density suburbs.

Federal and State governments are desperate to revive the massive migration intake if only to hail movement towards higher economic growth while oblivious to migration failures. A growing economy driven by lower skilled immigration is not a panacea to a productive and wealthy country.

Turbo charged temporary migration is a lazy economic solution

Before the Covid-19 outbreak Australia’s GDP per capita was in recession.  A sure sign that Australian was having major issues with productivity.[4]   Some have argued pursuing a rapid migration intake is a lazy economic policy because it relies primarily on flooding the market with lower skilled overseas worker to grow the economy.  A study by the Grattan Instituted used Census data from 2001 to 2011, revealing the shape of Australia’s migration system has shifted significantly towards younger, less-skilled migrants[5]

Even the pro mass migration Australia Labor Party has challenged the tendency to oversupply the Labour market with lower skilled temporary migrants. Their home affairs spokes person Kristina Keneally argued, ‘Australia should use the COVID-19 border closures to reconsider the country’s economic reliance on temporary migrants and encourage unemployed Australians to fill the labour gaps’.[6] 

However, the lazy economic strategy is emerging once more. The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, wants to starting bringing in more foreign students and overseas workers. [7] Yet there is nearly half a million foreign students currently in Australia all with working visas. The NSW Premier argues that other states, such as West Australia, should take her advice and ‘lift their game’ on overseas migration. [8]


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, October 2020’, 2020 <> [accessed 19 November 2020].

[2] Australian Government, ‘Temporary Visa Holders in Australia | Datasets | Data.Gov.Au – Beta’, 2020 <> [accessed 5 August 2020].

[3] Gerard Cockburn, ‘Skilled Migration Key to Economic Recovery, RBA Governor Philip Lowe Says’, NewsComAu, 2020 <> [accessed 19 November 2020].

[4] Stephen Letts, ‘Australia Just Entered Recession on a per Capita Basis’, ABC News, 2019 <> [accessed 18 November 2019].

[5] John Daley, ‘Most New Migrants to Australia Are Low-Skill, and They May Be Slowing Wage Growth for Unskilled Labour – Grattan Institute’, 2019 <> [accessed 7 September 2020].

[6] SBS News, ‘Labor Calls for Overhaul of Australia’s “lazy Approach” to Migration after Coronavirus Crisis’, SBS News, 2020 <> [accessed 23 November 2020].

[7] Michael Koziol, ‘Coronavirus Australia: Gladys Berejiklian, Scott Morrison Split over Return of International Students, Skilled Migrants’, 2020 <> [accessed 23 November 2020].

[8] Michael Koziol.



The latest ABS unemployment figures for October 2020, demonstrates how important it is to keep overseas immigration in check at a time of rising unemployment. Australia’s official headline unemployment rose to 7.0%.[1] For Western Australia the headline figure is 6.6%.

The effective unemployment rate offers a more realistic picture of unemployment and is central to guiding the Federal government’s economic response.  Included in this count are 133,000 people that worked zero hours in October. In total, over 1 million Australian’s are out of the Labour force, an effective rate of 8%.[2]

A key point of difference to the McGowan government is that the Western Australia Party assesses the effective unemployment rate to gain a better insight into labour market failures. In Western Australia nearly 8,000 locals worked zero hours in October for economic reasons. Adding up to over 103,00 West Australian’s not in the Labour force with an effective unemployment rate of 7.1 % (see Table 1 below).[3]

Table 1: Western Australia unemployment figures for October 2020.

MonthLabour force total (million)Official total unemployed (000’s)Official unemployment rate
MonthEconomic reasons zero hours, (000’s)Official unemployed plus zero hours (000’s)Unemployment plus zero hours (effective rate)
Oct-2020 7.700 103.917.1%

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.[4]

An integrated approach to unemployment

The Western Australia Party offers an integrated approach to addressing unemployment. This involves restricting immigration until unemployment gets much lower. We recognise that lower skilled immigrants increase competition and substitute local workers. In turn this generates downward pressure on wages.[5]

The WAP employs an evidence-based approach to assessing the migration intake and impacts on the domestic workforce. We support a limited, but highly skilled migrant occupation list.

The Labor government failed to reduce immigration when the economy was sluggish.   

The McGowan government chose to ignore the policy recommendations of the Australian Productivity Commission (APC). In a major report, the APC indicated that immigration might lead to higher unemployment for specific groups – especially those who worked in sectors of the economy with high concentrations of immigrant workers.[6]  

The APC report found that high immigration and a sluggish economy, gives employers a wider scope of potential workers, and skills, and this drives down wages and working conditions.[7]

Unemployment was running at over 6% prior to the Wuhan virus arrival, yet the McGowan government significantly increased State migration occupation lists. As a result, in 2019 West Australia’s net overseas migration reached 22,000, the highest since the resource boom.[8]


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, October 2020’, 2020 <> [accessed 19 November 2020].

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Insights into Hours Worked, October 2020’, 2020 <> [accessed 19 November 2020].

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Insights into Hours Worked, October 2020’.

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, October 2020’.

[5] Australian Government Productivity Commission, ‘Migrant Intake into Australia – Productivity Commission Inquiry Report’, 2016 <> [accessed 23 February 2019].

[6] Australian Government Productivity Commission.

[7] Australian Government Productivity Commission.

[8] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘National, State and Territory Population, March 2020’, 2020 <> [accessed 29 September 2020].



Why has the McGowan government maintained the foreign student occupation list with 136 WA positions up for grabs?

In 2019-20 the State government invited over 3,200 foreign graduates to fill occupations in WA.[1] At the same time, West Australian’s were losing jobs or been laid off due to the coronavirus.

Many of the occupations range from engineers to welfare workers.[2] West Australia’s youth unemployed (30,000 plus) could fill these roles or be trained up for them. The McGowan government’s record on youth unemployment is abysmal, they have ushered in the highest rates in more than 20 years, currently above 14% (see Chart 1 below).

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.[3])

Foreign students are given automatic work rights by the Federal government on entry into Australia. The State government should be focused on the local workforce as opposed to providing a range of occupations to foreign graduates.

It’s time to refine West Australia’s State Migration

The closure of international borders has led to overseas arrivals declining by over 95%.[4] However, nearly 20,000 foreign students commenced study in WA too September 2020.

The WA interstate borders have opened.  There are 1.9 million temporary visas in Australia ready to move to States with big occupation lists. Curtailing State migration at times of high unemployment is critical. This is a key measure of the WAP’S employ local workers first policy.   

The West Australia Party proposes a modernisation of State migration. It will include a list solely of General independent high skilled occupations in the immediate short-term demand category. We also propose breaking the nexus between foreign student visas and the State visa nomination list.  

Other reforms are necessary. The Federal government’s medium and long-term occupation demand policy is flawed. They come with a 5 and 10-year time frame.  This lends itself to stockpiling foreign workers were no immediate demand exists. The WAP will move that all State visa invitations be in the short-term demand category.

International education is not the problem

There are no issues with foreign students attending WA universities and striving to complete their studies in high quality universities. But the WA government and universities should not be acting as de-facto employment agencies for foreign graduates.

In 2019 the Labor government provided $6.5 million of taxpayer’s funds to StudyPerth, a migration lobby group.[5] Their role is to market Perth’s international education sector and visa occupations to foreign students.[6] WA universities are strongly supportive of maintaining the graduate occupation list.  Foreign students are a significant source of universities revenue.[7]

The McGowan Government are well aware that foreign students have an adverse effect on metropolitan labour markets.[8]  Are they paying any notice? According to the State migration agency the McGowan government plan to progress graduate visa invitations when the borders open.[9]


[1] Government of West Australia, ‘Migration WA – WA Migration Services’, 2020 <> [accessed 16 August 2020].

[2] Government of West Australia, ‘Migration WA – Occupation Lists’, 2020 <> [accessed 16 August 2020].

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, September 2020 | Australian Bureau of Statistics’, 2020 <> [accessed 15 October 2020].

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, September 2020’, 2020 <> [accessed 14 November 2020].

[5] Government of West Australia, ‘Media Statements – State Budget Boost to Secure More International Students to Perth’, 2019 <> [accessed 15 November 2020].

[6] StudyPerth Australia, ‘An Educational Initiative in Australia.’, 2020 <> [accessed 14 November 2020].

[7] Herlyn Kaur, ‘Fears COVID-19 Migration Drop Could Damage Australia’s Cultural Makeup’, 2020 <> [accessed 13 November 2020].

[8] Australian Government Productivity Commission, ‘Migrant Intake into Australia – Productivity Commission Inquiry Report’, 2016 <> [accessed 23 February 2019].

[9] Government of West Australia, ‘Migration WA – WA Migration Services’.



The Western Australia Party will push for State migration reforms ensuring West Australian’s unemployed are prioritised in the labour market. For too long, Federal and State government have relied on labour market testing and it does not work. We have over 1 million unemployed and yet there are over 1.9 million temporary visa holders Australia (see Table 1 below).[1] Most of these foreign nationals have Australian work permits.

West Australia businesses are still able to sponsor workers from overseas. From July to Sep 2020, over 1,200 temporary skilled shortage visas gained work in the State. [2]The Morrison Government should abandon this program; there are no skill shortages in WA. There are nearly 100,000, West Australian’s unemployed (rate 6.7%).[3]

Table 1: Temporary entrants visa holders in Australia at 30 September 2020

Sum of Visa Holders30/09/20
Visa CategoryNumbers
Crew and Transit8,337
Special Category657,186
Working Holiday Maker65,066
Other Temporary5,155
Temporary Resident (Other Employment)32,189
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)117,316
Temporary Protection17,786
Temporary Graduate107,865
Grand Total1,912,054

(Source: Department of Homes Affairs 2020.[4])

The Western Australia Party State migration policy

The Western Australia Party will safeguard the State’s unemployed by pressuring the McGowan government to terminate the regional migration program for Greater Perth. The WA Labor government still refuse to do this.


[1] Australian Government, ‘Temporary Visa Holders in Australia | Datasets | Data.Gov.Au – Beta’, 2020 <> [accessed 9 July 2020].

[2] Australian Government.

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, September 2020 | Australian Bureau of Statistics’, 2020 <> [accessed 15 October 2020].

[4] Australian Government.



Population Research WA has decided to join up with the Western Australia Party (WAP).

I am delighted to take up the offer of working with Charles Smith MLC the Western Australia Party’s representative in State parliament. I will be No 2 on Mr Smiths’ ticket for the East Metropolitan Region.

I look forward to continued and growing support from our website supporters and followers. We will continue to publish our regular research articles, updates and news.

I also encourage West Australian visitors to provide comments on our research and policy work. This will will assist in shaping our population and migration policies going into the March 2021 State election.

The WAP originated in West Australia and was founded in 2016 by Party Leader Julie Matheson. Importantly, this means there is no influence in WAP policies from politicians in Canberra.

The politics of the WAP combines a conservative centrist approach (opposing political changes which would result in a significant shift of WA society). With decentralist planning, enabling local people to have greater say how their regions and localities are planned and developed.

A practical way this can happen is through legislating third party appeal rights for property owners and communities adversely impacted by inappropriate planning decisions. This is a core WAP policy.



The Australian Population Research Institute pre-Covid annual survey of voters’ attitudes to population growth found that a SIGNIFICANT 72-PER CENT say Australia does not need more people and that HALF want immigration reduced. Voters who want lower immigration say it is harming quality of life in the cities, causing urban congestion and higher house prices.[1] Despite this the three major parties, the Coalition, Labor and Greens, all endorse high immigration. This new report reveals a huge disconnect between Australian public and mainstream political views on population growth and immigration.

Difference in groups which support high or low immigration

The difference in those that support more immigration was interesting. Graduate voters and Green Party supporters are much more likely to support high immigration. The dissenters are mainly non-graduates. Non-graduates also worry about immigration-fuelled population growth’s effects on the natural environment.[2]

This was an eye opener because the general public may come to the conclusion that population growth and environmental concerns are the domain of Green politics and university graduates. Not so, the new report found the Greens are just as keen on high immigration as Australia’s two main political parties.

Strong support all round to lower migration intake

The call to reduce net overseas migration to more reasonable historical levels has gained momentum from 1996 onward, with nom rising to enormous levels (see Chart 1 below). A number of polls bear this out. Essential (April 2018) recorded 64% think the level of immigration in Australia over the past decade ‘has been too high’, up from 50% recorded in 2016.[3] ANU poll (Jan 2019) revealed 69.6 per cent felt that Australia did ‘not need more people’,[4] and the annual Lowy Institute poll found 47 percent saying immigration was ‘too high’ (June 2019).[5]

The significant social and environmental impacts (of such a huge rise in nom) are undisputed. For example, the massive number of nom in 2008 reaching over 315,000 (Chart 1 below) resulting in huge demand for infrastructure, resources and energy consumption. The Federal government and the Labor opposition appear obsessively focused on maintaining a very high migration intake and not reflecting on the costs?

These uncontrollable spikes in nom levels are directly related to the Federal government implementing the temporary visa program in 1996. The program is uncapped which explains its huge growth since inception.

Look at the enormous rise in nom from 1996 onward (Chart 1). In fact the long-term nom average is just over 91,000 people (see Chart 1 below). This is a more manageable figure for long term planning of Australian cities. It would clearly alleviate social impacts on suburbs and indeed less destruction of conservation zones in city regions.

Closing comments

The solution is clearly not building higher density cities as politicians, academics and the property industry are pushing. One example of this folly is a controversial overreach development in Perth’s Northern suburbs (Ocean Reef Marina). A high density residential proposal (10 storey plus and more than 1,000 dwellings) destroying coastal flora and fauna, significant damage to the A class Marmion marine reserve, abalone reefs and limestone cliffs. 

Chart 1: Net overseas migration, Australia year ended 31 December 1925-2019

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.[6] [7])


[1] Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell, ‘A Big Australia Why It May All Be Over’, 2020 <> [accessed 28 October 2020].

[2] Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell.

[3] Katharine Murphy, ‘Australians Growing More Concerned over Immigration – Guardian Essential Poll’, The Guardian, 2018 <> [accessed 28 October 2020].

[4] Associate Professor Nicholas Biddle, ‘A N U P O L L BIG AUSTRALIA, SMALL AUSTRALIA, DIVERSE AUSTRALIA: Australia’s Views on Population’, ANU Centre for Social Research & Methods (The Australian National University) <> [accessed 28 October 2020].

[5] Natasha Kassam, ‘Lowy Institute Poll 2019’, 2019 <> [accessed 28 October 2020].

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘National, State and Territory Population, March 2020’, 2020 <> [accessed 29 September 2020].

[7] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Historical Population, 2016 | Australian Bureau of Statistics’, 2019 <> [accessed 28 October 2020].



The aerial shot demonstrates the environmental destruction caused by the McGowan Government’s planning and development policies at Ocean Reef. This is the start of destroying 30ha of Bushland Forever 325 site and significant damage to the Marmion Marine Reserve, Abalone reef and limestone cliffs. This so that developers can build 10-storey high apartments, over 1,000 dwellings (3,000 plus people in a high conservation area).

It is very concerning that the McGowan government are mismanaging taxpayers land (it is crown land with some part-owned freehold by the City of Joondalup).

Population Research WA urges West Australian’s to make an appeal and send letters or get involved in any way they can. The McGowan government aim to implement high-density projects all over Greater Perth so the only way to make a difference is to submit public disapproval with out of scale planning and development projects.

The very high density proposal is driven by the McGowan government strategy to grow Greater Perth to 3.5 million people by 2050.[1] A key component of government policy is encouraging more immigration into WA and they will restart this when the international borders reopen. A significant portion of population growth (60%) was driven by overseas immigration before the Wuhan virus arrived in WA.

Closing comments

Government planners (State and Local) appear to be taken a radical approach to the development of Perth’s North West Corridor. It is most unfortunate that such a large project does not come under the scrutiny of those most affected (i.e the local residents). There is no third party appeal rights for local residents. If third party appeals were enabled, there would be scope for the community to amend the development producing less ecological damage and social disruption.

[1] Government of West Australia, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, ‘Perth and Peel @ 3.5 Million Frameworks.’, 2018 <> [accessed 2 October 2019].



Some great news, the Federal Government has ruled out an illegal foreign worker amnesty. Stating that an amnesty would send a dangerous message that it is okay to flout Australian migration laws.[1] Rejecting the McGowan government’s recommendation for an amnesty for over 80,000 illegal workers operating in Australia.[2]

This was a reckless proposal benefiting foreign nationals that overstay their visa, enter the country illegally or fail to depart and no longer have a legal right to be in Australia – all criminal offences according to the Migration Act 1958.[3]

WA labor government amnesty proposal

The proposal by the McGowan government to provide employment for foreign nationals that break migration laws suggest a willingness to circumvent statutory migration laws. This was an extreme and unprecedented move by the McGowan government.

It would not alleviate the difficulties of having to deal with the huge build up of illegal foreign nationals currently in Australia. Australia’s temporary migration program is full with over 2 million entrants currently in Australia.[4] Many of these are obligated to exit the country once their visa runs out. There were valid concerns that an illegal worker amnesty may entice temporary entrants to overstay and violate visa rules.

USA amnesty program

Observing amnesty programs in other countries reveals when migration law is cancelled the migration pull factor escalates and it quickly becomes uncontrollable.

The USA gave amnesty to 2.7 million illegal aliens after the 1986 reform.[5] This decision lead to huge growth in illegal arrivals. The illegal migrant population rocketed from 3.5 million in 1990 to a peak of over 12 million in 2007 (see Table 1 below).[6]

Table 1: Unauthorised immigration (USA 1990-2017)

(Source: Pew Research Centre, 2019.[7])

Politics of illegal immigration

Illegal immigration is highly political. One side of politics (usually the left wing) are supportive of an illegal worker amnesty. Social conservatives on the other hand are more inclined to maintain migration rules and laws. The political bonus (as some put it) is evident in the USA were parties may use their support for amnesty to attract votes from ethnic minorities, particularly Hispanic communities[8]

Illegal arrivals by air to Australia

There is nothing to doubt Australian political parties would seek to chase the political bonus an amnesty program could provide. Similar to what happens in the USA with ethnic minorities  

Australia has undergone huge growth in Asia Pacific migration, especially from China, India, Malaysia and others. Illegal air arrivals from Asia Pacific are now a major concern; it has reached very high numbers (see Table 2 below).

In 2019-20 over 23,000 foreign nationals arrived in Australia by air without a legal visa. They have all applied for protection refugee visas under the Humanitarian program (see Table 2 below). Most of the foreign nationals arrived from countries not experiencing wars or civil turmoil.

With the exception of China, most of the citizens are not from countries experiencing controls on personal and religious freedom or political persecution. This is borne out by the fact the Government granted only 1,650 protection visas, yet there were 23,226 visa applications (Table 1 below).[9]

In addition, many of these illegal air arrivals are able to appeal their visa refusal and can obtain a bridging visa in the interim. This has caused a huge backlog in of bridging visa applicants, which the Australian Government are struggling to cope with. A massive 333,000 bridging visa holders in Australia by June 30, 2020.[10]

Table 2: Protection visa lodgements by citizenship (Top 10)

Country of citizenship2019-20
Malaysia 6,046
China 3,321
India 2,866
Vietnam 1,069
Fiji 1,024
Thailand 808
Indonesia 775
Philippines 659
Pakistan 609
Taiwan 423
Other 5,626
Total 23,226

Source: Department of Home Affairs, 2020.[11]


[1] Kath Sullivan, ‘Farmers Fear Worker Shortage Due to COVID-19 Restrictions despite Rising Unemployment’, 2020 <> [accessed 31 July 2020].

[2] Jessica Hayes, Belinda Varischetti and Zoe Keenan, ‘Calls for National Illegal Worker Amnesty as Labour Shortage Crisis Hits Boiling Point’, 2020 <> [accessed 2 October 2020].

[3] Australian Government, ‘Migration Act 1958’ (Attorney-General’s Department, 2020), au <,> [accessed 2 October 2020].

[4] Australian Government, ‘BP0019 Number of Temporary Visa Holders in Australia Pivot Table | Resources | Data.Gov.Au – Beta’, 2020 <> [accessed 1 July 2020].

[5] Peter Nunez, ‘Immigration: Amnesty Plan a Bad Idea’, CIS.Org, 2013 <> [accessed 2 October 2020].

[6] Jens Manuel Krogstad, Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, ‘5 Facts about Illegal Immigration in the U.S.’, Pew Research Center, 2019 <> [accessed 21 October 2020].

[7] Jens Manuel Krogstad, Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn.

[8] Christina Boswell and others, ‘The Illegal Employment of Foreigners in Europe’, Intereconomics, 2004.1 (2004), 4–20.

[9] Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, ‘Visa Statistics’, 2020 <; [accessed 20 October 2020].

[10] Australian Government, ‘BP0019 Number of Temporary Visa Holders in Australia Pivot Table | Resources | Data.Gov.Au – Beta’, 2020 <> [accessed 1 July 2020].

[11] Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.



While the McGowan government spent time in parliament this week trying to defend the indefensible, arguing for an amnesty for foreign nationals who break visa conditions.  The Morrison government set their sights on fixing Australia’s youth unemployment, which really is a tragedy. As the PM stated “youth unemployment sets young people up for a life of welfare dependency”.

The Morrison government will pay businesses up to $200 a week to hire young Australians.[1] A measure that aims to reverse the significant increase in youth unemployment during the recession.

However, the Government still have a lot of work to do with cutting back their huge migration program for when the international borders come down. The Government is well aware that youth unemployment is adversely impacted by Australia’s enormous temporary migration intake (particularly by foreign students with automatic working rights). [2]

West Australia unemployment outcomes for September 2020

The Australian Bureau of Statistics youth unemployment figures paint a grim picture for September 2020 (see Table 1 below). There was an increase in West Australia’s youth (15-24 age) official unemployment rate to 14.3% (31,000 people). [3]

But this is only half the picture. Over 15,000 young adults have been stood down (zero hours) since the coronavirus outbreak in March. There are now 46,500 WA youth not in the Labour force, and an effective unemployment rate of 21.4%.

What about total unemployment? This did fair somewhat better the official rate falling to 6.7% (97,000 unemployed). [4]But underemployment is still high at 9.3% this works out to 134,800 people who want more work, and are available for more hours of work than they currently have.

National youth unemployment

Total youth unemployment in Australia is rising to such levels that have led the Morrison government to provide extra funding for businesses that put young Australian’s first in line for new vacancies.

Australian youth unemployment rose to 14.5% for September, resulting in over 300,000 young Australian’s unemployed. It gets worse; nearly 110,000 have been stood down since the pandemic hit peak infections in March 2020. Total Australian youth out of work is 412,670, with an effective rate of 19.7%.

Table 1: West Australia youth labour force (15-24 age) September 2020

MonthLabour force total (000’S)Official total unemployed (000’s)Official unemployment rate
 Temporarily stood down (000’s)Official unemployed plus stood down (000’s)Unemployment plus stood down (effective rate)
March – Sep 2020 15.580 46.55821.4%

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.[5])


[1] Daniel Hirst, ‘Budget’s Jobmaker Hiring Credit Will Pay Businesses $200 a Week to Employ Young Australians’, The Guardian, 2020 <> [accessed 18 October 2020].

[2] Australian Government Productivity Commission, ‘Migrant Intake into Australia – Productivity Commission Inquiry Report’, 2016 <> [accessed 23 February 2019].

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, September 2020 | Australian Bureau of Statistics’, 2020 <> [accessed 15 October 2020].

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics.



One of the most important issues facing West Australian’s is population change and high immigration. The previous WA Liberal Party policy drove the state too extreme levels of population growth (over 500,000 more people between 2006-16). Growing by a massive 25% in one decade – higher than all other Australian states and territories.[1]

Western Australia at the population planning crossroads

After a slight pause in high growth, the McGowan government set about returning WA to high levels of immigration. For the year ending March 2020, net overseas migration made up 60% of growth – total population rising by a substantial 40,000 people (growth rate 1.5%). This was higher than the growth rate for Australia’s most populated State of New South Wales (1.09%).[2]

But then the Wuhan coronavirus hit Western Australia and overseas arrivals come to an abrupt end. WA is once more at the population policy crossroads.

And the good news is the 2020-21 state budget assumes much lower population growth driven by natural increase (births minus deaths). For the year ending March 2020, natural growth reached 18,000. The budget expects population to increase by about 21,000 in 2020-21 and 18,700 in 2021-22 (See Table 1 below). The bad news is the McGowan government are aiming to open up the migration throttle once more from 2023-24 onward.[3]

Table 1: The population assumptions underpinning the 2020-21 State budget

2019-20 Estimated Actual2020-21 Budget Estimate2021-22 Forward Estimate2022-23 Forward Estimate2023-24 Forward Estimate
Population growth (%)0.0150.0080.0070.010.013
Population growth (no)39628 21,249 18,742 26,961 35,400
Population ending March 2019-2020 to 2023-242,656,156 2,677,405 2,696,147 2,723,109 2,758,509

(Source: West Australia Government, 2020.[4])


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016’, 2017 <> [accessed 14 April 2019].

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics, Sep 2019’, 2020 <> [accessed 2 April 2020].

[3] ‘2020-21 Budget Papers | Western Australia State Budget’ <> [accessed 11 October 2020].

[4] ‘2020-21 Budget Papers | Western Australia State Budget’.

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