A report released by the government has raised serious concerns on the effects of the continued massive influx of immigrants on Australia’s economy as the population is expected to significantly increase over the next few decades.
The report which is entitled “Future Cities: Planning for Our Growing Population” revealed that Sydney’s population is projected to increase by 2.6 million and Melbourne by 2.8 million by 2046. By the time, Melbourne will surpass Sydney as Australia’s most populated city.
Overall, Australia is projected to have 11.8 million residents in the next 30 years. If the increasing number of immigrants is not mitigated, Australia’s population will hit 36 million.
It is expected that the surge in population growth in Australia will result in fewer availability of real estate, horrendous traffic and commuting times and frequent crowding.
William Burke, President of the Sustainable Party is pushing for the government to re-evaluate and revise its immigration strategy:
“Our permanent annual intake has been 190,000 a year for probably a decade plus humanitarian refugees. So it is over 200,000 total. Now, the long term average over the 20th century was about 70,000. That’s the normal level. That was the sustainable level. The level worked so well for Australia in the 20th century has made our country great.”
Burke continued that there will also be economic consequences as the higher number of people will tighten competition in the job market and depress wages. Given that Australia has scarcity in the availability of real estate, overpopulation means fewer housing which would lead to the demise of the “Great Australian Dream”.
“If you flood the market with workers, you only have to look at your 7-Elevens. If you flood the market with migrant workers, it pushes down wages and migrants are exploited. We have to take migration back to the sustainable level and get the settings right.”
Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia recently began advocating for a scale back in the number of immigrants per year from 190,000 to 110,000:
“It’s a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages and that increasing demand for housing boosts price.”
Billionaire businessman Dick Smith believes the number should be rolled even further back to 70,000 which made “Australia great”:
“If the population goes to the figure they’re talking about, it will be all downhill for working Australians. We’re past the sweet point now.”
Smith believes Australia’s infrastructure can support 1 billion people. However he liked the conditions to be like “living in huge skyscrapers and living like ‘battery hens’”.
Assuming the government does scale back its immigration quota to 70,000 per year, Smith is confident the number would stabilise Australia’s population to fewer than 30 million people.
I agree with Smith’s analyses because Australia’s economic growth rate has been sluggish the past few years and has been moderate at best. Lower job opportunities combined with higher real estate prices has resulted in higher inter-state migration rates from Sydney and Melbourne to Brisbane.
Meanwhile, it has become more difficult for Australians to find affordable housing as foreign buying from China continues to prop real estate prices up while supply remains low.
While there is no research on how immigration-propelled population increase will affect other cities in Australia, it should be safe to assume that more people will translate to fewer job availabilities as we expect more inter-state migration to take place.
However given the federal government’s strong reaction against Tony Abbott’s proposal on immigration it looks doubtful they will seriously consider the implications set out in the Future Cities report or consult other activists such as Dick Smith and William Burke.